Clearly, the Bengals off-season has redefined position battles and respective depth charts. With training camp close, I think we should discuss position battle possibilities.
Anthony Wright vs. Doug Johnson
Who will be the backup quarterback (possibly the starter)? Anthony Wright's experience is the logical choice. Reports out of mini-camp suggested Doug Johnson had a great camp. Will Erik Meyer show enough to make the team? Edge: Wright
Kelly Washington vs. Antonio Chatman
Who will be the Bengals #3 wide receiver? The variable here is Chris Henry. Will he be suspended? Will be cut from the team? If Henry is gone, the Bengals will need a good #3 receiver to further compliment Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Kelly Washington has been, in my opinion, one of the most disappointing players on the team. This time, the ball is in his court. He can either make something of himself or not. But the opportunity will not get bigger than this for the Squirrel. Edge: Chatman
Eric Ghiaciuc vs. Ben Wilkerson
Rich Braham is the most over-looked offensive lineman on this stud of a line. But his age is getting up there and he's now working on the second year of a two-year contract. Sooner rather than later, the Bengals will need to think successor. With Eric Ghiaciuc and Ben Wilkerson, that battle is still up in the air. Wilkerson was one of the better college linemen until injury killed his NFL progression. The Bengals picked him up for cheap and hope for a great comeback. Edge: Ghiaciuc
Johnathon Joseph vs. Tory James
I like Tory James. It speaks measures when the Bengals can put two starting cornerbacks into the Pro-Bowl for two seasons. Not bad. James played well in 2005, but nothing like his 2004 form; partly due to age. In the first round of the '06 NFL draft, the Bengals picked up Johnathon Joseph. Is he mature enough to start? Consider this, since Marvin Lewis became head coach, every first pick has made a very small impact their rookie seasons. Carson Palmer? No snaps in 2004. Chris Perry? Injury. David Pollack? Slow to grasp the defense. All indications are that Joseph will be the successor for James, but not right away. Will he be mentored first or will he be put in if James has problems getting it done? Edge: James to start, Joseph to close.
OK, this is mostly due from Odell Thurman being an idiot. I've heard that he didn't fail the test, he just simply refused. But NFL policy states if you miss a test (or refuse in his case), then it's an automatic positive. Whether or not this is true, is irrelevant. First, he shouldn't have failed a widely known testing procedure. Secondly, if he did refuse, what did he think would come out of that?
So that brings up the question who'll replace him in the first four games. Will Brian Simmons jump back to the middle where he started his career? Or will Landon Johnson fill in like he did in 2004? Will Ahmad Brooks be given a chance to start?
Questions, questions, questions.
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