With many of the starters on the offensive line either not here (Andre Smith) or rehabbing from injuries (Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling and Trevor Robinson), it has been up to center Kyle Cook to help mentor some of the young guys during organized team activities and this week’s rookie minicamp.

While offensive lines are built on being cohesive and getting as many snaps together as possible, any time the rookies and new acquisitions get now could help during the preseason or later on. As the line has seen over the past two years, it only takes one thing to happen in the preseason for the shuffling to start.

Two years ago it was Bobbie Williams’ four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Boling started the first three games but struggled and was replaced by Mike McGlynn. Williams was back for Week 5 but suffered a season-ending injury in Week 13, which moved McGlynn back into the starting lineup.

Last year in the preseason, Travelle Wharton and Cook suffered injuries. Wharton’s was season-ending, which saw an improved Boling take over. Cook was out for most of the season but came back in time for the stretch run.

“For a new-look offensive line because of the guys who are out there and the injuries we’ve had, I thought we’ve done well so far,” Cook said. “Mike (Pollak, who was signed in free agency) has come in and done a good job at left guard. Tanner (Hawkinson) has been playing left tackle and done well. We have our really good days and decent days.”

For Cook, this is a precursor to a training camp battle with Robinson for the starting spot at center.

Cook said he wasn’t surprised when he heard that coach Marvin Lewis declared there would be a position battle.

The way Cook sees it, competition is good for everyone, including a sixth-year guy who has made 53 starts (including the postseason) over the past four seasons. Robinson started five games last season and did well enough to make this one of the more watched position battles going into camp.