OXNARD, Calif. -- As the team arrived in California for the opening of training camp, word filtered through our traveling party that Jeremy Mincey was not on the trip. Unlike several players that choose to make their own way to camp, Mincey was scheduled to travel with the team and the fact that he wasn't on the trip began to raise questions where he might be.
We later learned that Mincey had missed the flight due to his desire to redo his current contract.
Not knowing how long Mincey might be out, I wanted to take a look at the options that the club has in order to work without him in camp. Technically, he is the starter at right end with a rotation of Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory behind him. Without Mincey, they do lose the depth at the spot, but in the beauty of the scheme and the way that these coaches like to work their entire defensive line at different spots – they have quality players that have at least lined up at the position.
Ben Gardner, Lavar Edwards, Kenneth Boatright and Ryan Russell can all line up on the right side and work very well behind Hardy and Gregory. Where they will miss Mincey is inside when they play in their sub packages -- where he was paired with either Hardy or Gregory. The depth at that nickel tackle is not as great as it is on the outside in their base fronts. Terrell McClain and Jack Crawford are the best options at that nickel spot, or they could choose to continue to allow Nick Hayden to fill that role.
In talking to some coaches about Hayden, they love the player but would like to go with a more athletic player there -- and that is where Mincey was going to fit in.
In my personal observations of Jeremy Mincey from last season, other than Tyrone Crawford there was not a better defensive lineman down the stretch in the fourth quarter of games than him. He went toe-to-toe with some heavyweights and played some of his best football, but without him here, others will get to prove they could do the job just as well as him.