Wednesday, June 7News That Matters

Cleveland Browns' Joel Bitonio settling in at left tackle

Joel Bitonio, who has started 47 games in four seasons at left guard for the Cleveland Browns, said he is getting more comfortable at his new position — left tackle.

Bitonio made his first start at left tackle in the team’s preseason opener after being moved to the position earlier this month. He is the replacement for Joe Thomas, a 10-time Pro Bowl player and future Hall of Famer who retired in March.

“I am getting there,” Bitonio said Monday. “You finally play in a game and it starts to become more of a reality. Practice is practice. I am getting there. I think that every day I get a little more comfortable. I feel more comfortable in my stance, position in the huddle and things like that. It is getting there.”

The Browns beat the New York Giants 20-10 last Thursday.

“I only played eight plays so it was kind of hard to get into a great rhythm, but there are things to work on,” Bitonio said. “My hands were a little wide. I am used to going against [DL] Myles [Garrett] in practice, and he is flying up field so I am used to getting back, and I was a little bit too far back with [Giants DL] Olivier [Vernon]. He is a little bit more of a power guy. There are just little things to work on. There was some good stuff to come.”

While there is much focus on the passing game — with new quarterback Tyrod Taylor, No. 1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield and new wide receiver Jarvis Landry — Bitonio said he is thinking about the run game.

“We were not great in the run game. We have been hammering it in walkthrough and practice this week,” said Bitonio, a second-round pick out of Nevada in 2014. “I think that our double teams were not super crisp. We had some missed identifications with some calls out there. We just were not very successful. It was one of those where it was the first game where we are trying to get into a rhythm. I think that we will be better this week. We have really emphasized it.”

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