Being the backup to Joe Thomas must be like being a weatherman in Hawaii — good, low-stress work if you can get it. That low-stress job description changed for Spencer Drango with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter of the Browns game with the Tennessee Titans last week. That was the moment Thomas’ streak of playing on 10,363 consecutive plays ended because of a torn left triceps. Drango finished the game at left tackle and, according to Pro Football Focus, allowed two quarterback pressures in 19 pass-block snaps after Thomas was forced to leave. Right tackle Shon Coleman was responsible for five pressures, according to PFF. Drango will be making his first NFL start on Oct. 29 when the Browns play the Vikings in London. It will be a football version of that Hawaiian weatherman suddenly dealing with typhoons and tsunamis because Drango will have to protect quarterback DeShone Kizer’s blind side against right defensive end Everson Griffen — one of the best pass rushers in the NFL this season. Griffen has nine sacks, third most in the NFL. He has at least one in all seven games the Vikings have played. “I’m excited, nervous, all of them,” Drango said before the Browns flew to London on Oct. 26. “I think it is good to be nervous. Even Joe told us he still got nervous before games. You have to embrace it and use that as fuel.” Drango was chosen in 2016 with a fifth-round draft pick acquired (after another trade down) in the trade with Philadelphia that allowed the Eagles to draft quarterback Carson Wentz with the second pick of the 2016 draft. Griffen, an eight-year veteran, clearly has the edge in a one-on-one matchup with Drango. He has 12.5 sacks in 2014, 10 in 2015 and eight last season. He is on pace for a career-high in sacks in 2017. “I don’t know that it has been any more this year than other years,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said on a conference call. “First of all, Everson is a great person, a tough competitor. He’s going to give you a full day’s work. He has power, strength and speed. He has excellent hands, excellent get off.
Spencer Drango steps into left tackle hot seat for Browns vs. Vikings
The News-Herald | Oct 29