Kyle Cook takes the lead in position battle at center

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

One of the team's few training camp battles for a starting job is developing some definition.

The beauty of Cincinnati's roster this year is the limited number of position battles needed to complete the starting lineup. General consensus is that the strong safety spot remains a three-way tie between Taylor Mays, George Iloka, and rookie Shawn Williams.

The other?

Starting center.

But let's face facts. At this point, center is a competition by name only. True. Trevor Robinson played well last year. Kyle Cook, still having not fully recovered from a high-ankle sprain suffered during the preseason last year, was the victim of some blame for Cincinnati's declining offense (even though Cook played against far superior defenses compared to Robinson).

Then Robinson sat during the team's offseason training program, which not only stalled his development and argument for the job, but slowed the start of his training camp. In the meantime, Cook has been taking most of the first-team snaps since spring practices.

"Kyle knows this offense like the back of his hand," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden told Jay Morrison with the Dayton Daily News. "He’s got that going for him. In order to beat Kyle Cook out, you better be really, really good. Trevor’s coming back from his pectoral injury and he’s a little bit rusty. He’s got to get back into the flow."

Not only does Gruden hint that Robinson isn't making a convincing argument to replace Cook, but it appears that the offensive coordinator is setting Robinson up as the team's interior backup lineman.

"We have a great luxury of two guys who can play," Gruden said. "And Trevor can play a little bit of guard, which helps. I don’t think we can wrong either way, but with the knowledge Kyle has of the offense, right now at this stage he’s doing very well."

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