CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 12: Kevin Zeitler #68 of the Cincinnati Bengals works out during a rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 12, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
As the Bengals open their minicamp on Tuesday, there will be a number of things to keep an eye on. Not only will it be exciting to see the club's new additions out on the field and working out, but it signals one of the first true starting points of the 2012 season. One of the main focuses will be on the ensuing position battles at various spots on the club.
One that doesn't seem up for grabs is that of center. The incumbent, Kyle Cook, signed a lucrative extension last season and has anchored the position since 2009. Still, that's not stopping the team from giving some other offensive linemen an opportunity at the position, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com
We have said it numerous times here on Cincy Jungle: if there's one thing that the Bengals staff seems to want out of their offensive linemen, it's versatility. According to Hobson, some of the young guards on the team will get looks at center as well:
"(Kevin) Zeitler figures to be the starter at right guard Tuesday, but he'll also get work at center in the upcoming month. One of the reasons they had him rated so high is because they believe he can play all three inside spots.
(Clint) Boling, a 2011 fourth-rounder, is a smart, athletic guy that figures to also get some snaps at center as well as right guard. He may also get some snaps at left guard, too, since they want their backups to play as many spots as possible."
Throw in the newly-acquired Reggie Stephens in the mix, and there's going to be a lot of players showing if they can be an effective snapper. Again, it appears that it's Cook's job to lose, but there have been subtle rumblings that he had a mediocre 2011 campaign--particularly in the run game.
Any way that you slice it, this really shouldn't be that surprising. The Bengals are notorious for moving players around and giving them looks at multiple spots. It's great to have guys that can play another position in an effective manner in a pinch, but at some point one has to wonder if it hinders a young player's development at their natural position.