Cincinnati Bengals Roster 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions
Now that the Cincinnati Bengals have officially entered training camp, it can be difficult to keep track of the variety of different things transpiring with the team on a daily basis, so a one-stop destination for everything Bengals this preseason would be a dream-like resource to have, correct?
Dream no longer, because the Bengals roster tracker is here.
As freshly re-signed head coach Marvin Lewis attempts to mold a young, ridiculously talented team into a contender this preseason, this guide will track the latest news and roster transactions stemming right from Paul Brown Stadium.
We'll also take an in-depth look at every position on the roster, as well as predict how things will shake out when the preseason concludes at the end of the month.
Without further ado, here is the Bengals 2012 roster tracker:
Aug 28 Cuts
The Bengals quickly hit the 75-man limit thanks to a plethora of injuries. Five players were placed on injured reserve: Cornerbacks Brandon Ghee, Shaun Prater and Taveon Rogers, safety Robert Sands and guard Travelle Wharton.
After those moves the Bengals waived five players to reach the 75 limit:
- Defensive end Luck Black—Seemingly more a camp body than anything, Black was a predictable cut. He likely won't land anywhere else in the league.
- Running back Aaron Brown—While Brown had shown flashes in the past, he simply didn't have enough to make the final roster. He was mediocre in most preseason games and not an asset on special teams. He'll land on a practice squad somewhere if anything.
- Quarterback Tyler Hansen—Hansen didn't show much in his short time with the team, and the top two spots on the depth chart were already taken. If a team truly believes in his potential he could land on a practice squad, but it is a long shot.
- Guard Matt Murphy—He did not stand a chance of making the roster thanks to the solid depth, even with injuries. Murphy was not versatile enough, which is something the coaching staff loves. Doubtful to land a shot somewhere else.
- Wide receiver Kashif Moore—An undrafted free agent used more as a body for reps than anything, Moore didn't show enough to make it past first cuts.
Latest Roster Moves
Here is a list of the Bengals' most recent transactions. The list will be updated as the team makes changes to the roster throughout the course of the preseason.
7/27/2012: Cincinnati placed cornerback Nate Clements, wide receiver Jordan Shipley, defensive tackle Pat Sims and kicker Mike Nugent on the PUP list. Also placed Dre Kirkpatrick on the Non-football injury list and linebacker Brandon Joiner on the Did Not Report list. All of these moves are a result of minor injuries, with the exception of Joiner who is serving prison time. (Bengals.com)
7/26/2012: The Bengals signed undrafted free agent cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris to a contract. The move is a response to the multitude of injuries at the position at the opening of training camp. The team needs bodies to actually play defense in practices.
7/25/2012: The Bengals signed third-round pick Brandon Thompson to a rookie contract. The defensive tackle was the last rookie to sign with the team. The move comes at a perfect time as he should not miss any practices.
Full Team Roster and Projected Depth Chart
Below you find the entire roster, and then a projected depth chart based on how we think things will shake out when the preseason is over.
Running Backs (4), Fullback (1)
Tight Ends (3)
Wide Receivers (6)
Offensive Guard (4)
Offensive Tackle (4)
Defensive End (4)
Defensive Tackle (4)
Outside Linebacker (5)
Middle Linebacker (2)
Free Safety (2)
Strong Safety (2)
Special Teams (3)
Clark Harris (LS)
Kevin Huber P
Mike Nugent K
Last 5 in
With the Cincinnati Bengals having such a talented roster throughout, there are going to be some players that just miss making the final cut. Here are five notable players on the roster bubble that could be cut in the near future as the organization trims the roster to comply with NFL rules.
WR Brandon Tate could be on the outside looking in soon because of the incredible depth the Bengals have at the position. There are others on the roster such as Andrew Hawkins and Marvin Jones who can return kicks as well and will see the field on offense more than Tate.
DE Derrick Harvey was brought in to replenish the depth at defensive end, but he could already be on his way out. There are rookies and veterans alike on the roster that are more versatile than Harvey who make him expendable when cut day comes.
