The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Saturday that they have added former University of Cincinnati center Randy Martinez to the roster on a tryout basis for this weekends rookie mini-camp. Martinez, a former first-team All Big East selection in 2011, did not miss a game in 2010 and 2011, becoming an anchor to an offensive line that averaged 385 yards per game and ranked second in the Big East in rushing offense with 178.5 yards per game. Martinez also helped pave the way for back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons for RB Isaiah Pead for the first time in 25 years.
It has been argued by some (see here and here) that the Bengals have one of the top offensive lines in the entire NFL. While their offseason moves have certainly given them several upgrades, the offensive line is also very deep, well, except at center. The Bengals have a reliable center in Kyle Cook, but the only back-up on their roster (according to Ourlads) is Ben Bojicic, a UDFA from Bowling Green. Martinez has good credentials and can bring some competition to Bojicic for the back-up position if that's the direction they want to go.
From Marvin Lewis' news conference, he stated that rookie OG Kevin Zeitler is getting some reps at center during the rookie mini-camp and that it is something that they expected Zeitler would do all along.
It looked like
Kevin Zeitler got a little bit of work at center today. How did he look? Did he look comfortable?
ML: “I haven’t watched the tape. But obviously that was something we felt good about Kevin being able to do.”
Historically speaking the Bengals have usually relied on backup guards to work as backup centers, giving the team options and versatility. Now this is certainly not the first option that the Bengals would like to have if Cook were to be injured during the season, but it is as good an option as any considering the backup guards that could play center appear more consistent with the team's ideologies over the years. It is a definite possibility that the Bengals could have a very good offensive line in 2012, and if one notes the lack of depth at center as the biggest issue, then that is a a very good thing.