Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/24/13
Greco will likely enter the season as one of the Browns starting guards. (Plain Dealer file photo) John Greco said that he didn’t mean to give up the starting left guard job he was given last year after Jason Pinkston was hospitalized with blood clots. It appears that the new regime sees things Greco’s way. Yesterday, the team agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the 28 year-old University of Toledo product that will keep him in Cleveland through the 2017 season. Not even a year after being thrust into a starting role, it looks like the Browns have locked Greco up to be one of their starting guards for the foreseeable future. If you’re looking for a reason the team would sign Greco, who arrived in a 2011 trade with the Rams, to a new contract before the expiration of his old deal, look no further than his run blocking skills. In his 10 starts last season, Pro Football Focus actually rated him as the 7th best run blocking guard among the 81 they graded last season. While he performed well as a mauler in front of Trent Richardson, his pass protection could still use some improvement, a weakness that could show up larger this year as Norv Turner’s downfield offense calls for the line to give Brandon Weeden more time than Pat Shurmur’s dink-and-dunk West Coast scheme. Nonetheless, the signing has been widely praised. The Browns already had their two bookends in All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas and 2012 second-round pick Mitchell Schwartz, as well as Pro Bowler Alex Mack as a keystone at center. Now, the front office is looking to plug the holes between those three pillars. As I have written previously, it appeared that the guard spot would be a major source of competition at training camp as the trio of Greco, Pinkston, and Shaun Lauvao battled for the two starting roles. Now it looks like either Pinkston or Lauvao, both of whom began last season as starters, will be left on the bench. There are still questions about which side Greco will play. He lined up on the left between Mack and Thomas last season after Pinkston went down, and some outlets have predicted he will start there again this year. Others list him as a right guard. It probably doesn’t matter much, but if the Browns view him as the best of the three guards, I’d prefer to see him on the right side where he can help Schwartz as he continues to develop. It’s nice to see Boardman native Greco rewarded for his hard work and performance, but it also makes sense for the team. While he is about average as a pass blocker, it is not unreasonable to expect that Greco will improve that aspect of his game as he adds to his 14 career starts. Even if he remains at the same level in pass protection, Greco should still prove valuable, especially with Norv Turner’s recent assertion that Trent Richardson will likely get over 300 carries this season. The one curious part about this signing is the timing. With higher profile players like T.J. Ward and the man that will line up next to Greco (on one side or the other), Alex Mack, entering the last year of their contracts, it is surprising that Greco was the first to get a new contract. Even Greco himself was somewhat shocked. “I wasn’t really expecting it,” he admitted. “My focus was to come in and have a good camp and be one of the starters, that was really my mindset. The contract stuff will take care of itself after the season, but the Browns approached me the other night and I’m happy we got something worked out.” Don’t expect Greco to be the last player inked to a new contract. “One of our goals,” said Browns CEO Joe Banner, “is whenever possible to develop and keep our own players.” That bodes well for Ward and Mack, two players the Browns drafted and have watched grow into some of the best in the NFL at their respective positions. The contract is also welcome news because it is real, tangible news about the football team rather than further discussion of Jimmy Haslam’s ongoing legal woes. With Banner’s statement and training camp opening up tomorrow, Browns fans should soon have even more to talk about. Related Cleveland Browns: Fullback questions, and maybe an answer Cleveland Browns Best Case/Worst Case Cleveland Browns training camp: Offensive questions
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Andrew Luck tried not to watch Super Bowl, was still ‘salty’

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Former USC linebacker suing school over insurance policy

Report: Fred Jackson expected to sign with Seahawks

Adrian Peterson accused of fathering another child out of wedlock

Robert Griffin III liked fan’s Instagram post trashing Redskins

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Tom Brady may have been ‘open’ to one-game suspension

Fenway Park staff reportedly confiscating Don Orsillo signs

Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer betting on himself

Titans' Marcus Mariota: ‘Statistics don’t matter to me’

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

FSU names Everett Golson starting QB for 2015

WATCH: Dwyane Wade destroys kids in dodgeball

Jaguars OC: WR Marqise Lee is like 'the albino tiger at the zoo'

Rangers have got themselves a bullpen

Do the Washington Nationals need to fire Matt Williams?

Most surprising developments from 2015 NFL preseason

Herschel Walker supports Trump’s candidacy for president

WATCH: Kevin Kiermaier robs Manny Machado home run shot

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Caroline Wozniacki smoking on cover of ‘Rhapsody’ magazine

Could Robert Griffin III be the NFL’s next Steve Young?

Spurrier: SEC fans right to be upset with Ohio State's schedule

Report: 'Deranged' fan shot outside WWE building

Report: Brady convinced Harbaugh to return to Michigan

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Urban Meyer won't announce QB before season

Teammates relieved RG3 was benched?

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker