As the Cincinnati Bengals head up north to take on the Buffalo Bills, the offensive line continues to shuffle.
When Jonah Williams went down with a dislocated kneecap, second-year Jackson Carman was suddenly thrust into his spot against one of the best defenses in the AFC.
Carman, who takes practice reps at both guard and tackle, came in to the game with normal backup tackle Hakeem Adeniji already filling in for injured right tackle La’el Collins.
Carman has drawn the ire of some Bengal fans, after not necessarily living up to his second-round draft selection spot. He has been a healthy scratch several times this season and suddenly, he’s playing one of the most important positions in the NFL, in a primetime playoff game.
The Fairfield, Ohio native played well, given the circumstances. Nothing on tape shows he’s the left tackle of the future, but for being pushed in to action suddenly at a position he doesn’t spend 100% of his time practicing, he filled in admirably. As the practice week gets going on Wednesday, we should get a better idea of how the offensive line will look Sunday.
If Carman indeed gets the nod, it appears starting center Ted Karras has confidence in him to get the job done after his performance vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
Ted Karras on Jackson Carman: "I told Jackson how proud I was of him. I've been there before."— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) January 16, 2023
"He took advantage of the opportunity and played well. He'll have to do it again. These are big opportunities for these guys."
Karras has been a vocal leader since arriving in Cincinnati and with his postseason experience, could serve as a great mentor to Carman if he is indeed the starting left tackle moving forward. Karras himself has played multiple positions over the course, so he can relate to what Carman is faced with.
Unfortunately, the offensive line is looking to be the concern yet again, as the Bengals look to get back to the Super Bowl.