BEREA,Ohio--The offensive line shuffle continues.
During the period of open locker room, news began to circulate that left guard Joel Bitonio has suffered an injury to his foot that could cause him to miss this week's game with the Titans and possibly beyond. Bitonio was not on the practice field and the club said that Bitonio would be out for extended time with a mid-foot sprain.
Hue Jackson confirmed the injury.
"They're calling it a mid foot sprain and he's going to miss some time."
Joe Thomas confirmed the injury to Bitonio, as well.
“Well, I’m not a doctor," Thomas said. "I haven’t heard any final prognosis or anything like that. All I know is he has a foot injury and we will see if he practices today. I haven’t heard if he is going to be able to go today or not.”
Thomas was asked what it would mean if Bitonio is out for an extended period of time.
“He has been playing really well," Thomas said. "Obviously, he is one of the best guards in the NFL, in my opinion. We lose that type of guy, he is tough to replace, but depending on when Cam (Erving) can come back, I think we will be in good position if Joel can’t play because we have John (Greco) and Alvin (Bailey), who both stepped up at guard this year. I’m sure they can move one of those guys over.”
ProFootballFocus.com rated Bitonio as the ninth best left guard in the NFL. It is unknown when Bitonio was injured, but he played the entire game last week and has not missed a snap this season. Bitonio played just five games last season after suffering an ankle injury and finished the season on injured reserve.
Bitonio was one of three offensive linemen that have played every game. Besides Bitonio, Thomas and Austin Pasztor. Thomas has started and played every snap this season at left tackle and Pasztor has done the same at right tackle. Greco has played every offensive snap, but has played three games at right guard and two at center. Bailey has started two games at right guard. Erving started the first two games at center, but has missed the last three games with a pulmonary contusion.
Erving is set to begin practicing on Wednesday and he could possibly move back to center with Greco and Bailey becoming the guards.
If Erving is unable to play, the Browns signed offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper earlier this week off of waivers from the Patriots. Cooper was originally the seventh overall pick of the Cardinals in the 2013 NFL Draft. Cooper was inactive the first four weeks with New England this season. Cooper has played in 24 games in his first three seasons in the NFL, starting 11 games. Cooper was traded from the Cardinals to the Patriots on March 15, 2016. Rookie Spencer Drango could also be a possibilty.null