THE BROWNS Verba will line up next to new mate
Inconsistency and lack of stability have plagued the Browns' offensive line.
BEREA (AP) -- Browns left tackle Ross Verba will be lining up next to yet another guard this season.
Verba hasn't played beside the same teammate since joining the Browns in 2001. He says that type of inconsistency is part of what has plagued Cleveland's line.
"You'd definitely like to play with someone for two or three years," Verba said Tuesday. "I know with free agency everyone's going and coming so it really doesn't happen a whole lot. But in an ideal situation you'd like to have someone for at least 16 weeks."
This season, it looks like Enoch DeMar is the leading candidate to line up next to Verba. The Browns have named DeMar to start -- at least for now -- at left guard over Chad Beasley.
"He's explosive. He's got great leverage," Verba said of DeMar. "He's got great technique on his footwork."
The left guard position is the only spot on the offensive line where there's a serious competition this season, which Verba said is an improvement.
"Four out of five is not bad, better than in past," Verba said. "We were coming in here a couple years ago and we didn't know what the heck was going on."
The Browns offensive line has been a weakness since the team's return to the league in 1999, failing to adequately protect the quarterback or open up running lanes.
Cleveland surprised some by failing to draft an offensive lineman until the sixth round in April. The team also failed to sign any free agents, like St. Louis' Orlando Pace.
They did acquire free agent guard Kelvin Garmon, who has earned a reputation as a strong run blocker after opening up holes for LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego.
Garmon's addition appears to solidify the right side of the Browns' line. Right tackle Ryan Tucker and Garmon were the only offensive linemen on their respective teams to play all 16 games last season.
The center position also appears secure with Jeff Faine looking for a solid second season after missing the final five games last year with an ankle injury.
But the left side of the line, which protects quarterback Jeff Garcia's blind side, is fraught with questions.
Verba missed all of last season with a biceps tendon injury. He shrugged off problems he's already had in training camp with a groin muscle and a broken thumb.
"Based on what we've been doing I'm very happy," he said. "As a whole we're really coming together. Maybe in years past I would say that just to candy coat it and say positive things."