Each of the past two seasons, the Bengals broke training camp with four running backs on roster. Each included Rudi and Jeremi Johnson and Kenny Watson. Neither included Chris Perry. As for the fourth running back: in 2006, it was Quincy Wilson, in 2007, it was Clinton Dawson.
It would seem to us that running backs, provided the team breaks with four, would be easy to project save for unexpected injuries (or in Perry's case, unexpected health). The Bengals have nine running backs signed for 2008 -- three acquired as undrafted college free agents. We can bank on Rudi Johnson, Chris Perry and Kenny Watson. But what about the fourth?
Will the Bengals keep Jeremi Johnson? You're asking, why wouldn't they? While Reggie Kelly has lined up as the team's full back in the past, the Bengals are toying with the idea of lining up Daniel Coats there also. Perhaps as an understudy once Kelly's contract expires with Coats being a practice squad player in the meantime. They've also admitted to incorporating a spread-like offense (actually, just saying it will be more 3-4 WR formations). Those two things alone makes you wonder if they're plans does not include Jeremi Johnson. On the other hand, we're in the belief that Coats really has no shot at making the 53-man roster.
If the Bengals choose to cut Jeremi, then that would open a spot for fan-favorite, DeDe Dorsey. The Bengals would have a fullback in Kelly (thus opening the door for Ben Utecht full time at Tight End) and four running backs (if the past two seasons hold true). Granted, there's no rule that states that team's must have only four running backs -- though it would seem logical to avoid hurting depth at other spots.
I'm merely speculating here. But my surprise cut of 2008, at this juncture, would be Jeremi Johnson to make way for Dorsey. Just a thought...