Andrew Billings loses weight, keeps amazing strength
The Cleveland Browns not only added players via free agency and had guys returning from injury but also added players to the 2021 roster who opted out of last year due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Browns had five players opt-out for 2020: DT Andrew Billings, OL Colby Gossett, OG Drew Forbes, OT Drake Dorbeck and OG Malcolm Pridgeon. Only Billings and Forbes remain on the Cleveland roster for 2021.
Forbes is expected to compete for a backup offensive line spot but Billings is expected to compete for a starting role.
When Cleveland signed Billings before the 2020 season the thought was that he would provide depth in the middle of the defensive line. Coming into 2021, expectations and need are higher. Gone are Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson. While Malik Jackson was added in free agency, the remaining players expected to make the roster on the interior of the defensive line are very young.
Billings is now expected to step in as the team’s starting nose tackle/1-technique. His role is primarily to eat up blockers and hold the line of scrimmage while allowing other defenders to penetrate. If blocked one on one, Billings is expected to use his strength to push the pocket up the middle and blow up plays.
Following a few unflattering pictures at OTAs, some wondered if Billings was in good enough shape after sitting out last year. His line coach put some of those concerns to rest:
If Billings is able to hold his own in the middle of the line, it will open up a lot of things for the team’s revamped defense. His pure strength, as noted by Kiffin above, will make it tough for offenses to single block him. A double team will open up 1 on 1 blocking for the rest of the defensive line and keep the Browns linebackers free to run to ball carriers.