PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12: Andrew Whitworth #77 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 12 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The general belief is that Andrew Whitworth struggled last season. From a certain perspective, that might be true. And even with an injury last year that impacted his run blocking, Whitworth continued showing relative dominance, at least in respect to the other players on the offensive line. He's one of the best pass blockers in the NFL over the past three seasons.
His pass blocking score of 16.6 last season was second to only Joe Thomas in Cleveland. Of the left tackles that took part in over 1,000 offensive snaps in 2011, only three gave up less sacks than Whitworth's three. Additionally the Bengals starting left tackle allowed only three hits on Andy Dalton (not sacks) and only 14 hurries.
Whitworth (hopefully) comes into the season healthy, fully recovered, even after losing 30 pounds during the offseason to "feel lighter" (hopefully he didn't Rudi Johnson himself). And if it weren't for the supposed injury and the perceived struggle, he may have been firmly sitting upon his No. 1 throne. He'll just have to claim it back after this year.