Andre Smith still isn't on the field. He hasn't been cleared to play after the surgery on his foot yet. I'm no good at math so double check for me but by my calculations, that's a lot more of Andre off the field than Andre on the field. Last year Smith wasn't on the field for most of the season because that same foot broke... no, shattered... no, buckled... no, exploded.. yes! exploded under his "vacation weight". He spent the majority of the season watching football instead of playing. However, when he did play, he showed flashes of why he was the no. 6 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
When he did play last year, he flashed enough to make you think they’ve got quite a specimen here that can be a factor for a long time if…
He definitely did. Smith blew some guys off the ball allowing Benson to rush his way to over 1,200 yards and he had surprising effectiveness when he was pass protecting. Not saying he was the best at it but he wasn't the worst either. Unfortunately, in the NFL, you don't get anywhere by being "not the worst", you get places by being one of the best and to be one of the best, it's usually a good idea to be on the field. That's what Smith is not doing right now. However, Marvin Lewis says he will be soon.
Marvin Lewis said Smith will be back for training camp and if he can string together six weeks of practice without his foot bothering him, they’ve got a force.
For the first time in a long while, the Bengals are going from one season to another with almost the exact same offensive line. The only question marks lie at left guard and right tackle. Hopefully Smith will be ready to claim the starting right tackle job as his when the season rolls around. After all, that's what he was drafted for. Without Smith, the Bengals would be forced to do what they did for a while last year.
Backing him up right tackle, they’ve got a big, physical presence in the 6-9 Dennis Roland that has earned the rep as a superb technician that can tilt the running game. There is also the athleticism that makes Anthony Collins a good pass protector. It worked rotating them last year.
It did work well last year. It also completely telegraphed the play. It's kind of like running on the field with a giant billboard attached to your shoulder pads that says "Hey, we're definitely going to run the ball. It's probably going to be right behind me, so get ready." That's not the best thing to do. The best thing to do is keep one guy in there that can do both jobs so the defense isn't quite sure what is going to happen on every play. Hopefully, Smith really earns that first round-holdout money this season.
I know the guy has talent. I know he knows what he's doing. All he needs to do now is show everybody else what I know. If Smith can do that, he'll help the offense in so many ways. It will definitely help the running game, as that is Smiths specialty, and it will help the passing game because defenses won't know the play before the snap. Also, any guy who is that good at run blocking is probably pretty good at pass blocking too. He's just got to learn how. Once again, this is something that requires Smith to be on the field.
So, here's to hoping that Andre Smith gets on the field..... and then stays on the field.