From: Las Vegas
55 straight starts. Allowed 14 total pressures on the season. If Cincy wants him to play G next year, it sounds like he'd leave:
Andrew Whitworth sees himself playing anywhere next season, as long as it is at left tackle.
After returning to left guard for a start Saturday night in Houston for the first time in three years, Andrew Whitworth hopes he gets the call back at left tackle in this Sunday’s regular-season finale (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) against the Ravens.
That’s his first choice for next year, too, as both he and the Bengals mull their next steps in free agency. At 35 and heading into his 12th NFL season, Whitworth still sees himself as the Bengals starting left tackle even as the Bengals try to find out about Cedric Ogbuehi, the No. 1 pick from 2015 who has struggled to get settled at both left and right tackle.
“My first choice is to play left tackle in 2017 somewhere,” Whitworth said Tuesday when the Bengals returned to work from the holiday. “Hopefully here. My No. 1 choice is here.”
And his No. 1 choice is the left tackle position Whitworth has anchored for the past eight years with steel-belted reliability. In that stretch the quarterback’s blindside, whether it be Carson Palmer or Andy Dalton, has been clean enough to secure three AFC North titles and six post-season berths, and he doesn’t see himself giving it up.
“To me it’s about putting the best people out there playing football,” Whitworth said. “I think I have a talent that’s rare at left tackle in pass protection. There are just not many guys out there that are good at that level.”
On Saturday night Whitworth worked next to Ogbuehi, but it sounds like he’d prefer tackle. Asked about the possibility of moving to left guard next year to help the transition Whitworth said, “It would depend on what the other offers were. That’s a diverse world. It depends on what you’re getting paid to do and that kind of deal.”
If guard is his only option to stay in the league, he’ll do it, but if you look at the rankings of profootballfocus.com’s left tackles since Whitworth moved from guard to tackle in 2009, you won’t convince him he should stop playing left tackle.
He’s currently ranked as the league’s second best pass protecting tackle. Ogbuehi is ranked seventh from last after starting 11 games at right tackle and one game at left.
In 2010 Whitworth became No. 1 overall after moving from No. 10 in 2009. In 2011 and 2012 he was ranked third and second, respectively, protecting the passer before falling to 24th in 2013 while hobbled with a knee injury. But in 2014 he came back to lead all tackles in overall play, where he’s currently ranked third.
“Guard is a whole other world,” Whitworth said. “It’s physical, banged up, a lot guys are bruised and battered. It’s a different style of football in there. It’s why you see a lot of guards who are big and heavy. Rhinoceros-built guys. That’s why you don’t see a lot of tall, rangy 6-7 guys in there.”
Whitworth isn’t happy with how he played inside against the Texans, since it was a short week and he only got one practice in.
“I didn’t do anything glaringly bad. I just kind of did my job,” Whitworth said. “Playing a team like they are you get so many crazy looks, it’s hard to get settled. You don’t have a normal down in there. They’ve morphed … They’re more like Rex (Ryan) back in the day. They’re all over the place. … With the communication and feel, that’s was a hard environment to play exceptionally well for sure. Hopefully I’ll be back at tackle.”