July 28, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running backs coach Hue Jackson (middle) talks with tight end Orson Charles (80) and running back Rex Burkhead (33) during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
As far as positional battles have gone this summer with the Cincinnati Bengals, none have been as intriguing to watch as the one between fullback John Conner and H-back/tight end Orson Charles. It’s not just a matter of a positional battle, but a philosophy battle as well. Do you go with Conner, a true FB who will enhance a running game that has been devoid of consistent play over the past three seasons?
Or do you go with Charles and opt to use an H-back, who can offer decent run-blocking, but operates more as an added receiving that out of the backfield in an offense that has lacked pass-catching options outside of A.J. Green?
Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com broke down the snap distribution of both players during Saturday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and by the sounds of it, he sees Charles having a very slight edge over Connor at this point:
"Tough one to call here if you’re going by the Saturday snaps. Conner got four and Charles two. But Charles nearly had twice as many snaps on special teams, 11-6. Yet on the first third-and-one, Conner rolled out and paved the way for BJGE’s six-yard run. But Charles also made hay as the lead blocker Saturday. Maybe the number of special teams snaps is a guide and maybe it’s not but it highlights Charles’s versatility. Conner is clearly a better lead blocker because he’s done it. But what Charles has going for him is he has been trained in two spots and he can do more damage in space. Yet in the end the Bengals could opt for that crushing fullback."