Offensive line questions aren’t going away anytime soon. These questions have been festering even with a number of picks addressing the issues in recent drafts. Head Coach Arthur Smith’s experience with tight ends and offensive line has been well documented at this point. That goes to say, the new regime gives reason to be optimistic.
With the departure of Alex Mack this offseason and injuries that have piled up, unfortunately Continuity, O-Lines bestfriend, is currently a foreign concept at Flowery Branch.
Only two 2020 starters are back up-front, healthy and ready for camp. The 3rd 2020 starter, Kaleb McGary, has started training camp on the PUP List alongside Matt Gono and DL Deadrin Senat. During camp, players on the PUP may be removed and activated from the list at any time, so the full extent of these injuries is still unknown. One could only speculate at the moment. As frustrating as it is for fans, media and opposing franchises, it is apparent this new 1st year front office knows the rules of the league and will be keeping details close to the vest whenever possible; especially those regarding any injuries while they can. The rules are different in the season so we can only hope these young players get healthy enough to join the competition and earn opportunities with the 1’s.
Smith’s previous and constant emphasis on competition and GM Terry Fontenot’s acquisition of depth opens up 6 of the 8 spots (5 of which start) at offensive line. Rookie Jalen Mayfield has proven to be adaptable/flexible and newly acquired G Josh Andrews has some ability at C. Gono before injury has been used at T and was getting repititions at LG. Starters will begin to emerge as hitting starts week 2 of camp, but it will likely be Versatility and Flexibility that will determine who dresses on game day to start the season VS Philadelphia September 12.
Buckle up those chinstraps. Competition turns up on Tuesday August 3rd with full contact.
Check out my video below for more on the State Of The Line.