Editor's Note: Joe will be breaking down different Bengals players in scouting reports, judging their strengths, weaknesses and giving his overall impression, starting with guys who could possibly be leaving the team when the lockout ends and free agency begins. Keep an eye out for more scouting reports that will be coming soon.
Strengths: Mathis is a long, lean and athletic offensive lineman who could play any position in a pinch, although his best position is guard. He plays smart and can handle the opponent with good technique and leverage. Mathis is a good pulling guard and has good vision in the second level to find linebackers to hit. Overall he is a very consistent player.
Weaknesses: Just about the only weakness in Mathis' game is that he's not much of a power guard, but that's not his game. With the help of his center, Kyle Cook, the two can keep the power defensive tackles away from the quarterback. I should note that I've seen him lose his temper ont he field and take an unnecessary personal foul penalty. Off the field, Mathis call it how he sees it. As fans, we love that, but I assume the Bengals front office may not.
Overall Impression: Every time Mathis entered the game, you could sense the difference in the offensive line's play as an entire unit. The entire line was more athletic, didn't have as many false starts and seemed to have more confidence when it was Evan's turn to play. I don't know why he wasn't the full-time starting left guard. He was superior to Nate Livings in almost every facet of the game. Most fans would love for him to return in 2011, but I don't think the Bengals value (or don't know his value) enough to offer him a fair salary. Mathis has played like a starter in the NFL and it's a shame that it hasn't worked in Cincinnati.