Our offensive line has stabalized a little in the last few weeks, not surprisingly due to better play-calling, quicker passes, and lesser opponents. I could talk about how the Giants will change all that (and they might) but with the meat of our schedule coming up, I'd like to point out how thin we are at OL. In camp, we had our starting 5, plus Starks, Stapleton, Essex, Mahan, and Hills. That's decent depth. Well, we traded Mahan, lost Simmons for the season, and Smith's status for the forseeable future is uncertain. If Smith pulled a hammy and would be out 2-4 weeks, we'd be fine long term. These back issues can spiral out of control, though, so it's possible what we have now is all we'll have for the season. Starks will be okay (assuming Zierlein doesn't take out a knee or poison him) and Stapleton won't be terrible, but we now have one marginal backup (Essex) and some practice squad players who will probably have to take the field at some point.
I'm not going to complain about Essex as a cheap backup, but he's definitely nothing more than that. He can play both tackle and guard, but he's not going to contribute anything guard, and he's not very good at tackle. Hills was a flier-type draft pick this year, and so far it's been ugly. I don't know if he's progressed at all, but I'd rather not find out. Parquet might be a better option than Hills at this point. I don't think we're going to confuse him with someone with upside, but he's been around for a couple years and he has a bigger frame than either Colon or Essex.
We don't have a real backup guard or center, and that's a concern. If Hartwig got injured, we'd have to shuffle everyone around, which isn't going to be pretty. If Kemo got injured, our line suddenly looks very weak. Since we have the roster space, I'd like to see us take a long look around the NFL for potential contributers at guard or center on teams' practice squads. If nothing else, maybe it's time to promote Doug Legursky.
Does anyone have any other thoughts about the backups? Any notes from the preseason or anything?