Simply put...we don't have a championship defensive line and we have no idea how our offensive line is going to turn out now. Here it goes.
Defensive line: We all know what Freeney and Mathis can do. They are 2 of the most consistent players in the league at their position. The problem with our defensive line is DT and i know its a broken record but its true. Its the one position on our team that is filled with all role players. Not one of them is considered a sure fire starter on any other roster. Mookie is our best but he isn't a starter on most teams either. Don't get me wrong i like almost all of our DTs. But i dont love any of them. None of them are consistent and none of them take pressure off Freeney and Mathis.
We ask 2 things of our DTs. In our scheme we should have disruptive penetrating tackles who can collapse the pocket. We dont have that (with respect to Nevis because he hasnt played yet). Since our team uses money elsewhere its hard to get such a force without paying big money and i get that. We also ask our DTs to eat blocks and running lanes. The idea being one meaty strong DT eats blocks freeing up space for the under tackle to shoot the gap which then collapses the pocket and makes our DEs more dangerous. Also if DEs force the QB to step up its good to be able to pressure from the inside so he has no pocket to step into. We do not have a DT than demands extra attention from Guards and Centers. We do not have the penetrating disruptive Sapp like DT. We may have some guys active and athletic enough to be disruptive at times but without the block eater next to him we wont know for sure. To tie the DLine up i will quickly say we have serious depth issues at DE. Even if Hughes performs much better this season we are one injury away from seriously problems. This defense lives and breathes on QB pressure. Without it the rest of the defense falters.
Starting Defensive Line: DE Freeney, DT Mookie, DT Moala (hoping Nevis), DE Mathis
Offensive Line: Basically we lack depth at every position basically because we have an OLine almost entirely made up of unknowns. We know what we get in Saturday which is an all pro (although getting old), we know what we get in Diem which is relatively consistent but very much slipping in his old age and apparently deaf because he love to false start. We know Devan is a guy who can step in and fill a need but is not good enough to contend all season against NFL DTs week in and week out. We know Pollack....stinks. We dont know for sure but we saw Linkenbach fill in at both guard which he was terrible at and RT which he was ok at. We think he might be a good reserve at RT right now. So that means out of all known commodities we have one Pro Bowl caliber player and one guy near the end of his career if not the nfl at least with the colts. The rest are reserves out of knowns. We then have a group of unknowns. Our esteemed rookies while hopes are high we still truly dont know what they bring to the table.
We hope they can become the tackles of the future but thats just a hope. Who knows maybe they turn out to be 2 more Tony Ugohs. Since now we see Charlie Johnson is gone it means they expect Castanzo to step in at LT immediately. We brought back Diem which means they will want the new and true Big Ben to take over a guard spot this year before taking over for Diem next year. That would leave the other guard spot left open and up for grabs between Pollack, Devan, and McClendon. My hope would be Mc wins the job since i think we've seen enough of Devan and Pollack in my eyes. The big reason we drafted Mc was because he is very strong and has great push off the line which means this guy might be the mauler we're looking for to kick start our run game....Might be. Have i hammered home the sentiment of uncertainty enough yet?
Starting Line: LT Canstanzo, Guards McClendon and Ijalana, Center Saturday, RT Diem
Basically I'm terrified of our deficiencies. Sure we always find a way to get through the season because we do have the role players who can step in. And we do have Peyton Manning i suppose that helps. But when it comes to the playoffs we may not be able to just get by. Hopefully our rookies on the OLine play well. Hopefully Nevis becomes a disruptive force. Hopefully I'm wrong about all my worries and doubts. But that might depend on the hope that we make a few more signings to help our lines.
Tune is next time where we address our Linebacker situation...as you may have guessed i am worried.