Jackson Carman has started two games in his young career while Xavier Su’a-Filo has been injured.
Carman got his first start against the Steelers, and the Cincinnati Bengals snapped Pittsburgh’s streak of 75 straight games with a sack. His second start was four days later against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
All of this was after Carman was third team on the Bengals’ initial depth chart. He was getting beaten out by Michael Jordan and D’Ante Smith.
Now, Carman has gotten a few starts under his belt, and he’s come a long way since training camp.
Former Bengals offensive lineman and current radio analyst Dave Lapham talked about Carman on a recent episode of his podcast In the Trenches.
“I think he has made significant strides since the early stages of training camp,” Lapham said on his podcast. “He’s lost 10-15 pounds. He’s in great football shape. He’s got talent. Jackson Carman has some physical skills. There’s no two ways about it. He’s plenty smart enough. The kid’s talented.”
Reviews of Carman have been mixed. Pro Football Focus was not kind to him, giving him a 28.0 grade between his two starts.
On the other hand, Carman has not given up a sack yet. He has two penalties, which is not great, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
“Frank Pollack was extremely tough on Jackson Carman. He didn’t care about accolades. He didn’t care about how good a high school or college player he was. He said, ‘I can get more out of this guy.’
“Instead of assuming the fetal position and saying ‘I don’t want to deal with this...why is he picking on me? Why is he singling me out? Why this, why that?’
“What Jackson Carman did is he stood up like a man. ‘I want to be coached, I need to be coached.’ I give him a lot of credit.”
Carman still has a long way to go, but when Su’a-Filo comes back, the rookie might be able to win the spot from him fair and square.