Hobson's Choice: Always looking

Hi Geoff,

First off I want to say that I love what the Bengals have done in the offseason; including not sacrificing the salary cap of later for the good of now. I was just wondering what you think Craig Krenzel's role will be with the Bengals. I don't think it's likely that the Bengals will carry four QB's and I thought that Casey Bramlet was their guy to groom as a backup to Carson for future years. As much as I appreciate what Krenzel did for my Buckeyes, I just cant see why the Bengals brought him in (but in Marvin I trust).

                                                                                                                                                                                        Excited for '05 playoffs!
                                                                                                                                                                                                Versailles, OH

Krenzel starts out behind Bramlet in the race for the No. 3 job that looks like it is eventually going to turn into the No. 2 somewhere down the road. But Krenzel has a legit shot at winning. Brains and experience go a long way in this league. Just ask Jon Kitna.

Bringing in Krenzel off waivers from the Bears follows a general house-keeping rule in the NFL. If you see anybody out there that you think has a chance to be better than somebody you already have, you get him. Given that Chicago took Krenzel in the fifth round and the Bengals took Bramlet in the seventh round of the same 2004 draft, it's reasonable to assume that the Bengals also had a higher grade on Krenzel than they did on Bramlet.

Who knows? Maybe they would have taken him with the 149th pick in the fifth round if the Bears didn't take Krenzel at No. 148. (You get a door prize for knowing the Bengals took the departed Maurice Mann, a wide receiver from Nevada, at 149.)

Anyway, one of the big dictums in Marvin-We-Trust Football is competition. Bramlet, who has no NFL snaps, is no longer the No. 3 by default and should get all he can handle from Krenzel, a guy that is already 3-2 as a starter in the league.

OK, OK. Two of those wins came pretty much courtesy of the Bears' special teams and defense. But the man does win games. He'll have to improve on his accuracy (a dreadful 52.5 completion percentage as a rookie) and his suspect speed will be under the microscope against Bramlet, a guy that got around pretty good in the pocket in some pre-season games last year. Plus, the Bengals have invested a bunch in Bramlet, starting with a draft pick, a solid NFL Europe stint, and what will be two training camps. He knows the system and the receivers.

Krenzel has the edge in that big category of snaps. It should be a very interesting derby, and isn't nice to have one at No. 3 instead of No. 1 (thank you very much Akili Smith, Scott Mitchell, Gus Frerotte)?

The Bramlet-Krenzel winner could very well be the heir apparent to Kitna as Carson Palmer's backup. That could be as soon as '06 or maybe later. The club has yet to approach Kitna about a contract that ends after this season, but that doesn't mean they won't talk to him. The thing is going to come down to money. The contracts of all their starting offensive linemen expire after '06, and that money is going to have to come from somewhere. It remains to be seen if some of it will come out of Kitna's $1 million salary, or if they can re-sign him as well as others at the same time.

No doubt they'd love to keep the guy. But it appears they also feel they have to find out about the kids. Both Krenzel and Bramlet have some of the Kitna traits with Krenzel's smarts and Bramlet's resiliency and accuracy.

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