With C Matt Birk (knee) sidelined for the majority of the preseason and the team unable to sign veteran Casey Rabach last week, it appears as though Bryan Mattison is the most likely candidate to start Thursday night. A veteran backup could still be added, but Mattison has taken the bulk of the work with the first team offense.
The other biggest question mark has been RT, where it appears rookie Jah Reid (Central Florida) will be given the first crack at nailing down the starting spot. Reid continued his first team work Saturday and the team remains high on him.
The other starters are givens-Michael Oher at LT, Ben Grubbs at LG and Marshal Yanda at RG. I wouldn’t expect to see that group get a ton of playing time, although Oher would be the most likely candidate to see extra time on field.
On the inside, undrafted centers Ryan Bartholomew (Syracuse) and Tim Barnes (Missouri) are both likely to see significant time Thursday night; as are undrafted guards Justin Boren (Ohio State) and Colin Madison (Temple).
On the outside, veteran tackles Oniel Cousins, Brady Bond and Andre Ramsey should see time behind Oher and Reid. 2nd year tackle Ramon Harewood (knee) remains on the PUP list, he may not be available to play by Thursday night.
If there was any question as to how the D-Line would line up Thursday night, it appears to have been cleared up.
DE Cory Redding, DT Terrence Cody and DT Haloti Ngata appear to be the unit that will get the first looks Thursday night. Behind them, second year man Arthur Jones and veteran Paul Kruger would likely be next to see action. Jones has lined up at DE during Camp, he could see time at both positions.
Veteran DT Brandon McKinney probably won’t see the field Thursday night, he has yet to be moved off the PUP list with a knee injury.
Rookie DE Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State) as well as veteran DT Lamar Divens are in the next group that should see extended time Thursday night.
Four undrafted DT’s should see time Thursday night as well, as Bryan Hall (Arkansas State), Derek Simmons (USC), Terron Sanders (Florida) and Cornell Banks (Fresno State) could use the second half to make their first NFL statement.