Two battles that needs to be figured out quickly in training camp is who’s playing tackle and center? And to that end, will a quarterback help determine the answer?
New starters notoriously hold the ball too long. It’s why Trevor Siemian often got pummeled when he didn’t need to be. Same for Paxton Lynch. However, like in everything they do, they are yin and yang. One was good at quick throws and making good decisions. The other is good in the pocket and buying time with his legs.
Based on that, let’s ignore the quarterbacks for right now because while a quarterback can help his OL and same for the reverse, let’s focus on the beef, first.
Starting up front is already a question. Matt Paradis was phenomenal last season, even as Kubiak drove him into the ground. With double hip surgery, there is the question of how will he be when he returns? There are too many cases of centers losing their strength after undergoing his procedures.
Joseph says he’ll be ready in late August. Ready for what? Ready to practice 100%? Can he be hit? There is one position that needs its hips more than any other and that’s Center. From what I understand, he wasn’t even there in shorts just wearing a helmet and listening in.
If Paradis can’t be a real contributor come TC, he’ll go on PUP. The question will then be what to do with him? IR with designation to return? Because he and Jake Butt can’t both be using up two roster spots. From what we’ve seen and what stats show us, those recovering from ACL surgery need a year to be 100% effective. Maybe ten months at the earliest.
They can’t move Butt from PuP to the PS because some team will snatch him up. PUP will buy them time to see where he is an can he be effective to play this season. If it’s a no, then that’s the same dilemma with Paradis. He’s in the same boat.
that leaves potentially using the IR to return designation for both. The only problem with that is, you only get two and starting the season using them up already, could end up biting them in the butt. Pun intended. Using up spots on the active roster for guys who aren’t ready isn’t a great option, either.
Which brings us to Connor McGovern. He worked as the center all off season. He’s an inch taller and most likely heavier. Since teams use weights from a combine, or whatever a college lists them as (often very wrong), it’s a guessing game, but McGocern is listed as ten pounds more.
Add in, if Matt isn’t there is shorts, how is he strengthening his body? McGovern has turned into a gym rat. He as the size and strength over Paradis. The mental part is the question.
Both Paradis and McGovern were late round picks, so it’s not as if they sit Matt for the season, they’re wasting any money or a pick. While many seem to think draft status doesn’t matter, it does. It’s why millions of dollars are spent analyzing where to pick which guys where.
Right now, a healthy, bigger McGovern may end up keeping his spot and if so, Elway looks good. Two late round guys both starting is a win-win.
If come November and Paradis is back to 100%, but McGovern is holding his own, they shouldn’t make the switch. I love Matt, but this OL needs some continuity.
There’s already a big height difference between Siemian and Lynch requiring a different stance from the center when either QB is behind them. Swapping out later may not be a good idea.
Speaking of quarterbacks, let’s adress how they can help the OL because what they do will effect the tackles more than the rest of the OL.
Trevor needs to work on stepping UP in the pocket. Last season he had the best pass center in the league and yet, he’d hang back. His relutence all season may have been to due to fear of injury from the shoulder and lingering fear from his torn ACL, but he’s healthy now and he has got to overcome hanging back.
Just moving up will help both tackles, immensely. If he starts and does that, he may last more than three games before getting injured. Staying back is just ringing the dinner bell for edge rushers, making it tougher to protect him.
If Lynch starts, while his pocket presence is good, he’ll need to learn to ‘Peyton’ if it breaks down instead of being Hercules. That means, if he’s up in the pocket, self sack instead of dropping back and trying to outrun the rush. He has wheels, but we need him to find a balance between the two so he can live to fight another day. This effects the tackles because they’re not expecting him to be coming at them.
Menelik Watson is an unknown because he’s been plagued by injuries. Last season, he was poor against the rush and pass. Donald Stephenson had the same issue. Ty Sambraillo, too. Garrett Bolles was a road grater, but not so hot at pass protection and he’s a rookie.
The tandem of a (healthy) Leary and Watson should be less of an issue for either QB, but the left side is a big, oiy. Max Garcia was a better rush, than pass blocker. He’ll be teamed up with trouble no matter who’s chosen.
If I was McCoy, I’d move my HB/FB and TE’s around in creative ways to help shore up the left side. The good news with a shotgun formation is it lessens the full threat of the blindside rush.
If they go with Lynch, his comfort in the pocket will help all, provided his growth in reading defenses continues. Same with his superb scrambling ability.
If they go with Trevor, he is going to need to step out of his comfort level. That means using the pocket and if he doesn’t, he’ll need to scramble more. A lot more. Both QB’s can help in determining which LT through their play. Whichever one does best when each quarterback shows his weaknesses.
Like QB, starting spots on the OL need to be decided long before the preseason. Reps, reps and more reps are crucial. Having rotating players hurts everyone. Hopefully, the coaches pick one and go. The longer the enrtire starting offense can gel, the better.
This has been an issue the last two seasons. Too many moving pieces, not enough reps for anyone to settle in. If Paradis isn’t 100% by TC, go with McGovern and stick with him. If they decide on Bolles or Sambraillo, Siemian better be practicing wind sprints and buy some bubble wrap. If they go with Stephenson, both quarterbacks better pray he stays healthy.