The Bengals’ offensive line is a work in progress with two positions undergoing battles for the starting roles.
At right tackle it’s Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher and Bobby Hart who are said to be competing for the right to start. At right guard it’s Trey Hopkins, Alex Redmond and Christian Westerman (currently recovering from food poisoning) battling it out.
Two other positions have new starters as Cordy Glenn came over from the Bills in a trade this offseason. He’s preparing to start at left tackle. And at center it’s first round pick Billy Price who’s gearing up to take on the starting role.
The only team veteran who’s certain to retain his role from last year is left guard Clint Boling. That puts Boling — a college teammate of Glenn’s — in an interesting situation.
“I think we’re still learning. We’re getting on guys quickly,” Boling said via Bengals.com. “As we develop the new techniques, we’ll continue to grow. Still trying to get better and we’re still trying to find out who is going to play for us.”
Price is undergoing some growing pains as he adjusts from playing with a college offense to an NFL offense. On Thursday he had a few issues snapping the ball and on Friday he improved but still had one bad snap. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack isn’t here for that.
“Unacceptable. One is too many,” Pollack said of Price’s issues snapping the ball. “He understands that. I like his approach. That’s why we drafted him. He came out here today and made an improvement.”
It seems the competition for the two open spots will continue as long as it needs to with no timeline in place for starters to be named on the right side of the line.
“Everyone is fighting for a job and competing,” Pollack said, via Local 12. “I’m giving everyone an opportunity so we’re moving around and we’ve got to find out who’s the best at each spot. A lot of guys moving around and getting opportunities to show where they can play. A guy has to play two spots. It’s either a tackle has to play guard or a guard has to play center or a center has to play guard. You’ve got to cross train everybody so when we get thin in practice or a game you’ve got to have answers.”
Going along with that statement, Ogbuehi has worked at both right guard and right tackle early on in camp. He took reps with the first team offense on the first day of camp at right tackle and worked with the second team offense at right guard. On the second day of camp he started the day working with the second team offense at right tackle. On Friday, it was Hart who started the day with the first team offense at right tackle. At right guard, Hopkins started out the first day with the first team and Redmond started out the second day with the first team. Everyone is getting a shot to show off what they can do. That’ll be far more interesting to see when the pads come on, which happens on Saturday.
But, Pollack says it’s not up to him who wins the starting jobs; it’s up to the players to go out and prove they deserve the roles up for grabs.
“It takes care of itself,” Pollack said. “These guys decide who plays, I don’t. These guys and their play decide that. It takes as long as it takes.”