With the first release of the team's 2011 depth chart -- which we advise is a a completely fluid thing -- the Cincinnati Bengals have largely done what we expected them to. Quarterback Andy Dalton is teamed with A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson in the starting lineup with running back roster that goes Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard respectively.
And much like their offensive counterparts, the defense offers no surprises.
Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson will flank middle linebacker Rey Maualuga at weakside and strongside linebacker respectively. Leon Hall and Nate Clements will start at cornerback, which is arguably the team's weakest position right now, with Morgan Trent expected to be the team's nickel corner while Adam Jones and Brandon Ghee recover from injuries. Chris Crocker and Reggie Nelson, long ago suspected as the team's starting safeties, are on the first squad with Jeromy Miles and Tom Nelson as their backups.
Robert Geathers and Michael Johnson will start at defensive end with Carlos Dunlap and Frostee Rucker on the second squad respectively. Pat Sims is dealing with an injury right now that promoted Jason Shirley to backup nose tackle while Geno Atkins stands behind Tank Johnson at defensive tackle.
The first release of the depth chart really only serves two things; an idea how some players are perceived by the coaching staff during training camp and as a discussion tool amongst fans. Don't expect this to be all that solid. Injuries are largely impacted the depth chart, and we suspect that the rookies that are listed far down the chart could make a run before the end of the preseason.