Another important topic to come out of this off-season will be the status of the offensive line. As Phil Simms says, to paraphrase, “with the offensive line goes the team. When the line is playing well, your offense will go. If they are playing badly, they won’t.” Here are Rex’s thoughts so far, led by center Nick Mangold:
Well, it looks good so far to me. Obviously, it’s quarterbacked by Nick Mangold in there, and we’ve all become accustomed to the type of player he is. I think he’s stepped up his leadership. Whether it’s now kind of being the elder statesman, I guess, him and (D’Brickashaw Ferguson) or whatever, I see that more from Nick right now. He’s really taken that. (He’s) always been a sharp guy. He’s going to have two new guards playing with him so that certainly will be a challenge. But you have two veterans with Willie Colon – (I’ve) really been impressed with Willie, same thing with (Stephen) Peterman. We’re flipping all those guards. (Brian) Winters as well, that we drafted. I’m expecting big things from this young man. So I feel pretty good about where we are with those guys. Sometimes there’s a comfort level. The offensive lineman immediately wants (to say), “I’m the right guard,” “I’m the left guard” or whatever, but we’re not there yet. It’s about the competition. The best two will be out there and we’ll see who that is. But do I see good competition there? I absolutely do.
Rex had this to say about right tackle Austin Howard:
I don’t know how much he’s really changed. I guess we’ll see when the pads come on. The best thing he does is come off with a flat back and knock people back. I think until you have the pads on you don’t necessarily see that. But I think he’s working hard on his conditioning. I think he’s working hard going against edge pass rushers (and) things like that. He’s an unusual guy, a guy with that kind of size, but very athletic. He’s more of a prototype left tackle as far as his feet are concerned. He has left tackle feet as a right tackle. That’s impressive. Obviously, he has the size and the power you want out of a right tackle.
It’s all about competition, no two ways about it. The offensive line is going to have to fight for their spots, no matter who they are.
I can’t wait to see how they improve thanks to the competition.