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Anthony Collins Is The Best Option At Right Tackle

Anthony Collins' career consists of 1,037 snaps and save for the six games he started at left tackle in 2008, he's spent a majority of his time at right tackle. After injuries to Levi Jones and Andrew Whitworth in 2008, Collins was asked to start at left tackle as a rookie. It wouldn't be easy. His first three games came against of the Steelers, Ravens and Colts, all sporting quality pass rushers. And of the 261 snaps he performed during his rookie season, he allowed only three quarterback sacks. More impressive was that he shutdown James Harrison, the 2008 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Even though Suggs had a shared sack, it didn't come against Collins. And in the final three games of the year, the Bengals rushing offense recorded 501 yards rushing. Not only was that the team's highest three-game stretch of yards on the ground all year, it was higher than any four game stretch in any of the 13 games preceding the final three.

The Bengals released Jones, moved Andrew Whitworth to left tackle the following year. A training camp competition took place, searching for the team's starting right tackle between Dennis Roland and Collins while Andre Smith was on the mend. Collins won, starting seven of the team's first eight games of the season. The Bengals went 6-1 when Collins started that year; 4-5 in games he didn't start. Record aside, the Bengals offense was much more effective during the stretch that Collins started in 2009.

  Total Yards Passing Y Rushing Y First Downs
Games Collins Started 356.3 214.3 142 21
Games Collins Didn't Start 272.4 154.4 118.0 16.4

Not that we're making a direct connection. But for the sake of a fun argument, the Bengals have a winning percentage of 60% when Collins starts.

While we wonder if the Bengals will pick up Smith's option to make a four-year deal into a six-year deal through 2014, the greater question should be, why haven't the Bengals been more consistent with Anthony Collins?

Since 2008, Collins has started 16 games, played 1,037 snaps and allowed a total of six quarterback sacks. Let's put that in perspective for a moment. Dennis Roland started 12 games in 2010, participated in 699 snaps and allowed seven quarterback sacks. In the previous two seasons which included 24 starts, Roland has allowed 15 quarterback sacks.

What are we missing?

The argument is that Roland is the better run blocker. According to Pro Football Focus, that's not true. Since 2009, Roland's rush blocking graded at -1.3. Collins was nearly a point better at -0.3.

It's one thing if the team wants to give Andre Smith an advantage to win the starting position at right tackle, solely because of his contract. We're not ignorant fools. We realize that's how it works in the NFL. But who in their right mind decides that Dennis Roland was their best candidate at right tackle?

The Bengals could have had a stable right tackle dating back to 2009. Instead, they've seeked every reason to start anyone other than Collins. And there no better off now at the position than they were two years ago.