Cincinnati Bengals: Surprising starters leading up to Week 1
By Alex Austin
As the Bengals prepare for their opening game against the Chargers, position battles have become more transparent and starters have been named.
The Cincinnati Bengals officially released the team depth chart for their first game of the 2020 season on Tuesday. While most of the starters went as expected, there were a few surprises that came from the battles in training camp. Since access to the team was limited this year, the depth chart is the first time many people were able to see who won these coveted spots.
One name that was a little surprising to see was an incumbent who beat out the newcomer. Many thought John Ross could fall behind Tee Higgins lining up opposite of A.J. Green, but the speedster is getting one last chance to stay healthy and prove he can make an impact on the game.
So far in Ross’ career, he has shown tantalizing speed and potential to go over the top of a defense but has never been able to fully utilize his abilities. Tee Higgins is sure to get snaps throughout the season, but as of week one, the starting role is John Ross’s spot to lose.
The other somewhat surprising move was Bobby Hart at the starting right tackle spot while Fred Johnson will be his primary backup. Hart had an up and down year a season ago while Johnson looked solid in limited playing time.
With the offensive line being the biggest question mark for the team leading up to the season, Zac Taylor needed to make sure the best players were put on the field. It seems that Hart was able to hold off Johnson throughout an entire camp and do just enough to earn a shot at protecting Joe Burrow.
The rest of the decisions come with little surprise. With the Bengals being able to keep the injury bug away (knock on wood) during camp, most players are slotting in where they were projected. Now, it is time to put the team together to give Burrow and Co. the best chance to win with just a few days left until play opens with the Los Angeles Chargers.