Oct 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andre Smith (71) blocks Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals O-Line put to the Test; Whitworth gets the nod at Guard

The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL in 2013, despite having injuries to several key players at different point this year. It all started in training camp, when Andrew Whitworth suffered a setback to his knee rehab from offseason surgery. He ended up missing the first week, but returned on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Another knee injury sidelined Whit for the team’s Thursday Night football game against the Miami Dolphins, and an ankle injury has kept starting right guard Kevin Zeitler out of the lineup for two straight-weeks, but hasn’t practiced fully since November 5th.

Now, an ACL tear will knock starting left guard Clint Boling out for the year, but they’ve already found a way to replace by moving Whitworth into his spot, and Marvin Lewis said Friday that Whit will start their Sunday against the Colts.

Oct 13, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bengals beat the Bills 27 to 24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

 

Against the Chargers on Sunday, Whitworth moved from left tackle to left guard, while backup Anthony Collins took his spot at LT. The fact that Whitworth spent two years as the starting left guard for the Bengals means he’s more than capable of taking over that spot, and playing there again actually got him excited:

“You hate to see a guy go down but I get fired up to play inside,” Whitworth said. “AC is a more than capable left tackle and he is able to step in. I love to be a tone-setter inside.

Physical strength and explosion, I have a lot of power. Hand strength and those kinds of things, when you move inside and are also very athletic, you can tee off on people with athleticism and power. I’ve always felt comfortable in there and it’s always where I felt more natural. Hopefully I get an opportunity to play some more.”

This Bengals team keeps finding ways to replace key players and not allow the overall play of the team to drop-off, and the offensive line has been the biggest example of that.

 

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