When the Bengals lost projected starting center Kyle Cook less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, one looked to be one of the most solid positions on the roster was now suddenly one in flux. It remained a position in flux for the Bengals going into Sunday as the team was rotating between free agent acquisition Jeff Faine and rookie UDFA Trevor Robinson.
Robinson played well this preseason and ascended to the backup center spot over Reggie Stephens, but was expected to be much of a player this year. That changed as the season progressed and Faine’s play regressed. Week 7 vs. the Steelers, Trevor Robinson received 25 snaps (50%), and Jeff Faine notched 26 (52%) of a possible 50 offensive snaps. The same ratio was true last week against the Broncos, as the two centers each received a 50/50 split.
With Faine suffering from a hamstring injury, Robinson was given full reign on Sunday, notching his first full start of his young but now promising career against a stout New York Giants defense that featured several Pro Bowl defensive linemen, and going into Sunday, the Giants were tied with the Chicago Bears for the third-most sacks in the NFL with 25. Led by DEs Jason Pierre-Paul (7), Osi Umenyiora (4), and Justin Tuck (3), as well as DT Linval Joseph (4), the Giants defensive line has mauled opposing QBs all season-long while the Bengals have allowed the 8th-most sacks in the NFL (22).
Despite all of this, Robinson exceeded all expectations as he helped navigate a Bengals offensive line that allowed just one quarterback hit on the day while not giving up a single sack. With today’s news that Cook is still rehabbing through a severe ankle injury and Head Coach Marvin Lewis isn’t sure when he will return, Robinson will likely get the call Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, and don’t expect to see a 50/50 split of snaps going forward, as the Bengals will want to try and build some continuity on their o-line while continuing to develop the rookie Robinson into what looks like a very promising player all of the sudden.