QB (2): Andy Dalton, Josh Johnson
Skelton was the first quarterback off the bench against the Titans and strung together a 53-yard drive that resulted in a Mike Nugent field goal. His other possessions didn't move the football much. When Johnson was the quarterback, the team scored 10 points, including a 92-yard drive in the fourth quarter that gave Cincinnati a 24-12 lead. Nothing has changed here. Still projecting Johnson as the backup quarterback.
RB (4): BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Giovani Bernard, Cedric Peerman, Rex Burkhead
Dan Herron is currently leading the team with 111 yards rushing and a 6.5 yard/rush average. Yet Rex Burkhead is second with 83 yards rushing and a 5.5 yard/rush average. Additionally, during each of the two preseason games, Burkhead has averaged more than five yards rushing. It's close between Burkhead and Herron right now. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Giovani Bernard, and Cedric Peerman are safe.
FB (2): John Conner, Orson Charles
TE (2): Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert
Nothing stood out during the team's win over the Titans on Sunday. Charles was primarily a blocker and John Conner was limited to ten snaps -- we suspect feeling the affects of his foot injury from last week.
However, we've cleared out Chris Pressley and added Conner to the projected 53-man roster. Unless he returns soon, we're figuring that that Pressley will open the season in Chicago on the team's Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list.
WR (6): A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Andrew Hawkins, Cobi Hamilton, Brandon Tate
Andrew Hawkins may or may not go on IR with a designation to return, but that remains to be seen. We'll assume at this point he's on the 53-man roster in Chicago. Dane Sanzenbacher's playing time was reduced against the Titans while Cobi Hamilton and Brandon Tate had good games to solidify their respective arguments on the 53-man roster. We're not changing anything here right now.
If the Bengals go with a seventh receiver, or if Hawkins goes on IR, then figure that final spot will be between Ryan Whalen and Dane Sanzenbacher.
OT (4): Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland
With Tanner Hawkinson and Reid Fragel out against the Titans, the Bengals actually moved Clint Boling to left tackle for a handful of snaps early in the game.
OG (3): Kevin Zeitler, Clint Boling, Tanner Hawkinson
We're not sure about Hawkinson right now, who is recovering from an ankle injury against the Falcons. If Andrew Hawkins goes on IR with a designation to return, the choices with Hawkinson is limited to keeping him on the 53-man roster (even if he's still rehabilitating) or Injured Reserve (without the designation because that can only be used on one player). He might be able to slip on the practice squad if a team doesn't want to risk a waiver claim for an injury, but we're not sure if the Bengals will risk it.
Center (2): Kyle Cook, Trevor Robinson
Robinson took snaps under center and at guard again while T.J. Johnson played center when Robinson was bouncing around. We're comfortable with Robinson and Cook at this point, but could see Johnson on the practice squad as a contingency if there's an injury on the interior offensive line which would require spot starts from Robinson at guard.
DE (5): Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Wallace Gilberry, Robert Geathers, Margus Hunt
We're pretty comfortable declaring this as the team's defensive end roster when the team opens in Chicago next month.
DT (4): Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson
Thompson remains out and Terrence Stephens is actually showing me something. Though he only had a tackle, he did knock down Ryan Fitzpatrick for a quarterback hit (not a sack).
LB (6): Rey Maualuga, Vontaze Burfict, James Harrison, Vinnie Rey, Emmanuel Lamur, Sean Porter
Linebacker projections completely depends on how quickly Vinnie Rey and Sean Porter return to the field. Rey actually practiced last week while Porter suffered a late-week shoulder injury, which may or may not be serious. J.K. Schaffer didn't have the type of performance against the Titans that he did in Atlanta with only two tackles. Jayson DiManche and Bruce Taylor each finished second on the team with five tackles each.
I'm starting to side with DiManche making the roster over Schaffer but there's plenty of time for that battle to figure itself out.
CB (5): Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones, Brandon Ghee, Dre Kirkpatrick
S (5): Reggie Nelson, George Iloka, Taylor Mays, Shawn Williams, Jeromy Miles
Though anything could change with the final two spots on the defensive backs roster, we're not seeing players like Tony Dye, Chris Lewis-Harris, or even Onterio McCalebb making an argument to replace anyone. That certainty wasn't the case Saturday night.
Special teams (3): Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris
Save for an injury or another unthinkable scenario, this won't change.