Thursday, July 12, 2012
Position Analysis: Offensive Line
Matt Kalil will be a centerpiece of this offensive line for years to come. He is physically built and is very athletic. We won't have any defensive lineman blowing through the left tackle position this season. I feel Christian Ponder could be a big threat if he is given time to throw. Last season Ponder was on his back every other play and I believe through this addition alone, that will not be happening.
Charlie Johnson will be moving to left guard after playing left tackle last season. I honestly believe that Johnson has a better skill set to play guard. He is big but isn't an agile player to be a left tackle. Many people wanted to dump Johnson after his performance last season. Yes, his performance wasn't the best, but he is an average offensive lineman in this league. I hope that Charlie can bounce back and be an improvement for the Vikings.
John Sullivan has always been a concern of mine at the center position. I know he has done a decent job, but he is quite under sized and I feel like he gets pushed around up the middle. We have had too much penetration up the middle and that led to Ponder getting plastered all day. Overall, I feel like Sullivan is a great leader on the offensive line and is a slightly above average option at center.
Right Guard will be a position battle between Brandon Fusco and Geoff Schwartz and I feel Fusco likely wins this battle. He is young and has great size as a right guard. I feel if Schwartz has a nice camp he could snatch up the starting job. The only thing with him is that he has had injury issues when he was with the Carolina Panthers.The one thing that concerns me about Fusco is that he has a terrible temper. Everytime he came in the game last year he got at least one unnecessary roughness penalty for shoving someone over. That could cost a game sometime down the road.
This season Phil Loadholt needs to step up his game majorly. He hasn't had any real outstanding season since he was drafted. He is in a contract year and will need to show the coaches he is the "real deal." Phil had a rough season last season and will have to improve his pass blocking to stick around. That was always a concern when he was drafted out of Oklahoma. He was a great run blocker in college, but struggled in pass protection. That needs to get fixed immediately. We don't need Christian on his back all day. If Ponder has time, he can make things happen inside and outside of the pocket.
Overall, this position will be much improved this season. I can't wait to see the type of offensive lineman Matt Kalil will be in this league. I feel he will become one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL within a few seasons.
Thanks for reading!