Jake Fisher is getting a look at all five offensive line spots.
Jake Fisher may be about to pull a "Lap."
During long-time Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham's career on the Cincinnati offensive line, he played all five positions. A couple of times in the same game. Fisher, who looks to be this season's back-up right tackle, may be headed that way as he takes some snaps at center in preparation for practices that begin later this month.
"He's such a great athlete. He's getting work at all five spots," said offensive line coach Paul Alexander. "Typically centers aren't that tall, but he's certainly on the high end of the athleticism."
The 6-6, 306-pound Fisher, a second-round pick in 2015, has never played center in practice, never mind a game. But he says he's getting the hang of shot-gun snaps.
"I've been practicing long snaps and it's not that much different," Fisher said. "You never want to get comfortable. You never know when and where the team is going to need you."
Like last year, when he switched his number from 74 to 44 to replace injured fullback Ryan Hewitt. But at least he had played tight end in high school.
"You prepare yourself for the worst and if it works out, it works out," Fisher said.
He won't have to change his number. And a 74 at center brings back memories. It was the number of Rich Braham, one of the best centers in club history who centered head coach Marvin Lewis' first three teams and first division title.
It was in that '05 title season when an emergency center saved them. Both Braham and backup Larry Moore got hurt and left guard Eric Steinbach had to move to center in the second quarter after never playing it. The athletically gifted Steinbach, 6-6 himself, didn't have any snafus with the ball as the Bengals went on to beat Houston, 16-10, to go to 4-0.
"That's when he came up with the famous line," Alexander said. "I asked him, What plays do you know? And he said, 'I know them all.' I said we won't use the shot-gun snap and he said, 'Why not? How hard can it be?' And he went out and did it."
Alexander hopes to avoid that kind of drama. So while he is looking for a back-up center among his rookie guards, particularly fifth-rounder Christian Westerman, Fisher could be a put-out-the-fire-Steinbach kind of guy.
"We'll find out," Alexander said. "So much of it is making the calls. (Fisher) is a go-through-the-process kind of guy. Steiny was go-with-the-flow."
Cincinnati Bengals host rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium practice fields 5/6/2016