Positional battles? You want positional battles? It looks like we have one shaping up. And it’s not necessarily one we expected. Although, in retrospect, maybe we should have expected it. The ingredients were all there. When the starter is sort of mediocre and the guy behind him is more of a playmaker who just lacks consistency? That’s a recipe for a shake-up.
The nose tackle position is where the shake-up is happening. Letroy Guion has started there the last two years with Fred Evans as the primary backup. Guion frankly has never been that impressive a player. Evans has always shown flashes of playmaking ability but he’s also always been mistake-prone and sort of inconsistent overall.
Late last year though, Fred Evans really stepped it up. He had some big impact plays down the stretch. Despite Evans’ push, Guion retained his starting spot. But that may be about to change. In last week’s OTAs, Evans got more snaps with the ones. Leslie Frazier explained the move:
The coaches keep telling me that, hey, we need to give Fred a shot to compete for the No. 1 job. Based on (what Evans) did coming down the stretch — he played some lights-out football for us. He really stepped up. And we’ve been harping on that with him, his consistency, and he showed that late in the season. So, we’ll see. We’ll just see if he can continue to elevate his play, and if he does, he’ll be in line for more snaps with the first unit.
Evans’ biggest problem it seems to me is concentration. We know he has the motor and the physical talent but he doesn’t always keep his head in the game. Staying consistent from snap-to-snap and retaining your focus is so huge for linemen. Evans has always struggled with that. If he can improve in that area, I believe he can be a solid starter at the nose. Definitely better than Guion who to me is average at best. Guion frankly gets pushed around too much for my liking. Evans seems more physical and he definitely has more ability to penetrate. I would love to see Evans win the job outright and send Guion to the bench where he belongs.