Anyone remember when Anthony Collins came into the league? Levi Jones and Andrew Whitworth were dealing with injuries heading into Pittsburgh during a windy mid-November Thursday night game during the depressingly terrible 4-11-1 2008 campaign. At the time Jones was the team's starting left tackle and Whitworth, even though he was the starting left guard, backed up Jones. At the time we wrote:
"If there's ever a scenario that exists out there, such as making your first start against one of the league's best defensive players, Thursday night would define it. With 12 sacks this season, Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison will be salivating at the thought of pushing a rookie tackle around, making his first NFL start..."
Harrison came into the game with 12 quarterback sacks on the season. Harrison left the game with 12 quarterback sacks on the season. A week later, Collins lined up again at left tackle and again faced one of the league's premiere pass rushers in Terrell Suggs. Suggs did get in on a shared sack late in the third quarter, but he was largely contained throughout the game.
Collins did face his problems -- specifically Dwight Freeney and the Colts -- but the newly minted left tackle was apart of a rushing offense that allowed Cedric Benson to average 118.3 yards rushing per game, helping Cincinnati put together a nice little three-game winning to end a miserable season.
Since his six-start rookie season in 2008, Collins has played in 23 games and started 10 dating back to 2009. During his 1,037 offensive snaps throughout his NFL career, Collins has allowed six quarterback sacks, 20 quarterback pressures and four quarterback hits.
Now he wants to prove that he belongs with the varsity.
“It’s something I want to prove, that I can run with the ones and that I am a one,” said Collins. “I got to get the trust of my coaches and never let it go. Until Thursday we’ll see what’s going on but right now I’m with the ones.”
I've always been a fan of Anthony Collins. Even though he's often passed over as a starter, when the team needs him to come through and perform, he does just that. Yet starting Andre Smith over Anthony Collins is understandable (cha-ching), even though Smith hasn't played very well for the most part (when he actually does play). But if we have to watching Dennis Roland playing over Collins, I'm going to do something really, really emotional. Like write a lengthy post about it.