When the Bengals took the field today to prepare for their first regular-season game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Bobbie Williams, the team's starting right guard and one of the team's leaders, wasn't there. He started serving his four-game suspension for violating the league's performance enhancement substance policy. The team has made no official statement as to who will be starting at right guard in Williams' place for the first four games of the season, but it's largely assumed that rookie Clint Boling will get the nod.
He's not certain if he's going to get the starting job, but he's excited about the opportunity to compete for it.
"I feel comfortable with the assignments and the playbook. I just need to have a great week of practice, fix the little things and get ready for Sunday," Boling said. "Going into camp my ultimate goal was to play and start and now I'm being presented with the opportunity to go out there and compete."
Offensive line coach Paul Alexander wouldn't answer when he was asked if Boling would get to start, saying that was up to head coach Marvin Lewis, but it seems that Boling is his favorite for the job. Alexander said, "Boling is going to be real good. He's real smart. He got a lot of practice with the ones because we knew this was on the horizon."
The team's left tackle and leader Andrew Whitworth didn't say who he thought would start at the right guard position on Sunday. He just hopes that whoever does start has learned a lot from Bobbie Williams and adopts his attitude and work ethic on and off the field.
"Hopefully going into this game it won't affect us where guys will still play with the style and attitude he played with and was a leader in helping guys do," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. "Hopefully it shows what a leader his in in that guys who fill in for him will play with that same style and same attitude."
The only other options to the team other than starting Boling would be Otis Hudson, who is recovering from a knee injury and Mike McGlynn who was signed on Sunday and is just starting to learn the playbook.