CB Terence Newman is at another position with extreme depth. A variety of rookies, younger players and established veterans could make one of the newest members of the Bengals one of the first out the door.
LB Dontay Moch has not been able to get on the field at all yet, but has huge upside. His time is quickly running out thanks to players like Vincent Rey, Vontaze Burfict and Dan Skuta.
DT Pat Sims is another defensive lineman that is going to have issues staying on the team because of his lack of versatility. Two rookies in Devon Still and Brandon Thompson will likely push the injury-prone Sims off the roster at the last second.
Last 5 out
While some players are still riding the roster bubble, others have already been completely bounced by the Cincinnati Bengals organization for a variety of reasons. The five most prominent let go so far are:
SS Chris Crocker was cut on 4/6/2012. Crocker performed poorly last season and battle injury issues. His age did not help either. It is clear the Bengals were ready to upgrade at the position.
RB Rodney Stewart was let go on 6/19/2012. He suffered an injury in rookie minicamp and was unlikely to make the roster.
G Chris Riley was waived on 5/15/2012. He failed a physical, and had no shot at making the final roster.
DE Julian Miller was waived on 5/11/2012. He too failed a physical before rookie minicamp and had a long way to go before winning a spot on the final roster.
CB Rico Murray was cut on 4/12/2012. Murray was let go after the Bengals gathered up better options at the position in free agency.
Quarterbacks on roster: Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski, Tyler Hansen, Zac Robinson
Projected starter: Andy Dalton
Offseason additions: Tyler Hansen, Zac Robinson
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski
There is not going to be much of a battle at the quarterback position this preseason. Andy Dalton is the franchise quarterback of the future, especially if he continues to develop in a positive manner like he has to this point.
Dalton's job is one of the safest on the roster. He now needs to be more accurate on deep passes and efficiently grasp the expanded playbook the team is introducing. This preseason is critical to his career.
Bruce Gradkowski is as much of a lock as Dalton is at this point. If he wasn't, the team would have brought in some serious competition for his backup role. He's a more than capable veteran who can act as a mentor to Dalton.
The only real battle here is between Tyler Hansen and Zac Robinson for who gets to be the third quarterback and sit on the practice squad. Both have a good amount of potential, but it is a toss-up as to who comes out on top.
Running backs on roster: Jourdan Brooks, Aaron Brown, James Develin, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Dan Herron, Brian Leonard, Cedric Peerman, Chris Pressely, Bernard Scott
Projected starter: BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Offseason additions: Aaron Brown, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Dan Herron
Roster cuts: Rodney Stewart
Projected final roster: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard, Cedric Peerman, Chris Pressely
The Bengals brought in BenJarvus Green-Ellis to carry the majority of the load in 2012 and be a role model for the young roster. He'll look to establish himself in the preseason as a worthy lead-back while setting the example for all through his actions, not words.
Bernard Scott will see a large amount of carries as well, and is probably on his last chance in Cincinnati. He has all the potential in the world, but has failed to impress up to this point. He'll join the returning Brian Leonard, who will resume his role as the third-down back.
A major battle to watch at the position is the battle between Cedric Peerman and rookie Dan Herron. Whoever proves to be the better special teams player in the preseason will win the roster spot. The edge has to be given to Peerman who was one of the team's most important special teams players a year ago.
At fullback, Chris Pressely will be challenged by a few new faces, but it is doubtful he gives up his starting job or roster spot.
Wide receivers on roster: Armon Binns, A. J. Green, Andrew Hawkins, Vidal Hazelton, Justin Hilton, Marvin Jones, Kashif Moore, Taveon Rogers, Mohamed Sanu, Jordan Shipley, Brandon Tate, Ryan Whalen
Projected starter: A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Jordan Shipley
Offseason additions: Mohamed Sanu, Vidal Hazelton, Justin Hilton, Marvin Jones, Kashif Moore, Taveon Rogers,
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Armon Binns, A.J. Green, Andrew Hawkins, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Jordan Shipley
A.J. Green is a top 10 receiver in the league, and there is not anyone on the roster that is going to take away from the amount of balls thrown his way next season. Green will have to develop better route running and recognition of the defense if he is to take the next step.
