What To Do At RG?

After the worrisome analysis of one tackle spot (which forced me to look at the other tackle spot as well, despite my attempts not to), it's time to turn our attention one click to the left.  Let's examine what's going on at RG.  Here are the current options on the roster:

  1.  Mike Brisiel
  2.  Kasey Studdard
  3.  Fred Weary
  4.  Dan Stevenson
  5.  Scott Jackson
Unlike some other positions, the Texans currently have minimal financial obligations at right guard for 2008.  The most pressing and interesting issue here is how the team handles Fred Weary's unrestricted free agency.  I think this would be a much, much tougher decision if Weary hadn't broken his leg in the second game against the minions of the Cloven Hoof.  Weary has been a Texan since the inception of the franchise, and on balance I'd say he's been a slightly above-average player.  Not great; occasionally good, typically mediocre, and very occasionally bad (no doubt that Weary's performance has been buoyed by the arrival of Eric Winston).  Now that he's set to take his first foray into free agency, Weary may well have visions of Steve Hutchinson, Eric Steinbach, and Derrick Dockery dancing in his head.  While concerns about his injury may damper the market on Weary, it's entirely possible that he commands a multi-year offer of a few million bucks a year.  If he hasn't already, Rick Smith will figure out what Weary's value on the open market is, and I'm predicting that he'll take a long look at the other options at RG, take a deep breath, and wish Fred Weary the best of luck.  As much as the Texans should be loathe to see a proven offensive lineman walk out of Reliant Park, I think it'll be the right move in this case.

That feeling is chiefly due to my optimism about a Brisiel/Studdard tandem taking over RG.  The coaches were fairly high on Studdard all year, but his inability to stay healthy kept him from getting on the field for any real amount of time.  On the other hand, Mike Brisiel played very well when his number was called after Weary went down.  Well enough, I'd say, that the team may well feel like it can gamble on Brisiel continuing to stake a claim and/or Kasey Studdard being able to get on the field (that is, if the staff doesn't think Studdard might be better utilized at center).

With all due respect to Dan Stevenson and Scott Jackson, I don't think they're long-term solutions in the rotation (though I'll admit that all bets are off until Alex Gibbs evaluates them).  As much faith as I have in Brisiel and/or Studdard holding the rope in 2008, I could see Smithiak targeting another guard in the fifth round or later come April.  But before then?  Nah...there are far more pressing needs elsewhere on the squad.

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