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What the Hell can the Bengals do at offense tackle now?

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The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I can promise you, I have no freaking clue when the dawn is coming.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing. They’re screwed.

Should we go further than that? Are you sure?

This will only increase the appeal for nihilism if you haven’t already subscribed to that like me.

Jonah Williams isn’t playing football until 2020. While his torn labrum heals, the Bengals are about to run it back with Cordy Glenn and Bobby Hart at left and right tackle. They have no choice because they gave themselves no choice. They’re committed to making Hart a starter when calling him a backup is a generous statement. There was plans to move Glenn inside at left guard and they can’t possibly go through with that now. They have nothing else because Williams was the only new investment at the position, which was a bad strategy to begin with.

The now undeniable curse when it comes to Cincinnati relying on their first-round picks in year one should’ve served as a warning caution for the Bengals’ front office. Injuries aren’t predictable, but having to rely on rookies to fill major needs due to a lack of activity during free agency is a volatile course of action. When it pays off, it’s wonderful. When it doesn’t, this kind of predicament occurs, and sitting on your hands is all you can do.

There’s a reason why this sentiment was felt even after Williams was picked.

It’s never good to invest in bad players. Period. When Hart was brought back — on a starter’s contract nonetheless — the Bengals ended up ultimately ignoring a major need on their roster, though they’d say they were proactive about the situation. Walmart doesn’t always have offensive tackles in stock, of course.

Adding Williams was a commendable move that would’ve made the unit as a whole better, but if he were to get injured or not play well (which would’ve been normal for most rookie lineman), then nothing really changed. This supported the argument for the Bengals double-dipping at the position in the second round. There were reports that they were interested in trading up for one at the top of the round, but never pulled the trigger. Instead, they traded up for soon-to-be 25-year-old Ryan Finley two rounds later, who apparently can’t seem to complete passes in non-contact practices.

Williams, and eventually nobody else, was drafted, and the weight of fixing the entire line rested almost completely on his shoulders, which kind of sounds like Billy Price from last year. History has a way of repeating itself and successfully destroyed those plans, yet again. The weight of that pressure must’ve been the crushing blow to that labrum, and now things haven’t *really* changed. So what now?

There’s really only one question that needs to be answered: who will be starting at left guard. This is probably where things stand right now:

  • LT: Cordy Glenn
  • LG: Christian Westerman, John Jerry, Clint Boling all tied for first I suppose
  • C: Billy Price
  • RG: John Miller
  • RT: Bobby Hart

In all honesty, Williams’ injury bodes well for Boling, who may’ve been on the outside looking in if Glenn was taking his spot. Unfortunately, the veteran going into his ninth year has yet to practice with the team this offseason and is kind of an enigma in regards to his status with this new coaching staff. Westerman and Jerry have at least had first-team reps since Williams was sidelined.

So, who in God’s name is going to be behind Glenn and Hart? Kent Perkins with six snaps to his name entering year three? Trey Hopkins with five snaps at tackle entering year six? Recently signed Justin Evans who didn’t even play last year? There’s also undrafted rookies in Keaton Sutherland and O’Shea Dugas, so that’ll for sure calm your nerves.

There’s always the possibility of late-offseason waiver claims and things of that nature, but offensive tackle isn’t a position where starting-level players are let go right before the season begins unless unique circumstances allow it. Assume that anybody available right now and in late August is not much different that what they have.

Moving Boling out to one of the tackle spots (specifically right tackle) has also been a prominent topic this offseason, but that’s a move to make only in the absolute of desperate times... so maybe now? Either way, he’s not a good tackle now and he never has been. He’s a guard through and through. Keep him there.

The only thing the Bengals can do is pray that Williams’ labrum was the first and last injury they suffer at the position, because as bad as their situation is right now, it can actually get much worse.