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Jackson Carman flounders vs. Packers; should end RT competition with Jonah Williams

We have probably seen all we need to see out of this competition.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It appears we may be nearing the end of one of the worst missteps the Cincinnati Bengals have made in the Joe Burrow era.

Offensive lineman Jackson Carman started Friday night at right tackle against the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, Jonah Williams — his competition at right tackle — was given the night off with four of the presumed starting offensive linemen.

That, on its own, didn’t speak well for how the competition is going for Carman. What is worse is he did not have a good game during his reps. It wasn’t like he completely blew it during his initial snaps with the second team. He got beat a few times, and it was fairly obvious he still has issues defending speedy pass rushers.

The real trouble came when Cincinnati put Carman back in the game at right tackle during the fourth quarter. He constantly got beat every which way in pass protection. Maybe he didn’t expect to go back into the game, but it hardly excuses getting beat that consistently by players who are supposed to be backups.

What is a bit unfair for Carman is he is viewed with a more critical eye being a second-round selection from 2021. Even at the time of the pick, many viewed the selection as a serious reach.

Since coming in, he really hasn’t shown the ability to be relied on as a starting offensive lineman. He had a great game at left tackle in the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the Buffalo Bills, but that game was played in heavy snow. That neutralized pass rushers relied on using their speed to set up their pass-rushing moves and generally had everyone playing slower.

At this point, it seems like Carman is closer to playing for his spot on the roster rather than a starting role. Many have pointed out right tackle La’el Collins (currently on the physically unable to perform list) as a possible cut candidate due to saving a good chunk of cap space.

However, the team may be better off keeping the veteran right tackle as a backup. You just can’t feel good about being an injury away from Carman being this team’s starting right tackle, especially when you consider how the Bengals’ past two seasons have ended with completely patch-worked offensive lines.

It is just one preseason game, but Carman has dug himself quite a hole. You have to figure that as he enters his third NFL season that this is essentially the player he will be. You can’t count on him taking any big leaps, but stranger things have happened.

If he doesn’t do better these next two outings, his draft status may be the only reason he makes this team.