CINCINNATI — The Bengals were expected to have a competition for the starting right tackle job, but that hasn't been the case in training camp
Bobby Hart has consistently worked with the first-team offense. Fred Johnson, who flashed his potential at the end of last season, doesn't appear to be a real threat to Hart.
Johnson, 23, has played with the first-team, but mostly at right guard, not right tackle. Michael Jordan's first child was born last week, which meant the Bengals had multiple practices without their starting left guard.
Bengals analyst Dave Lapham believes consistency and intelligence are two things the offensive line coach Jim Turner is looking for from the starting right tackle.
"I think the tiebreaker right now is that Bobby's smart," Lapham said on the Bengals Booth Podcast. "Bobby's like Trey [Hopkins] in terms of football — making calls and stuff. That's a comforting feeling for a line coach when you got two guys out there that know every nuance of it. I don't think Fred's at that level in terms of the mental part of it. Unless he outright handles it physically, it's gotta be knockout. That's what he's looking at I think."
At 6-7, 326 pounds, Johnson certainly has the size required to be a starting NFL right tackle.
"He's like, in my mind, all the offensive lineman, Dan. I watch him. Very inconsistent," Lapham said. "Got to show consistency. Got to show consistency as a group. All five guys have to play as a group.
"It can't be big ups and downs. Fred's had some really good showings and then he's had some head scratcher showings."
The projected starting line (from right to left) is Hart, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Trey Hopkins, Michael Jordan and Jonah Williams. Johnson will have to flash in Sunday's scrimmage to have a shot at supplanting Hart.
"Fred has to realize Bobby's played quite a few games in the NFL," Lapham said. "Fred has to win it outright. And honestly, right now, I don't think the competition should be over."
Listen to Dan Hoard's entire conversation with Lapham below.
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