Behind Green is a free for all. Jones, Sanu, Binns and Tate will all be competing for the No. 2 spot across from Green. Tate is expendable because the team has so many kick returners and better receivers that can contribute to the offense. Binns has looked good in camp but will have to do a lot to beat out the rookies.
That leaves Jones and Sanu battling for the spot, and the advantage has to be given to the tougher Sanu.
In the slot Shipley will look to retain his role, and Andrew Hawkins will have to do well in limited opportunities this preseason to make a return. He's a great gadget-play receiver who can burn a defense and also has a lot to contribute in the kick return game.
Whalen and Hilton have something to contribute to the team but there is simply not enough room this year. The practice squad will save a few of these guys, giving them a chance to make it again next year.
If the Bengals believe a true No. 2 has not been identified by the time training camp winds down, a committee approach could be utilized. This would allow the Bengals to employ certain receivers in specific situations, which could lead to an explosive passing attack.
Tight ends on roster: Orson Charles, Colin Cochart, Jermaine Gresham, Donald Lee
Projected starter: Jermaine Gresham, Orson Charles
Offseason additions: Orson Charles
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Orson Charles, Colin Cochart, Jermaine Gresham
Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Jermaine Gresham figures to have an even bigger year in 2012 as his role in the West Coast offense is expanded. Gresham is in no way in danger of losing his job, rather, he is a threat to take more receptions away from the group of receivers.
Behind Gresham is where things get a bit murky. Lee is a veteran presence, but could be on his way out in exchange for youth and potential. Cochart has proven in a small amount of time to be a great blocker and can catch passes. Charles is a very similar player in stature and style to Jermaine Gresham.
If Cochart and Charles stay healthy, they should get the nod to make the final roster. Charles has a chance to develop into something special, while Cochart is a solid role player. Both will likely take snaps with Gresham in 2012.
Offensive tackles on roster: Anthony Collins, Matt O'Donnell, Dennis Roland, Andre Smith, Andrew Whitworth
Projected starter: Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith
Offseason additions: Matt O'Donnell
Roster cuts: Mike Ryan, Landon Walker
Projected final roster: Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland, Andre Smith, Andrew Whitworth
When all is said and done this preseason, the offensive tackle position should look identical to last year, which is nothing but a good thing.
Whitworth is still one of the better tackles in the league and is the perfect fit to protect Andy Dalton's blind side. He is an important locker room leader. Smith will start at right tackle again, but figures to be even better now that he is entering a contract year.
Roland is a nice rotational player that should have no issues keeping his job. Collins might be the most important player on the line because he can come in and play tackle or guard. Last year when Smith was hurt Collins filled in admirably and the line did not skip a beat.
Last season the tackle position did not give up a huge amount of pressure, but struggled in the running game at times. With what should be better talent on the interior of the line in 2012, Whitworth and Smith should be able to put together a better campaign.
Offensive guards on roster: Clint Boling, Otis Hudson, Matt Murphy, Trevor Robinson, Travelle Wharton, Kevin Zeitler
Projected starter: Travelle Wharton, Kevin Zeitler
Offseason additions: Travelle Wharton, Kevin Zeitler, Matt Murphy, Trevor Robinson
Roster cuts: Chris Riley
Projected final roster: Clint Boling, Otis Hudson, Travelle Wharton, Kevin Zeitler
Guard would be the position that had a major face-lift this offseason. Nate Livings and Bobbie Williams are gone, and unless Boling has an immaculate preseason, he won't sniff a starting gig again.
At left guard, former Carolina Panther Wharton will take over and potentially provide more consistency. Last year the interior of the line gave up an inordinate amount of pressures and failed to get a big push in the running game. Wharton should be able to fix that.
