As roster spots become precious and the preseason-ending Thursday night game at home against the Colts approaches, Bengal fans don’t have long to wait to see who will be wearing stripes on opening day next weekend in Chicago. Years of experience, training camp and the preseason have given guys a chance to claim top spots on the depth charts but toward the bottom, often, the difference between a contract and a waiver is performance on special teams. To get an idea of who will still be around next week, we might see who excels on kicks and returns Thursday night when Bengal fans may see proof that everyone is not special.
Geoff Hobson, the Bengals.com editor, points us to a number of interesting roster squeezes that involve players we might expect to see on special teams. For example, Hobson points us to the three-way competition between Dane Sanzenbacher, Ryan Whalen or rookie Cobi Hamilton for the last two wide receiver spots. Currently, the offensive depth chart shows Sanzenbacher third on the strong side while Whalen is third on the weak side and Hamilton behind him.
Sanzenbacher leads the trio with 71 yards on three catches including a TD and a long catch of 36 yards. Hamilton has six catches but for just 50 yards and a one TD . Whalen has 37 yards on three catches with a long catch of 24 yards. On special teams, however, Sanzenbacher’s 71 yard touchdown return boosts his average to a team leading 30+ yards on three punt returns to go along with his single 53 yard kickoff return. Neither Whalen or Hamilton have had a return.