Musical chairs with the offensive line
The Offensive Line is where Jags made his reputation. Yet last spring a scheme change, a staff change, and replacing a few TOB starters created more confusion than cohesion. Things should be different this spring as the team has a full season in this zone scheme, a full year working with Jack Bicknell Jr and more of Jags recruits moving into the Oline depth chart.
This year Jags had the luxury of keeping one side of his line intact. With Matt Tennant, Clif Ramsey and Anthony Castonzo returning, Jags had his C, RG, and RT. However, reading this Globe article, it looks like he is going to move people out of their respective comforts zones and into new positions. From what Jags outlined, only Tennant would remain in his 2007 position at Center.
Castonzo's potential move from the right side to the left is hardly surprising. The Left Tackle is the most important spot on the line. Castonzo is our most experienced tackle and potentially our most talented, so it makes sense.
Keeping Tennant in place at Center almost makes as much sense as moving Castonzo. Tennant played well last year. His ability to call out protection at the line will be important with a new QB behind him. Also, Tennant is too small to play the other tackle spot.
The welcome news is Jags projecting Rich Lapham as a starter at Right Tackle. The highly-touted New Hampshire product has been somewhat of a disappointment early in his career. His size and style were more suited to TOB's Gigantor philosophy of offensive line recruits. Slimmed down and more polished, perhaps Lapham is ready to fill his potential.
Jags hinted that the guard spots are wide open. Curiously neither he nor the Globe's writer mentioned Clif Ramsey. Last year's starting Right Guard struggled early in the season, but played well in the final four games. I assumed he would be a sure thing at Right Guard and even a potential candidate at Right Tackle. Despite the slight in the article, I predict Ramsey will be starting this fall.
That leaves one true opening -- the other guard. The likely names to fill this slot are Sheil, Richman or Spinney. Or Jags could convert one of the defensive linemen (Rossi?) or consider the recently converted (Claiborne?) for the open position.
This could all change. Just look at these pictures from last fall. Jags was juggling his starting line in August even as the season approached. Regardless of who is where, the line must play better if BC wants to win the division again.
Labels: Spring Practice