Cincinnati Bengals Players Facing Make-or-Break Training Camps
Training camp in the NFL is seemingly one of the most underappreciated times of the football season.
We all like to look at the camps as writers and analyze every detail, but a lot of people don't seem to realize that playoff teams are built over the summer.
Cincinnati will have quite an interesting camp. While plenty of positions aren't necessarily up for grabs, potential roster spots are available.
Given their crowded roster, what Bengals are under the gun heading into training camp? Let's take a look.
Alex Smith and Richard Quinn
With the Bengals having drafted Tyler Eifert, it seemed that both Richard Quinn and Alex Smith could be out of the mix.
However, Orson Charles is making a transition to fullback, so there is a competition open between Smith and Quinn to be the third tight end on the roster behind Eifert and Jermaine Gresham. If you look at the stats, Smith has to be the heavy favorite.
Since Smith's debut in 2005, he has accumulated over 1,400 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. They aren't Pro Bowl stats or even decent stats for how long he's been playing, but Smith does have experience.
Quinn, meanwhile, has been in the league since 2009 and has exactly one catch to his credit.
The No.3 tight end spot may not be a glamorous one, but you can bet both guys will be bringing their best to training camp just to be on the sidelines.
Coming out of Nevada in 2011, Dontay Moch was one of the quickest linebackers of his class, if not the fastest.
Cincinnati took the flyer on him, but that project has not gone according to plan.
After problems with injuries, migraines and a suspension, it seems that Moch is finally ready for a full season in black and orange. If he hopes to see the field, however, it won't be as a linebacker.
Moch has been moved to defensive end, a position where some of Cincinnati's finest play. He is going to be battling for a spot on the team given that both Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson are shoe-ins as starters, and it's a strong likelihood that Robert Geathers and the gargantuan Margus Hunt are backups.
There's no doubt that Moch can be a massive playmaker, but up to now, he hasn't shown it. If he works hard at camp, we could be seeing it in 2013.
Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead
At this point, I'm not considering Bernard Scott a part of the conversation.
He's still dealing with injuries, so it's hard to say if he'll even bring anything to training camp.
Regardless, both Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead will be fighting for a spot on the roster in training camp. I think it'd be good for the team to have both players, but I do not know if the Bengals can afford a spot for a fourth running back.
Peerman is a veteran who showed a lot of power and decent speed in limited playing time last season. He was finally given legitimate time to show something and he did. It will be hard to leave out a player like Peerman, who proved he at least needs another look.
Burkhead, meanwhile, was the Bengals' sixth-round pick in April and there's a lot of potential there. He's a smart runner who runs hard and had an outstanding career at Nebraska where he averaged 6.8 yards per carry as a senior.
Either of these men will add a good third-down option to what should be an already-stacked running back corps with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard. A third dimension will be key for the Bengals in order to throw opposing defenses for a loop.
It seems like Emmanuel Lamur hasn't earned the respect he deserves just yet.
As of July 17, he is still listed as the Bengals' fourth weakside linebacker behind the likes of Vincent Rey and Sean Porter.
Lamur had limited playing time in 2012, appearing in only nine games, but he made a big splash in last year's training camp, hence the reason the undrafted free agent is still around this year. He received a lot of coaches' attention after showing he could actually defend, unlike Rey Maualuga.
I would love to see Lamur get some time as a starter once Vontaze Burfict is inevitably moved to middle linebacker. For now, it doesn't seem like he has garnered enough attention to be skating by, so hopefully, he brings it to training camp for another year.
Brandon Tate has really failed to pan out as a Cincinnati Bengal thus far.
He had glimpses of his talent in New England, but Cincinnati really hasn't had a reason to trust him yet.
He was in the chase for the No.2 receiver job in 2012, but wound up as a major disappointment as a receiver, essentially being a non-factor. Additionally, quite a few Bengal fans start sweating every time he takes a return—particularly when he decides to take it from seven yards deep in the end zone.
The Bengals' receiving corps is now stacked and Tate is going to see special teams competition from Adam Jones and Giovani Bernard, who are both better options in my opinion.
Tate needs to prove he's something beyond normal this training camp or else he may be on the outside looking in once again.