My thoughts on this revolves around Geno Smith. I think he's going to be the starter from day one. Unless Sanchez is absolutely lights out in camp, or Smith is absolutely horrid in camp, then Geno will be the guy. You don't take a QB in the second round to sit on the bench. And you damn well don't do that with the QB crop that's coming out next year. You have to see what you have, and the more you see, the more you know. That said, you have to have a plan in place to bring him along at the proper pace. You have to be able to protect him with a running game.
We need an OL that can not only run the ball, but they have to be able to impose their will and run it whenever they damn well please. And with that as the central theme, I'm going to make the very unpopular recommendation that Vlad start at RG. I understand that very few people want Vlad even on the team, and that most of those few that would even entertain this notion, would want to stick Vlad in between Brick and Mangold to hide deficiencies in pass pro. But I don't want to hide Vlad's pass pro. I want to accentuate his abilities in the run game. I want to put him next Austin Howard and I want to unleash those two bulls side-by-side to trample everything in their path. Hey everybody, we're gonna run it right freakin here!! Come get some.
That means we'd be starting Colon at LG. Colon is also a plus run blocker, and will give us four out of five guys on our line that could give us some push in the running game. I also think that this makes sense because Colon has shown a proneness for injury. Basically, you can bank on him missing at least a few games. So you want to sub a guy that you sandwich between your two best lineman. Whether that's the kind of crappy Peterman, or the rookie Winters, I think it's best to put whoever that it is in between Brick and Mangold.
By having a strong running game we not only take the defense's primary focus off of Geno, but we also allow Geno to play to his strengths. What you want to do with a young QB (or any QB really) is get him some easy completions early in games. It boosts their confidence and gets them into a rhythm. Geno has shown he's pretty strong with short, quick, accurate passes and quick screens. These are the perfect throws for early downs, when defense are bracing for the bulls and Ivory coming at them down hill. So while they're loading up to stop the run on first down, you get Geno to hit off some quick hitters for 5 yard gains. Maybe even run a couple sweeps early in the game to get those corners peaking into the backfield and gearing up for run support. Then when they're not expecting it, boom, quick slant for six yards.
If it was my call, I'm going with the maulers. Protect Geno with an imposing run game. Give him a lot of early down throws. Stay away from 3rd & longs as much as possible; even straight up run the ball on some of those downs. And as Geno gets more comfortable, you expand the playbook accordingly. But always keep the running game at the forefront. Build around the Bulls.