The Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals are set to open their 2019 seasons in two weeks and while our focus has obviously been on what the Seahawks will look like, the Bengals made an important announcement about their offensive line on Sunday: former undrafted free agent Trey Hopkins has won the starting center job over 2018 first round pick Billy Price, while fourth round rookie Michael Jordan has been named the starting left guard.
With first round tackle Jonah Williams expected to miss this season, the starting offensive line looks to be Cordy Glenn at left tackle, Jordan and Price at their respective positions, then John Miller at right guard and Bobby Hart at right tackle. But Glenn is currently going through concussion protocol, putting his Week 1 status in doubt. That would make former first rounder Andre Smith the starter at left tackle, with coaches praising his work in the offseason.
Still, it’s quite a different look than the one that was perhaps meant to have Williams, Glenn, and Price as starters.
Hopkins started 12 games at right guard in 2017 and played all along the offensive line for all 16 games in 2018. Price has been dealing with plantar fasciitis, but is expected to be the number one backup for the interior positions. Alex Redmond, the starting guard for virtually all of 2018, is suspended for the first four games of the season.
Cincinnati is already dealing with the loss of A.J. Green to an injured ankle, while tight end Tyler Eifert is Tyler Eifert; he’s played in 14 games over the last three seasons and he’s questionable for Week 1. Cornerback Darquez Dennard has no timetable for his return and pass rusher Carl Lawson may not be ready to go from his torn ACL last year. All told, the Bengals were a team lacking in perceived talent as is, but injuries and disappointing early returns on draft picks have made them one of the biggest unknowns going into the start of the regular season.
That could be a good thing for Seattle’s chances of a 1-0 start, but maybe they’re gonna be doing some guesses on how talented these starters are, since few expected them to be starters when training camp opened.