The Bengals’ selection of offensive lineman Jonah Williams could have huge ripple effects along the rest of the offensive line.
Before the draft, Cincinnati seemed to have their five starting linemen in place. Cordy Glenn at left tackle, Clint Boling at left guard, Billy Price in the center and free agent guard John Miller on Price’s right. It also seemed like Bobby Hart would be slated at the right tackle with his three-year contract in place.
When the Bengals draft Williams it seemed pretty simple to just put him at right tackle to replace Hart, which still could be the case. However, the Bengals have been pretty clear they feel Williams is a left tackle; whether they mean this year or in the future is unclear.
Obviously, the player that could have an impact on the most in Glenn. He doesn’t even seem confident that his spot at left tackle is safe, and thinks a move is very possible.
“Nobody knows. I’m pretty sure they have a plan in place,” Glenn told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, “They’re probably going to move a couple of guys around and see a couple of different lineups and see what they really have and what the unit to put on the field is.
“Some guys can play in a phone booth and some can’t. I can play in a phone booth and I can play on an island,” Glenn said. “[Last time I played inside was] almost 10 years ago. I don’t know (if it’s like riding a bike). It will be interesting though for sure.”
Inserting Williams at left tackle sparks plenty of questions. Does Glenn move to guard or right tackle? Is Boling’s spot at left guard in danger as well?
The possibilities become pretty endless. We could be looking at a very similar line as last year’s, but it could be a matter of familiar faces in different places.
It is hard to make any predictions at this point, but we should see far more experimentation during training camp and OTAs with where guys are lining up. It could very well go into the preseason. The issue with that of course surrounds the potential cohesion of the unit.
You could argue that it will be hard to have a group establish chemistry if they’re still being moved around in the preseason. Last season when the Bengals had roughly the same starting offensive line from the beginning of the preseason (injuries were the only time someone lost their starting job) and easily make the point it is better to find the best five rather than build chemistry with the wrong five.
I think everyone can agree, though, that the Bengals need to focus on starting the best players at every position along the offensive line regardless of contract or reputation. It is a fresh start for everyone to compete and get a product on the field that is acceptable.
So far, the new coaching staff has all possibilities open in front of them. We can only hope they put a good offensive line together.