Bengals rookie Cordell Volson made case for 1st-team reps as Jackson Carman struggled

·2 min read

As perhaps many expected, it appears the battle at left guard for the Cincinnati Bengals isn’t going to be nearly as easy to figure out as it should be.

During Friday night’s preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals, 2021 second-round pick Jackson Carman struggled mightily while fourth-round rookie Cordell Volson looked solid for a big chunk of the night.

That’s thrown things for a bit of a loop, as Carman came in without the issues that dogged his rookie season. He’s also got a year of experience over Volson.

But it appears things just aren’t that simple. Much of what coaches saw from Carman in practices this summer just didn’t show up often, to the point he was the team’s only starter playing amongst backups in the first half.

Now highlights and analysis have started to leak out, with this notable from PFF’s Anthony Treash:

This doesn’t mean the battle is settled by any means. But it’s a pretty clear sign the team doesn’t have long before it needs to throw first-team reps at Volson and really see what he can do.

Maybe the rookie flops. He was, after all, merely looking solid against second and third-stringers. But it could also gradually translate to good looks against starters, helping him provide a steadier presence than Carman on a snap-to-snap basis.

Or — and this seems pretty likely given how bad the rest of the backups were against other backups — the Bengals will have to look to free agency and smaller trades near final 53 cutdowns to find other solutions.

Either way, it’s clear Volson is right in the thick of this competition because Carman keeps leaving the door open.

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire