Better Thoughts on the Offensive Line


Sometimes I am wrong. It probably happens a lot and only sometimes I am aware of it. My friend used to say “I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong”. This time I know I am wrong.

The offensive line has been a mystery to me and I am struggling to make sense of it. For example, why was Vince Manuwai put on the left side last year and Uche Nwaneri on the right? Uche is a decent pass blocker but not a run blocker. The right side is the running side. Vince Manuwai is a run blocker, the left side is your pass blocking side. Why is he over there? I don’t know.

We know the offensive line has to improve. It was the worst QB protecting line in football last year. I was wrong when I questioned Jack Del Rio calling out Vince Manuwai. Jack should call him out if he showed up out of shape or not ready to raise his game. But why stop there? All of them need called out. All of them need to step up or move aside. What I don’t understand is why Jack picks one out for public consumption and gives a pass to others.

I was wrong that Justin Smiley might only be bench strength. He did reduce his salary from $5 million all the way down to $3 million.  His current salary, the new lower one, still puts him in the top 10 on the team. Top ten salary guys take the field and don’t come out until the job is finished. To borrow a bit of Joe Cullen, “You were brought here to block Justin, now get on with it”.  As far as I know, Justin Smiley didn’t have any work done on his shoulder in the off-season. Unless there is something I don’t know, he should be penciled in as an intended starter.

That brings me to another point, are they going to leave Uche Nwaneri on the right side? If Justin Smiley is a pass blocking guy, and he is, he belongs on the left side with Eugene Monroe. If Brad Meester earns his center spot back, that leaves Uche Nwaneri, Vince Manuwai and Kynan Forney looking to fill the right spot. Uche Nwaneri has never been a good run blocker. Vince Manuwai is and Kynan Forney is. So why doesn’t that leave Uche Nwaneri the guy who has the biggest issue with job security?

What is going on with the offensive line? Are we going to suffer through another year of “experimentation”? Are we going to flip the positions and the lineup every week? I think you put the right guy in the right spot early on and let these guys form into one unit.

Jack, you can call people out all you want, but quit tinkering around and lock in on something. I think Wayne Weaver asked for that as well.

The comments on the last article were, for the most part, excellent and showed what a discussion should be all about. Help me out here and let’s figure this offensive line thing out together. Speak up please.

– Terry O’Brien