Before the season even began Bengals guard Bobbie Williams was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. Now we are entering week five of the regular season. So where is Bobbie?
Well the return of Williams appears to be on the horizon. The Bengals tweeted that they were granted a one week exemption by the NFL that will allow Williams to participate in team related activities without it counting against the active 53-man roster.
After that week, the Bengals will have to decide who they will remove from the active roster to make room for Williams. Could it be one of the two players who have help his position in his absence -- Mike McGlynn or rookie Clint Boling?
Williams has been a mainstay for the Bengals for the last seven years of his 12-year career. He has been one of the more consistent forces on the offensive line along with Andrew Whitworth, but in his absence the Bengals had to take an alternative route. Instead of acquiring a veteran player the Bengals decided to go with a combination of rookie Clint Boling adding veteran Mike McGlynn later.
So far Boling has had his highs and lows. That comes with the territory for rookies who don't have much of an off-season to prepare. During his first start Boling didn't allow a sack and helped pave the way for Cedric Benson to rush for over 100 yards. Also something that we like to hear is that he didn't commit a single penalty against the Browns. However, during the third game of the season against the 49ers, Boling was pulled in favor of four-year veteran Mike McGlynn. Against the Bills McGlynn made the start at right guard instead of Boling. There have been moments where Boling looks like a ten-year veteran and there are other instances where he looks like a true rookie.
Both players have held their own so far. But Boling has had far more success at protecting the passer than he has at helping the running game. Williams' return will help solidify the front line. But it will remain to be seen who will be released to make way for Williams and what kind of rotation or how the Bengals are going to divide playing time between the three players if they're all still on the team this time next week and if they rotate at all.