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O-line Backups In The Spotlight At OTAs

With Smith, Whitworth, Boling, and Robinson all still missing from the starting o-line lineup, backups like Anthony Collins and Tanner Hawkinson have been called upon to fill their place during the team's recent OTAs.

USA TODAY Sports

When the Bengals took to the field for their first round of OTAs last week, several veteran players were still rehabbing from injuries and the offensive line looked more like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle than the unit that anchored the offense in 2012. That trend continued again on Wednesday, as Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports that Andre Smith, Andrew Whitworth, Trevor Robinson, and Clint Boling are all still sidelined for the second round of on-field work.

In their place, a collection of backups and rookies have taken the field. Manning the tackle spots was the trio of Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland, and rookie Tanner Hawkinson, while new free agent pickup Mike Pollak filled in as the starting left guard. Other than the addition of Roland to the mix--who was also recovering last week from an ailment--it's essentially a re-run of last week's practices.

Fortunately, the offseason is still young and the missing players have more than enough time to rehab and return to the starting lineup. In the meantime, the Bengals' backups are all receiving valuable first team reps during what is essentially a learning exercise. Assuming the starters return to the field by training camp, there is nothing to worry about.