Compared to the management strategies of most of their NFL contemporaries, the Bengals have shown considerable patience with Marvin Lewis. He’s entering Year 15 in Cincinnati in search of the franchise’s first playoff win in 26 years. But a scenario where Lewis is gone by 2018 opens the door for speculation about the revival of the Hue Jackson succession plan that once existed in the Queen City. The Browns brought Jackson in to shepherd one of the league’s most memorable rebuilding efforts after the aforementioned Cincinnati plan never materialized, but the franchise having shown little patience with coaches since rebooting opens the door to questions about if Jackson would take over the Bengals next year if given the opportunity. The AFC North crew at ESPN.com’s NFL Nation is not buying into it, however.
Jeremy Fowler acknowledges it’s an intriguing proposition and said Jackson would be “foolish” not to consider it, but he expects the former Bengals OC to stay in Cleveland. This is all contingent on the new Browns front office showing patience and not firing Jackson, and Katherine Terrell notes this opportunity probably doesn’t come to fruition, writing that the Jackson-replaces-Lewis window closed after he ventured to northeast Ohio.
Here’s the latest from Cleveland.
- The Browns made a first-round investment in Cameron Erving in 2015, but it hasn’t worked out as the team hoped. J.C. Tretter signed and will take over at center, and the Browns shuttled Erving to right tackle. But he might not be the leader in the clubhouse to take over there. Second-year tackle Shon Coleman looks like the frontrunner to start here come training camp, Dan Labbe of cleveland.com notes. With teams are increasingly putting top pass rushers across from right tackles, Labbe writes this position battle could throw a wrench in the major financial commitment the Browns made to fortifying the interior of their line this offseason. A 2016 third-rounder out of Auburn, Coleman played in seven games but started none as a rookie. Erving started at left tackle for two full seasons at Florida State before moving inside and entering the NFL at center. Erving finished last season at right tackle, and this forthcoming battle with Coleman figures to be a key point in his career.
- Now that Myles Garrett is in the fold, Carl Nassib looks like a second-unit player, per Labbe. Defensive line coach Clyde Simmons recently referred to Emmanuel Ogbah as a “classic left end,” which points to the 2016 second-rounder having a natural spot there in Cleveland’s new 4-3 look opposite the more pass-rushing-geared Garrett. Nassib, a third-round choice, would compete for time behind them. That might not be as open and shut as it seems, with Desmond Bryant and Nate Orchard stationed at end as well. Bryant also could fit as a tackle, having played both with the Raiders. The 6-foot-7 Nassib recorded 2.5 sacks last season.
- Joe Schobert started four games in Ray Horton‘s 3-4 scheme as a rookie, but Gregg Williams‘ 4-3 look might not have much room for the linebacker. Now that the Browns are going to play more nickel sets, Schobert won’t be seeing much time since cornerstone ‘backers Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey will function in those roles. Labbe writes that Schobert’s primary role this season will be on special teams.