NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06: Jordan Babineaux #26 of the Tennessee Titans tackles Brandon Tate #19 of the Cincinnati Bengals during play at LP Field on November 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The battle for the open starting wide receiver position opposite A.J. Green is in its third week. Early on in the Bengals' OTA sessions, wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate was given the honor of lining up with the first team offense, giving the impression that he currently has the inside track on the job.
According to Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Tate was once again taking first team snaps on Monday, perpetuating the impression that he is beating out the other youngsters.
@ImRonBurgondy Tate still is lining up at 2
To be frank, it's surprising that the coaching staff has this much faith in Tate. For a player that didn't catch a pass in 2011 and only has 24 career catches, it seems like a risky proposition to hand him the keys to a starting gig. However, there are three unproven players that he's fighting off in Armon Binns, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu--despite the glowing reviews that they've received during the early portions of camp.
It's entirely possible that the Bengals are giving Tate the bulk of work to see if they think he's worth saving a roster spot for. Him lining up in a starting role could be nothing more than a big audition to see if he's going to have any other job with the club other than returning punts and kickoffs. It would seem that winning this battle is the only sure way that Tate makes the Bengals' 2012 roster.
Then again, Tate is the most seasoned wide receiver on the club, in terms of NFL seasons accrued. There have been murmurs that the team is looking at veteran receiving options, and maybe we're just overlooking that Tate is the guy that they're leaning on in that role.