i had originally posted this on another fan post, and realized that I should leave the the other post for peoples responses rather than my opinion so detailed. So here is my assesment of the O-line. I try to take a step back and take a neutral stance when I analyze our team. Sometimes better than others. Since the last game where we were victorious against Detroit, people have been so stoked on our O-line, so I figure now would be a good time for mid season grades.
Our “great” performance was against the worst D-line we will see all year. That was apparent. Detroit traded their best D-lineman this offseason (Cory Redding) for Julian Peterson. Now that was not saying a whole lot, so their D-line went from crappy to shitty. And although we did well for the most part, they were by NO MEANS STELLAR. Jackson broke the first tackle in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage way to many times. There should have never been that much penetration. So let’s look at our guys.
Barron- like you said is in a contract year and he has already given the coaches a reason to bench him during a game and even use a 3 man rotation at LT. He has done nothing to solidy his payday in the offseason. In fact, I can recall several times people requesting that we just start Smith since he is the future. Barron has been a disappointment. I give him a C+, because has shown some glimpses of why the team drafted him in the first round, to go along with his boneheaded mistakes (penalties anyone?)
Bell-There was a reason why I was so pissed we didn’t go after Faneca in the offseason prior to the 08 season. Bell has shown me nothing to convince me I was wrong. He has been inconsistent, ineffective, and disappointing way too often. He is getting paid premium dollars and producing at an average level. I wanted the rams to draft Duke Robinson this last offseason to try and push Bell, and if he didn’t respond, bring in the young buck to take over. Setts even replaced him after he was concussed (what a great word) and showed us how to play the position effectively. I give him a D+ this is due to a two year disappointment from someone that we had such high hopes for.
Brown- I was a little skeptical in playing him at OG money but the kid has looked good for the most part. He was definitely not the biggest offeason transaction with Haynesworth bringing in what he did, but he has been arguably the most impactful. He has been very effective in preventing the pocket from collapsing in front of Bulger. He and Incognito have played very well together. I give him a B+. The best part is that he is young and that he is still learning he position.
Incognito- besides keeping a lid on his emotions, he has transitioned into a Professional. He used to struggle with dumb penalties and allowing his personal vendetta to look past his task at hand on the line. I love the fact that he is a bargain, a blue collar hard worker, and that he plays with a mean streak. I give him a B, wish he didn’t get hurt.
Smith- Well I think it is still too early to tell, considering the kid is still learning. He is coming along well, but still needs to focus on his technique. He is obviously a specimen, and I will be watching closely as the season goes on. He has struggled against some of the elite of the league (Freeney anyone?) but that is part of the learning curve. Maybe I am a little critical considering I really wanted Curry, but I do think that he played well this last weekend. I give him a B-. As long as he continues to progress I will be happy.
The bench has been great, they have filled in for the starters quite well and when called upon they responded. Setts and Goldberg have gotten the job done and been versatile. I look forward to Greco coming in and helping this group. I give the bench an A-. They have surpassed expectations and often times surpassed the performance of the person they filled in for.