At right guard, the rookie out of Wisconsin Kevin Zeitler will likely take over the starting gig. He's a mauler blocker that should be able to use his athleticism to his advantage in the running game and team with Andre Smith to provide sufficient time for Andy Dalton to find an open receiver.
Boling will keep his spot as the coaching staff still wants to see how he develops. He's not starter material, but he is a quality backup. Hudson has been around for a little while and fits the same bill as Boling.
If Murphy or Robinson want to surprise all and make the roster, they are going to have to drastically outperform either Boling or Hudson.
The interior of the offensive line was an issue last season, but the Bengals may have found the correct answer in Wharton and Zeitler.
Centers on roster: Kyle Cook, Reggie Stephens
Projected starter: Kyle Cook
Offseason additions: N/A
Roster cuts: Ben Bojicic
Projected final roster: Kyle Cook
There won't be a competition at the center position this preseason. The coaching staff believes in Cook, and has not brought in anyone to seriously compete for the job.
Cook was effective last year when the rest of the line was playing well, but he can be inconsistent. His potential is through the roof, so with more consistent play around him in 2012 he could have breakout year.
Stephens is a solid backup who has room to grow should Cook falter. He is not close to taking Cook's job and would not be able to perform to his level at this point in time should Cook be injured.
The center position is not really one to watch in training camp, but it could be in the future if Cook does not turn the corner. As of now, the position is good enough to properly run the West Coast offense, which is all that matters.
Defensive ends on roster: Jamaal Anderson, Carlos Dunlap, DeQuin Evans, Robert Geathers, Derrick Harvey, Michael Johnson
Projected starter: Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson
Offseason additions: Derrick Harvey, Jamaal Anderson
Roster cuts: Julian Miller
Projected final roster: Jamaal Anderson, Carlos Dunlap, Robert Geathers Michael Johnson
Defensive end is a position that needs to reload this offseason after losing Jonathan Fanene and Frostee Rucker.
That can be accomplished in a few different ways. To start, veteran Robert Geathers is going to have to fight the uber-talented Carlos Dunlap for the starting job. Geathers is effective against the run, but does little when it comes to pressuring the passer.
On the other hand, Dunlap does the exact opposite. If he can better defend the run and stay healthy this preseason, the job is his.
Michael Johnson will likely have to fend off Jamaal Anderson for the other starting spot, as Anderson has been seeing some snaps with the first team in training camp already. Johnson has put on a lot of muscle this offseason to prevent injury and better defend against the run, so he could run away with the position.
It does not truly matter who wins the starting spots because the Bengals rely so heavily on a rotation to wear down an offense. There are also versatile players like Anderson who can kick inside and rush from the tackle position, or players like Devon Still who can kick outside and rush from the defensive end's spot.
The biggest battle to watch at defensive end this preseason is simply the battle to stay healthy. There are not any players like Harvey or Evan who are a real threat to take a roster spot, so the main issue is keeping the big four healthy.
Defensive tackles on roster: Geno Atkins, Nick Hayden, Vaughn Meatoga, Domata Peko, Pat Sims, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson
Projected starter: Geno Atkins, Domata Peko
Offseason additions: Vaughn Meatoga, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson
Geno Atkins is the best pass-rushing interior defensive lineman in the NFL, and his ability to disrupt an offense on every down makes the players around him much better. That does not mean he can do it all alone, and defensive tackle is one of the main positions to watch this preseason.
Domata Peko is not going anywhere as he is the team's premier run-stuffer next to Atkins. He won't get a lot of sacks, or even tackles, but he will occupy enough linemen to allow the linebackers behind him to make the plays.
The rookies Devon Still and Brandon Thompson will be intriguing to watch. Thompson figures to backup Peko and rotate in while Still will have a larger rotation role, especially next to Atkins in passing situations. Both are not a threat to steal a starting gig, and should rather just focus on developing quickly.
