In Week 1, Cleveland Browns left guard Joel Bitonio and the Browns offensive line picked up where they left off in 2020.
Bitonio is a member of arguably the best offensive line in football.
Per ESPN the Cleveland Browns offensive line was no. 1 in pass block win rate in week 1 with 78%. Conklin was 5th amongst tackles with 95%, Bitonio and Tretter were both tied for first with 100%. This line picked up where they left off and will dominate again this year #Browns pic.twitter.com/5u7XweXJvV
— Jacob Roach (@roachizm13) September 15, 2021
He did his part against the Chiefs to protect Baker Mayfield and create running room for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Bitonio’s performance earned him the top PFF grade for offensive linemen in Week 1.
The highest-graded offensive linemen from Week 1 💪 pic.twitter.com/uB10TdsoGA
— PFF (@PFF) September 15, 2021
Bitonio, 29, is the longest-tenured Cleveland Brown.
He was the Browns’ second-round draft pick (35th overall) in 2014.
That means Bitonio has been through the highs and lows of Browns football including the 4-44 win/loss record spanning from 2015 to 2017.
Bitonio has come into his own during the Baker Mayfield years.
He was named second-team All-Pro from 2018-2020.
Bitonio was also a Pro Bowler from 2018-2020.
For all of these reasons, Bitonio is a fan favorite.
Last season when he was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for the wildcard playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, everyone took the news hard because of Bitonio’s years with the team.
#Browns LG Joel Bitonio is a three-time Pro Bowler who has spent his entire seven-year career in Cleveland, playing for five different head coaches and enduring six losing seasons (including 1-15 and 0-16). They finally make the playoffs … and Bitonio is out with COVID. Brutal.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 5, 2021
Bitonio And The Browns In 2021
One of the keys to the Browns 2021 success is going to be how well Bitonio and the offensive line play.
Make no mistake, they need to be top-notch every week for the Browns to secure 2021 victories.
At this point, they seemed equipped to do so, but there are some concerns with early season injuries that are limiting players in practice.
On Wednesday, left tackle Jedrick Wills, right tackle Jack Conklin, offensive tackle Chris Hubbard, and center JC Tretter did not practice.
Wills is day-to-day with an ankle injury suffered in the Chiefs game so his status is not surprising.
The others are concerning particularly if Wills cannot play on Sunday.
#Browns not practicing today: LT Jedrick Wills (ankle) RT Jack Conklin (knee), OT Chris Hubbard (triceps), DL Tommy Togiai (illness), C JC Tretter (knee). The Browns will be hurting if Wills, Conklin and Hubbard can't play vs. Texans.
— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) September 15, 2021
Watch the Browns take on the Houston Texans on Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT at FirstEnergy Stadium.
This will mark the first time the Dawg Pound will be at capacity at the stadium since the 2019 season.
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