I don't want you to think that I have anything against Andrew Whitworth. In fact, best friend thought so highly of Whitworth's play, that he wondered, what do we do? We just can't sit Whitworth. Is there truly this much talent on the offensive line that that question is justifiably asked? We lost Eric Steinbach and gained a guard that's listed at 6'7" 347 pounds. Our other starting guard is listed at 345 pounds. Repeat, our starting left guard against Baltimore weights in at 347 pounds. Bobbie Williams is listed at 345 pounds. That's 692 pounds of guards. Our two starting tackles against Baltimore are a combined 679 pounds. Between our guards and tackles, that's an average of 342 pounds. Beef!
Of all of our guards and tackles, the lightest is Levi Jones (307 pounds). Jones is one of the best pass blockers in the league that gets by on strength and quickness. Some contend his run blocking is, well, blah. But Jones is overdue for some recognition and I still believe that his overall talent is higher than Whitworth's (why I had the disclaimer in the opening sentence). That, of course, is subjective and your opinion may vary.
So what's going on with Levi?
Consider for a moment. It's believed that the coaching staff isn't convinced he's healthy enough. However, last week's injury reports, and today's, Jones isn't mentioned once. Not last Wednesday, not Thursday, Friday and certainly, not today. Levi contends that he's fine and ready to go. If it was an injury factor, why not show up in the injury reports? Furthermore, if I'm Jones that doesn't play a down Monday with no apparent mention of injury, I'd wonder too what my role was. And his confusion sits still like an herbal enthusiast taking a calculus exam.
Granted, I questioned Jones' use of the media to display frustration. I figured, if anything else, that he would ease his way onto the field Monday night. However, I didn't see him and he's listed as "Not Played" in the NFL Game Book. Maybe I missed him. I don't eat many carrots and my eyes get worse and worse in my knee-cracking days.
Will he start, as Marvin Lewis said he will at "some point"? Will he even play?
Does Whitworth rotate between Jones and Anderson so both can ease into the season? Perhaps Whitworth moves to left guard and Jones returns to his stomping grounds. That poses a second question. After Andrews has played all of training camp and preseason, wouldn't Andrews be better equipped to play there, right now? Which of the two sit the bench?
Note: I thought it fair to mention that Scott Kooistra has done a fine job filling in for Willie. True, the one sack Carson Palmer suffered could have come from the right side of the line -- but I won't presume who was in the wrong. The line shifted left and Kooistra blocked out opening a hole like Chuck Norris parting the Red Sea. But was Watson supposed to pick up the inside? I don't see it. A blocking running back, more times than not, will fall violently through the Earth's crust.
That still doesn't answer, "what now", as best friend posed.
But one thing's for sure. The talent is good enough to justify that question.