The 2010 Bengals campaign is not just about the fourth most difficult schedule in the league but about who will be there to fight for Cincinnati.
Strategy is all about position. Who wins and who loses is not only week-to-week but also practice-to-practice, position-by-position.
As Bengaldom prepares to enter training camp, the following five positions will determine the success and hunger of a team needing to reach the next level by meeting—and beating—whomever and whatever stands in the way...
Long snapper operates under relative anonimity—like kickers. Being seen and not heard means success at this position. So why are we listing this under the radar position? Remember what happened with Brad St. Louis at the beginning of last season?
Mike "The Unknown Rookie" Windt faces Clark Harris for the right for a single spot on the squad. Give this one to Mr. Harris considering he can also serve as a backup for the tight ends.
In a battle between 10 to end up with six, the Bengals will have a fierce fight for the remaining linebacker positions.
Locks at this position (without looking at specialty within the position) are Rey Maualuga, Dhani Jones, and Keith Rivers.
The likely remaining three will be Michael Johnson, Rashad Jeanty, and Brandon Johnson.
Filling in at Guard correctly can mean the difference between a well run play or getting pounded into the turf behind the line.
The Bengals commonly carried three guards on the active roster in 2009. Expect no different as exactly half of the players on the present roster will not be there by week one.
Jason Shirley, Evan Mathis, and Bobbie Williams will likely keep their hold on this position but the competition will be fierce.
Sure, we all hear about the wonderful receivers the Bengals have. Be it draft picks, new acquisitions, or old faces, this position will need some fresh life breathed into it.
While Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant are locks, if the other receivers expect to take one of the two remaining spots, they are going to need to get hungry fast.
Expect a lot of shuffling during the season at this saturated position of 10 candidates with the fiercest competition coming between Andre Caldwell, Matt Jones, Jordan Shipley, and Dezmon Briscoe.
Likely Jones and Shipley will win out for week one but where the team goes after that is anybody's guess.
Bengal Nation will be entertained with a fierce battle for the tight end position.
With Jermaine Gresham in the fold along with Reggie Kelly, expect the Bengals to sacrifice a spot at another position for three tight ends for week to week.
That leaves Chase "Underachiever" Coffman, Daniel Coats, and Darius Hill to compete for the third spot.
Look for Chase to pull this one out.