But until he shows he’s capable of being a quality tackle, there will be doubts, and there’s a lot of doubt that he’ll be able to even slow down Peppers on Sunday.
Still, Whitworth believes Collins is ready to step up and start in his place Sunday:
“I’ll be fully confident if it comes upon him because he’s a guy that can do it and can do it anywhere else,” Whitworth said Wednesday, before going out to practice but not participating. “He’d be starting anywhere else in the league if he had the opportunity to.”
As is quarterback Andy Dalton, whose blindside will be protected by Collins:
“He’s had a really good camp,” Dalton said. “He’s a player that’s been around for a while and understands everything we’re doing. So I’m really comfortable with AC out there.”
So how has Collins improved this offseason in order to be prepared for a situation like this?:
“By looking at (Whitworth) and by paying attention to him – actually paying attention to him – during this offseason, I got better at watching film and watching the guy’s every move,” Collins said. “That’s how I think off the field I improved.”
“I’m going to prepare like I’m the starter, period. Week 1, OTAs, Week 16, I’m going to prepare like I’m the starter.”