Pat Sims could be an unfortunate cut late in the preseason, especially if he cannot get healthy. He has had health issues throughout the course of his tenure with the team, and is now expendable thanks to the rookies. Sims' main skill is defending against the run, something that all the other tackles on the roster can do well, and provide pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Combined with the defensive end position, the Bengals could have one of the best lines in all of football once again. The scary part is the majority of the biggest contributors are still very young.
Outside linebackers on roster: Thomas Howard, Grant Hunter, Brandon Joiner, Emmanuel Lamur, Manny Lawson, Dontay Moch, Vincent Rey
Projected starter: Thomas Howard, Manny Lawson
Offseason additions: Grant Hunter, Brandon Joiner, Emmanuel Lamur
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Thomas Howard, Manny Lawson, Dontay Moch, Vincent Rey, Dan Skuta
The outside linebacker spot is a hard one to predict because there is so much untapped talent on the roster. The one thing that is simple to tell right away is that Thomas Howard is not going anywhere. He was one of the best defensive players for the team a year ago, and should easily resume that role in 2012.
The other outside spot is Manny Lawson's to lose, but he could do just that. Dan Skuta is listed as a middle linebacker, but has the ability to play both and is currently pushing Lawson for the starting job. Whoever comes out on top will easily be the best person for the job and leave the defense with one heck of a rotational player.
Dontay Moch is the most interesting of the bunch. He has yet to play an NFL snap thanks to injuries and migraines, but he has the potential to be an elite pass rusher. A linebacker with 4.4 40-yard dash speed has a chance to wreak havoc on the NFL.
Moch could end up being cut if he cannot stay healthy. Vincent Rey is a very good backup and could push for time as a rotational player. The rest on the roster seem to just be training camp bodies with the exception of Joiner, who is serving a prison sentence.
MLBs on roster: Vontaze Burfict, Micah Johnson, Rey Maualuga, Roddrick Muckelroy, Dan Skuta
Projected starter: Rey Maualuga
Offseason additions: Vontaze Burfict, Micah Johnson
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Rey Maualuga, Roddrick Muckelroy
The man to watch at the middle linebacker position is undrafted free agent Vontaze Burfict. He has a solid skill set but had a horrible temper in college that cost his team several serious personal foul penalties in key situations.
If Burfict can get it together and perform well he could have a serious shot at making the final roster as Rey Maualuga's backup. Maualuga is in no danger of losing his job. He looked great before an ankle injury last year and rushed back, which resulted in him not looking the same the rest of the year.
Another key person to keep an eye on is Roddrick Muckelroy. He missed all of last season with an injury so it is easy to forget about him, but he was an important rotational player who has a lot of untapped potential still.
Dan Skuta is listed as in the middle, but he is competing for an outside spot right now, which is interesting because he looked great in the middle last year while Maualuga was out with an injury.
It is hard to tell exactly how the middle will play out this preseason, but it is hard to imagine the team ends up keeping more than two. Who those two happen to be will depend on health and performance.
Cornerbacks on roster: Jason Allen, Nate Clements, Brandon Ghee, Leon Hall, Chris Lewis-Harris, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Terence Newman, Shaun Prater
Projected starter: Leon Hall, Nate Clements
Offseason additions: Jason Allen, Chris Lewis-Harris, Dre Kirkpatrick, Terence Newman, Shaun Prater
Roster cuts: Derrius Brooks, Rico Murray
Projected final roster: Jason Allen, Nate Clements, Brandon Ghee, Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick
The spotlight at the cornerback position this preseason should be on Leon Hall as he attempts to return from a torn Achilles. If he cannot make a full recovery, the Bengals could be in for a long year.
Hall is in no way in danger of losing his job, but the second important player to watch at the position would be rookie Dre Kirkpatrick. If he can bounce back from his knee issue toward the end of the preseason it will be important to see if he can adapt to the NFL quickly.
