The fight for right guard is heating up as training camp comes to a close.
Trey Hopkins is holding onto the starting spot, but needs to keep a tight grip if he doesn’t want to lose it. And if Thursday was any indication, the competition should be heating up a little.
Christian Westerman, who came in at left guard in the second quarter of the Bengals preseason opener against the Bears, made some noise during the game. Pro Football Focus gave him the second-highest grade on offense, behind the man, myth, and legend A.J Green.
#Bengals G Christian Westerman finished Thursday's contest with a 90.5 offense grade, the second-highest offense grade on the team behind AJ Green's 93.1 offense grade.— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) August 11, 2018
Cincinnati may have just found a diamond in the rough in Westerman.
After all of the games wrapped up on Saturday night, PFF assembled their Team of the Week. Westerman made the team easily.
Here’s what they said about him:
In 43 snaps against the Bears, Westerman played about as well as you can. 29 of those snaps were pass-blocking reps and he wasn’t beaten once. For a team needing guard help, it was an encouraging performance.
Westerman’s 43 snaps were a team-high for the offense, and his run blocking was just about as good as his pass blocking. He had some rough spots, but for every mistake he made, he bounced back almost immediately.
Even though Hopkins has won the right guard job two years in a row, Westerman should have a shot at it. After all, Marvin Lewis said last week that the preseason is when they get their best evaluations done. They can’t replicate live reps during training camp like they do in preseason. Lewis said that there is no first team, so Hopkins by no means has his spot locked down.
Of course, Westerman will have to play starting defenses if he wants good film on his resume. If that happens, he may not be able to replicate that 90.5 grade. But it’s worth giving him a look so that Andy Dalton can have the best protection possible.