NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06: Colin Cochart #81 and Dennis Roland #74 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate after Cochart scored a touchdown during the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bengals won 24-17. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
When free agent guard Travelle Wharton was signed this offseason, most of us breathed a sigh of relief as it appeared that the team finally were going to have their guard positions upgraded and settled for the 2012 season. On the third offensive play by the Bengals against the Jets last Friday night, Wharton tore his ACL and has been proclaimed to be out for the season. He has two years left on his contract.
Since the injury, second-year man Clint Boling has been getting the reps as the starting left guard. One of the team leaders, Andrew Whitworth has given his seal of approval to Boling, but that's not stopping the team at looking at other players as backups at the position. On Sunday, backup tackle Anthony Collins was getting work with the second team offense. But, on Tuesday, it was Dennis Roland who was getting a look at the position with the second team.
At first blush, one would assume that Collins would be a more natural fit at the position than Roland, based on overall talent and body type alone. Guards tend to be a bit more stocky and wider in build than tackles, who are usually taller and a bit more lean. Roland stands at 6'9", which is almost unheard of for a guard in the NFL, but stranger things have happened. Roland has struggled in the passing game throughout his years in Cincinnati, but has fared decently in the running game. He usually is seen either in spot duty because of injury, or in power/goal line packages.
Though this could be nothing more than the coaching staff's way of saying "why not?", it doesn't necessarily show high confidence in Reggie Stephens, Otis Hudson, Matt Murphy or Trevor Robinson on their part.