Browns' Rubin set to return, Pettine mum on OL plans
BEREA, Ohio - The Cleveland Browns will look different along both lines for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders than they did last week.
As for the exact lineup, though, Browns coach Mike Pettine isn't saying until he has to.
Pettine said Friday the Browns have decided on a starting center and right guard combination but he won't reveal it before Sunday. The injury to Alex Mack two weeks ago forced John Greco to get his first real game snaps ever at center, moving over from right guard, and brought veteran Paul McQuistan off the bench to play right guard. For the first time all season, the offensive line struggled.
Not sharing the plan now is a strategic move, Pettine said.
"But we feel good about it," he said.
The Browns have options with Nick McDonald practicing while trying to return from the non-football injury list. Though McDonald hasn't played in a game in two years, he has center experience among his 16 NFL games and three starts. Vinston Painter could also play at right guard.
McDonald is eligible to stay on NFI another week. If he's activated by Saturday afternoon, the Browns would have to make a roster move.
On the defensive line, starting nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin is listed as probable to return after a two-week absence from an ankle injury. Billy Winn, who's also missed the last two games is questionable, and Phil Taylor is out at least another week.
"(Rubin) has had a good week of practice," Pettine said. "He feels good. He's prepared. We obviously feel really good about having him back."
The Browns rank last in the league against the run, giving up 155.5 yards per game. The Raiders rank last at 69 yards rushing per game, having fallen to the bottom spot after the Jacksonville Jaguars ran all over the Browns last week.
The Browns are also listing safety Jim Leonhard as questionable after he suffered an ankle injury in practice Thursday. He was held out of Friday's practice.