Quinton Spain being signed by the Cincinnati Bengals last week came as no surprise. What was surprising was that he not only played in Sunday’s game, but that he nearly played the entire game.
The plan for Spain was that he would be active and dressed as the team’s eighth offensive lineman as an emergency backup. That plan changed when Michael Jordan was declared out with an illness.
From that moment, Spain was going into the game no matter what, at least that’s what offensive coordinator Brian Callahan told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.
Callahan revealed that Spain would be rotated into the game for starter Shaq Calhoun for the beginning of the day, but the team felt comfortable with Spain after just his first drive on the field.
“We were planning rotating them at least the first two or three series, just to see where they were at and who was going to give us the best chance,” Callahan said. “When Quinton went in there, he kind of settled in and we felt like, going forward for the rest of the game, he gave us the best chance to be successful. And it wasn’t anything that Calhoun did. We planned on rotating them.
“Everything just kind of felt right, so we just kind of rolled with it,” Callahan continued. “That’s really ultimately how it ended up and he played 60-something plays in that game after getting in the building on Friday. Pretty impressive effort on his part.”
Impressive indeed. Spain hadn’t played since Week 4 of this season and practiced with his new team just once before donning the No. 67 jersey and looking like he belonged out on the field.
What made his performance even more commendable was that he was playing in-between two backups in left tackle Hakeem Adeniji and center Billy Price. According to Spain, Price was instrumental in keeping Spain prepared before every snap.
“He helped me a lot,” Spain said of Price. “He made sure I was going in the right direction and as the game was going on I knew exactly what I had to do once I heard the plays. Most NFL teams run zone gap. It’s all the same. If you know how to do that, it’s just different words. That’s all it is.”
Differences in verbiage didn’t stop Spain from giving the Bengals a steady player at the left guard position. Spain is now playing on a one-year contract with a chance to earn another one in the offseason. If he has more games like this one, he won’t have a hard time proving his worth.
“I absolutely had something to prove,” Spain said. “That I can still play in the NFL.”