Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith will be making his first appearance this year, after spending significant time undergoing concussion protocols, which wiped out his preseason and (nearly all of) training camp.
Appearing in front of the media prior to Wednesday's practice (a tradition that will take us through the end of the season for Sunday-specific games), head coach Marvin Lewis wasn't sure about Smith's status this weekend.
"I don’t know if Andre will be ready to come out of the gate," Lewis said before practice. "Concerns really don’t matter, because nobody gives me anything for them, so we’ll know where Andre is when we get to Sunday."
Smith was a full participant all week and listed as Probable on the team's practice report Friday afternoon. Without much work since July, the question about Smith has to be conditioning.
While Smith was out during the preseason, Will Svitek started at right tackle against the Kansas City Chiefs during the preseason. Marshall Newhouse took over during the next two games against the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. Svitek didn't make the 53-man squad but Newhouse did, and according to Pro Football Focus, Newhouse submitted the team's best grade as a run blocker, scoring a +3.4 during the preseason. Yet, where he was dominant in the running game, he struggled in pass protection, scoring a -2.3... the second-worst on the team (behind Chandler Burden).
Smith has played every game in each of the past two years and started all but one -- Anthony Collins started at right tackle in San Diego due to "coach's decision". When Clint Boling suffered an ACL injury, Collins moved to left tackle, Whitworth to left guard and Smith entered the game at right tackle.