Depth chart: Tate opposite Green at WR, Mays No. 1 at SS


Brandon Tate

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis unveiled his first depth chart of the season Monday with Brandon Tate running first opposite A.J. Green at wide receiver and Carlos Dunlap moving past the injured Robert Geathers at left end.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who came over from New England in free agency, is the No. 1 running back and probably would have been even if Bernard Scott hadn't been shelved with a hand injury for what may be the rest of the preseason. Also as expected, Taylor Mays is the No. 1 strong safety.

Lewis released the depth chart with the Bengals opening their preseason schedule Friday in a 7:30 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium game against the Jets (11:35 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12).

Tate, another former Patriot, caught 24 balls for an 18-yard average in 2010 while in New England but has yet to make a catch as a Bengal since Cincinnati picked him up on waivers five days before last year's season opener.

But from Lewis to offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to quarterback Andy Dalton, the club is saying the No. 2 receiver is going to be executed by committee and not by one player. Tate caught four balls for 30 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's mock game while Armon Binns, the University of Cincinnati product looking for his first NFL catch, had 69 yards on five catches, four of them coming in the two-minute drill, and is backing up Tate on the depth chart.

"You can see they can all make plays. Tate made a couple good plays, Binns had another good day, they're all good," said Gruden, who knew that tight end Jermaine Gresham didn't have a catch Sunday. "Jermaine didn't get any balls today but he'll be all right. We'll give him a hug and he'll come back and practice."

Dalton said Sunday's highlight was how well the bevvy of different receivers played.

"Everybody was making big plays. You see the catches that Armon made and then you see Brandon Tate get the touchdown pass," Dalton said. "We've got receivers flying all over the field. I trust all of those guys, so it doesn't matter who's out there."

And Lewis reiterated after Sunday's game what he's been saying since training camp started.

"The group is a lot better than we were a year ago and that's what we've got to be," Lewis said. "Everybody keeps saying 'Who's second?' Well (Nos.) two, three, four, five and six are better than they were a year ago. That's the most important thing. And One is probably better than he was a year ago. The group overall is improved."

"One" of course is Green, and he's backed up by fellow second-year man Andrew Hawkins, which indicates he'd be the first slot receiver coming off a 23-catch rookie year.

Other depth chart notes:

Dunlap has moved ahead of Geathers at left end as Geathers recovers from Friday's knee scope. Mays is backed up by Jeromy Miles at strong safety with Robert Sands backing up Reggie Nelson at free safety.

Even though Pat Sims has yet to be cleared to practice, he's backing up Domata Peko at nose tackle with third-round pick Brandon Thompson running third while second-rounder Devon Still is backing up Pro Bowler Geno Atkins at the other tackle.

Roddrick Muckelroy is backing up middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and free-agent rookie Vontaze Burfict is running No. 3.

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