Offensive Line Still Unsettled

With Roger Chanoine, Ryan Tucker, and Dave Wohlabaugh all hurting, the situation along the Browns offensive line is still hazy. Get the latest possibilities from David Carducci in Berea. Just don't think of all the different combinations we might see, because it might make your brain fuse. Also, the latest on the team's walking wounded...

Exactly who will start on the right side of the Browns offensive line is completely up in the air.

With the rash injuries up front, the Browns are plugging players in and out at right tackle and right guard in practice, so much so that Barry Stokes compared the search for who will start to working on a giant, frustrating jigsaw puzzle.

"You know when you were a kid and you have an eight piece puzzle?" Stokes asked. "Well this is getting to be a 1,000-piece puzzle and we just keep on working at it. Remember when you were sitting there with your grandma and she had that 1,000-piece puzzle and you thought you'd never do one of those. Well it's getting near."

With Ryan Tucker and Roger Chanoine both listed as questionable with knee injuries, the Browns have tried Stokes at right tackle in practice this week.

Chanoine and Tucker did some work in practice. Chanoine said his knee is feeling better and he will try to do more in practice today. He also said he had no idea who would start at tackle.

"I really have no idea if I'm going to start," said Chaonine. "We probably won't know until the weekend."

If Chanoine and Tucker are not ready, Stokes said he would be prepared to move from left guard, where he has been a starter since the second week of training camp, to right tackle.

Paul Zukauskas said he thought he played "about average" in his first career start. In rating his play, he said he performed better in pass protection than he did in blocking for the run.

"I need to work a little bit more on my run blocking," said Zukauskas. "I probably need to do a little less thinking, worry less about what they are going to do and more about what I'm going to do. I think that comes with experience. I'm working at the things I need to improve on ... If I keep on working, hopefully it will pay off in the end.

Zukauskas said he is preparing to play right guard again, but there is a chance he may not be in the starting lineup against the Titans. He has shared the practice snaps in practice with Dave Wohlabaugh, who can not play center due to a broken bone in his right hand.

Wohlabaugh said he is still trying to get comfortable at guard, a position he has not played since college.

"I'm trying to see what I can do with it and make myself available," said Wohlabaugh. "If the coaches feel they need me or want me out there, then that will be their decision. If not, then the guys last week did a great job ... (playing guard) presents some problems because it is new to me in certain aspects. It is a different way of looking at things. The biggest transition for me is to not think of (my hand) as broken. I have to think of it as functional."

The Browns could come out against Tennessee with any of a number of combinations on the offensive line, all depending on the health of the right side. Ross Verba at left tackle and Shaun O'Hara at center appear to be the only locks at their position.

If Tucker or Chanoine can play, Stokes would remain at left guard. If neither are available, another option to moving Stokes is rookie Joaquin Gonzalez, who saw his first NFL playing time in one series when Chanoine injured his knee at the end of the first quarter last week.

Should Stokes move to tackle, he could be replaced by Wohlabaugh or rookie Melvin Fowler at left guard.


Courtney Brown looks to be ready to return to the starting lineup. Mark Word said today that he is back to backup status, playing mostly in the nickel package with Brown returning to practice with the first team yesterday.

Brown was upgraded from questionable to probable on today's injury report. Also upgraded to probable were Tim Couch and tight-end, H-back Aaron Shea.

Shea said today that he expects to play. While Couch was upgraded, it looks like a decision on who will start at quarterback will still be left until Friday.

Alvin McKinley made his debut on the Browns injury list. He walked into the locker room with a giant boot on his right foot. He is listed as questionable on the update injury list.

Chris Akins, Roger Chanoine, Ryan Tucker and Dave Wohlabaugh are still questionable and Ben Taylor is still probable.

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