CINCINNATI — Left tackle Joe Thomas was the only Browns lineman who played every snap at the same position Sunday in the 31-17 loss to the Bengals. Unfortunately for the Browns, that’s not unusual this season.
Coach Hue Jackson wasn’t satisfied by the performance of the latest starting five last week, so he made changes. Then he made another when center Cameron Erving didn’t play in the second half with an illness.
Erving suffered a bruised lung Sept. 18 against the Ravens and missed three games. He was fatigued during his return last week but finished the game.
A team spokesman said he didn’t know if the illness Sunday was related to the bruised lung and Erving will undergo tests today.
“We hope he’s OK. We’re not sure what’s going on there yet,” John Greco said.
Greco slid from right guard back to center for the second half, and Alvin Bailey played right guard. Those were only two of the moving pieces.
Jackson started rookie fifth-rounder Spencer Drango at left guard in place of Bailey. Joel Bitonio usually holds down the position, but he’s out for the year with a Lisfranc midfoot injury. Drango played all but one snap in his first start, leaving briefly with an injury.
At right tackle, Jackson rotated rookie third-rounder Shon Coleman with struggling starter Austin Pasztor. It was Coleman’s first action at right tackle this season.
“I thought Spencer deserved a start,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to keep trying these guys until you can get it right.
“If I do nothing, that’s not good. And if you do something, maybe that might not be good enough, too.”
Coleman missed much of the offseason following knee surgery, and Jackson said earlier this season he wasn’t ready.
“Shon’s a young player that’s starting to grow, and you’ve got to find out what he is,” he said.
Greco has bounced back and forth between right guard and center throughout the first seven games, so he wasn’t taken aback by another day of shuffling linemen.
“The more curveballs the better,” he said. “That’s what we like. No matter who gets the call, they have to play well.”
Thomas admitted the changes make life difficult.
“To be in a constant state of flux with the offensive line makes it tough to get on the same page with everybody because out of all the position groups I’d say offensive line probably takes the most time to get everybody on the same page,” he said. “When you’re constantly shuffling guys at tackle and center and guard, moving guys around, it makes it really difficult to operate effectively.”
Receiver Terrelle Pryor played despite being less than 100 percent with a hamstring injury. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday and had been listed as questionable.
He worked out before the game and was deemed fit. The Browns limited his snaps, but he still played quite a bit.
“I appreciate him being out there,” Jackson said. “Those guys who this organization — this football team — means so much to, they go out there regardless of what the situation is and try to play, and he did.
“At the end, I was trying to keep him out of there and he’s trying to get back in there. That’s just what he is, the guy likes playing.”
Pryor, the team’s leading receiver, had two catches for 18 yards and played into the fourth quarter. He declined to talk after the game.
“I’ll chat with you all tomorrow,” he said.
No. 1 cornerback Joe Haden was inactive for the second straight week with a groin injury. He’s missed three of the past five games and 11 of the last 15.
Jackson said he ran before the game but couldn’t go.
Tramon Williams replaced Haden in the starting lineup.
The other Browns inactives were: quarterback Josh McCown (broken left collarbone), receiver Corey Coleman (broken hand), tight end Seth DeValve (knee), defensive back Marcus Burley (hamstring), outside linebacker Corey Lemonier and fullback Dan Vitale.
STARTING TO FLASH
Rookie defensive end/outside linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah, a second-round pick, had two sacks, giving him three over the last two games.
“I decided enough was enough,” he said. “This team drafted me for a reason, and I feel like I wasn’t doing enough to help the team. I gave it my all and will do whatever I can to help the team win.”
Ogbah, who started at outside linebacker Sunday and moved to end in four-man fronts, didn’t have a sack in his first five games.
“In the first couple of games, I felt like I was searching,” he said. “Now I feel like I’m all go.”
The Browns tried to give the ball to the Bengals in the third quarter but couldn’t. A Kevin Hogan interception was fumbled and recovered by Greco. Then punter Britton Colquitt was roughed, extending the drive another four plays and into the fourth quarter.
The Browns became the first team with 19 rookies since Kansas City in Week 10 in 2008.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or [email protected] Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.