As an insurance policy on the chance Hall did not recover, the team added Jason Allen and Terence Newman. Allen should have no problems making the roster, but Newman has been on the decline for some while and could be cut.
The talk of camp so far has been Brandon Ghee, a corner who has been unable to stay healthy, and even cut by the Bengals in the past. If he continues on the right course he could end up seeing serious playing time in 2012.
Adam Jones performed well in Hall's place last year, with the exception of the playoff game against the Houston Texans. Considering he is best as a slot corner, how he played against every team's No. 1 receiver is impressive. In 2012 he is an emergency corner that will see most of his playing time come on punt returns.
Nate Clements is still a solid corner, but could see some time at safety in certain scenarios. He is at the age where he is better at defending the run than pass, which is never a good sign for a cornerback's career.
All in all, there is no way to predict how the depth chart will shake out when the preseason concludes, but it is a safe bet that corner will be one of the deepest positions on the roster, health permitting.
Safeties on roster: Tony Dye, George Iloka, Taylor Mays, Jeromy Miles, Reggie Nelson, Robert Sands
Projected starter: Reggie Nelson, Taylor Mays
Offseason additions: Tony Dye, George Iloka
Roster cuts: Chris Crocker
Projected final roster: George Iloka, Taylor Mays, Jeromy Miles, Reggie Nelson
Reggie Nelson was quietly one of the better players on the Bengals defense last year at free safety, which would explain why the organization brought him back. His skills are something the team has not seen for some time at the position.
Behind him will likely be rookie George Iloka, who is a huge body that can play either safety position. He will not push for the starting gig simply because he has to adapt to the speed of the league first.
With Chris Crocker gone, that likely places Taylor Mays at the strong safety spot. He is a freakish athlete who can play the run extremely well but needs to use this preseason to improve on his read and react skills.
Behind Mays is special teams ace Jeromy Miles, who could seriously push Mays for his starting spot. Miles is not a big name, but could see a lot of playing time next year as a rotational player as coordinator Mike Zimmer likes to use three-safety sets at times.
Robert Sands is an interesting character because he is likely on the outside looking in when the preseason ends, but he has a unique skill set similar to Iloka's. If he can manage to put together a jaw-dropping preseason, he could steal a roster spot.
Specialists on roster: Bryce Davis(LS), Clark Harris(LS), Kevin Huber, Mike Nugent, Thomas Weber
Projected starter: Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber
Offseason additions: Bryce Davis, Thomas Weber
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris
When it comes to specialists on the team, there will not be any competition at all. Mike Nugent was good enough last season for the organization to waste the franchise tag on him, so he is not going anywhere.
Kevin Huber was mediocre at times punting the football last year, but the organization did not bring in any competition for him, so his job appears safe as well.
As for long snapper Clark Harris, he has some competition, but it seems more like another camp body at this point.
Kick returners on roster: Adam Jones, Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Brandon Tate, Jordan Shipley, Marvin Jones, Andrew Hawkins
Projected starter: Marvin Jones, Andrew Hawkins, Adam Jones
Offseason additions: Marvin Jones
Roster cuts: N/A
Projected final roster: Adam Jones, Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Brandon Tate, Jordan Shipley, Marvin Jones, Andrew Hawkins
The Bengals have a great problem in that there are several candidates for returning kicks and punts heading into 2012.
When it comes to punt returns, that is Adam Jones' job to lose. He is one of the best in the league when healthy. This means that while Jordan Shipley is an effective returner, he will not have to risk his health to do so.
On kick returns, there will be a massive battle to see who gets to do it all season. Bernard Scott has shown flashes of brilliance doing it, but it is doubtful the team lets him because he is such an important part of the running back committee.
Cedric Peerman has an ability to return kicks, but there are better options such as Marvin Jones and Andrew Hawkins. Those two are likely the best option as both likely will not be huge factors in the regular offense and can devote all of their energy to special teams.
Last year's main return man Brandon Tate is on the roster bubble. His awful decision making at times returning kicks last year make him expendable.