Generally speaking the Cincinnati Bengals divide 50 players between the offense and defense when they settle on the 53-man roster; figuring that three are dedicated to special teams (aka, Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris). Depending on how they want to balance the team, adding more help on offense with a sound defense, or vice versa, the team could take 26 offensive players against 24 defensive players. Or they can split it right down the middle.
That being said, as of this posting, there are 44 offensive players on the roster -- 24 of whom are either rookies, first-year or second-year players (16 alone are rookies). How young is this offense? Andrew Whitworth and Bobbie Williams are the only offensive players from the 2006 roster.
Let's take a quick position-by-position review on where we're at today with our offense.
Quarterback - There might be a slight change at quarterback from this time last year. Andy Dalton, who is performing well enough so far during Training Camp, wins the position and becomes the first starting rookie during the season opener since Greg Cook in 1969. Or he doesn't. Then Bruce Gradkowski steps in and allows Dalton to develop naturally. Competition will also be featured at the third quarterback spot in a mortal fight to the death between Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour.
Roster (4): Andy Dalton (R), Bruce Gradkowski, Dan LeFevour*, Jordan Palmer
Running Back - Most likely Cedric Benson resumes his role as the starting feature back, even though Marvin Lewis admits he'd like to give Bernard Scott more touches. That doesn't mean he'll get more carries; possibly more designed passing plays out of the backfield to get him in open space. Those are good high percentage passes for a rookie quarterback, giving a play-maker an opportunity to, you know, make a big play. Seventh-round rookie Jay Finley is also impressing the coaching staff early during training camp.
Roster (8): Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard, Cedric Peerman*, Jay Finley (R), John Griffin (R), Jonathan Williams (R), Steven Robinson (R)
Full Back - Jay Gruden's west coast offense may feature less fullbacks than Bob Bratkowski's, but if the Bengals take one, it'll come down to Fui Vakapuna and Chris Pressley. And historically between the two fullbacks, they've favored Vakapuna over Pressley.
Roster (3): Fui Vakapuna, Chris Pressley, James Develin*
Tight End - Barring an injury, Jermaine Gresham is the starting tight end. There's really no possible words needed for this position. We could add that Chase Coffman will possibly pick up more snaps in a role during double TE formations. Two points do remain. Unless Coffman falls flat on his face, he should be the second tight end on the roster. Will the Bengals take two or three tight ends? Stay tuned.
Roster (4): Jermaine Gresham*, Chase Coffman, Garrett Mills, Colin Cochart (R)
Wide receiver - Jerome Simpson and A.J. Green are expected to be the team's starters with Jordan Shipley in the slot. Andre Caldwell likely backs up everyone and plays the fourth receiver in four-wide formations. Strictly for their special teams work, Quan Cosby and Ryan Whalen figure to be favorites for the final two spots if the Bengals take six receivers into the regular season; though we imagine Bart Johnson, Jamere Holland, Landon Cox and Andrew Hawkins will be given every opportunity to secure a spot with the team.
Roster (10): A.J. Green (R), Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley*, Andre Caldwell, Quan Cosby, Ryan Whalen (R), Bart Johnson (R), Jamere Holland (R), Landon Cox (R), Andrew Hawkins (R)
Offensive Tackle - Provided Andre Smith gets back to practice relatively soon, he and Andrew Whitworth are expected to start the season at tackle. Anthony Collins and Dennis Roland will likely backup both players.
Roster (6): Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland, Andrew Gardner*, Matthew O'Donnell (R)
Offensive Guard - Bobbie Williams will start at right guard and based on the team's love-affair with left guard Nate Livings, it's very plausible that it's his job to lose. Clint Boling figures to be the first backup with guys like Otis Hudson, Marker Wetterer and Chris Riley vying for a job. It wouldn't be surprising if a tackle like Matthew O'Donnell were given snaps at guard.
Roster (6): Bobbie Williams, Nate Livings, Clint Boling (R), Otis Hudson*, Mark Wetterer (R), Chris Riley (R)
Center - Word circulated Monday night that the Bengals might be interested in Redskins center Casey Rabach, most likely as a backup solution to Kyle Cook. However Tuesday afternoon, the Baltimore Ravens signed him as an insurance policy based on concerns surrounding Matt Birk's knee. That leaves second-year player Reggie Stephens as the team's backup center.
Roster (3): Kyle Cook, Reggie Stephens*, Ryan McKnight (R)