Offensive line coach Joe Bugel doesn’t expect a dropoff with whichever unproven player, Chad Rinehart or Will Montgomery, replaces injured veteran right guard Randy Thomas.
The decision will likely be made tomorrow.
“The two kids vying for that position have been battling their rear ends off,” Bugel said. “They’re both tough guys. Either one of those kids, we won’t lose a beat. They’re both good players”
Although Rinehart hasn’t played a snap in a regular season game, Bugel raved about his performance alongside the starters in the preseason opener against the ferocious Baltimore Ravens defense.
The longtime line coach also praised Montgomery’s play last Sunday against St. Louis after Thomas was hurt. Montgomery, who played at Centreville High and Virginia Tech, is with his third team in four years following stints with Carolina and the Jets.
Bugel said that both Rinehart and Montgomery will play — “flip a coin, heads, you, tails, you, that’s about it” — before backing off from that statement, saying that whoever doesn’t get the nod has to be ready to go in at a moment’s notice.
And Bugel said that he’s concerned that starting Montgomery could affect two positions since he’s the top backup to center Casey Rabach and left guard Derrick Dockery.
As for Rinehart, a third-round pick in the 2008 draft, Bugel said, “[Chad’s]’s a different person from last year. In the offseason, he built himself [up]. He went to the powerlifting. he came back bigger, stronger and he’s more confident.”
— David Elfin