Originally posted by OnTheClock:
I have to respectfully disagree on that one. I think that's a little pessimistic view of looking at it and a sort of "not-to-lose" mentality. I think you'd want the best players on the field, and it'd seem silly just to keep Boone on the bench because you're afraid of what will happen if both he and one of our starting tackles gets hurt. This is football and injuries happen, but I don't think you should alter your line-up based on the minimal probability of a series of negative events. That's like kicking a field goal on 3rd down because you're afraid you might not make the 1st down and/or the touchdown on the play, so you'll just be safe.
Boone could get hurt in practice while still being on the bench and we could lose our swing tackle that way too. I think you play the best guy. I don't know if that's Boone, but whoever it is, I think deserves to start.
If we're that confident in our tackle depth (Staley, Davis, Boone, Person -- and then both Kilgore and Slowey with experience in a pinch of course), then I don't have a problem with them trying Boone at guard. At this point, I am led to believe they are 100% OK with the slight risk.
In the end, it won't matter unless he wins the job. If anyone else gets it, these points all become moot.
Yes, it is a "not-to-lose" mentality. But look at it this way. If you literally want to have your best possible players on the field at all times, you would probably have Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and perhaps a few other starters like Carlos Rogers (Bowman DID play special teams last year, but I'll address that later) playing special teams.
The reason you don't put star players on special teams is to protect them. So yes, I would say every team in the NFL "protects" players from injury by sacrificing optimum on-field productivity.
Bowman was used on special teams last year because he was a young player who had experience and excelled in special teams his rookie year; they didn't know he was going to be an All-Pro. That being said, they might keep him on special teams because losing one star middle linebacker when you have two, is not as devastating as losing one star CB, (Rogers) when you only have one. Although I think its most likely that one of the rookies will take over Bowman's special teams duties this year.
Here's the essential issue.
We only have ONE backup tackle, who we know can fill in nicely for a starting player. His name is Boone. Actually, the fact that Boone can even compete at guard brings up another point. You can find guards to fill in for injuries. In a worst case scenario, you can slide a tackle over to play guard. However, you cannot slide a guard over to play tackle, unless you are overflowing with tackles and your guard is extremely talented (young Larry Allen with the Cowboys). This is because tackles are far more precious commodities than guards, and they are extra-special commodities on this team. We don't have Michael Vick or Tony Romo running around back there. We have to protect the pocket or else our offense shuts down. The tackle position is important , but on this team, it is much more so.
Unless Boone is an All-Pro, dominant type of guard, I can't comprehend the value of putting him in there and risking him to injury. And yes, players are far more likely to get injured if they are playing in an NFL game every week. It just seems strange to me that we can't have these three guys complete: Kilgore, Looney, Slowey, to find an adequate solution at RG.
I mean heck, why not try out Staley at RG too? If he wins then we can play Boone at LT. Almost everyone would think THAT is crazy, yet many don't see anything wrong with doing the same thing with Boone (who might be only slightly less talented than Staley), because he is "only" a backup.
For every rep he practices at guard, he loses another rep practicing at the far more important position of tackle.
I just can't see it. I wanted to draft Boone; then when we picked him up as a UFA, I thought we got a steal. He turned is life around, and has looked great in the time he has filled in for Staley. The thought of him getting hurt in a game while playing guard when we have three (Kilgore, Looney, Slowey) guards we invested in as draft picks, throws me for a loop.
[ Edited by BrianGO on May 11, 2012 at 20:37:30 ]