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MrCincinnati

Preseason Week 1 Bears @ Bengals

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Another year means its time to bring out the gameday threads again. As per usual, I want to continue with the gameday threads in the future after abruptly stopping last season. If anybody else wants to try and make the threads in the future instead though, go ahead and speak your mind on it if that interests you in some way. Otherwise I would like to continue this tradition of starting up the gameday threads for you guys. With that being said, lets get on with it.

Starting off the first preseason game is a week 14 rematch against the Bears, whom the Bengals suffered a 33-7 beatdown on there own home turf. The Bears are considered a team by some that will make a big jump this year, so this is a great matchup for the Bengals to find out where they stand as a team.

GAMEDAY

Game time will be this Thursday at 7 PM ET on local television if your in Cincinnati or Chicago territory that is. (I will post more information on that later). If you can't catch the game though, it will re air twice on the NFL Network. Dates will be Saturday August 8th at 4 AM and Wednesday August 15th at 10 AM, both times are eastern.

5 THINGS TO WATCH FOR

5. The Returner Job - Potentially the first thing we may see from the Bengals this game is the kick returning game, which has been something this team has lacked for years. They're a handful of guys in the mix for this job, but more than likely it will be down Alex Erickson and Darius Phillips. Erickson has been the Bengals main returner for the past 2 years, but that's just it since he doesn't really have anything to offer. With that being said though, Erickson will be tough to beat out in the preseason as he traditionally does well during the preseason. Phillips the 5th round pick from this year will be looking to be the long term guy here on special teams, as his stats with Western Michigan shows he could be the answer the Bengals have been looking for. Its very possible neither guy wins the job here and they both could split time on special teams in the regular season assuming both make the team. And while there may not be a clear answer after this first preseason game, all it takes is one TD to turn the tide.

4. John Ross - The Bengals have had bad luck the past few years with there first round picks, as the common theme for these guys is being injured the first year. John Ross a surprising top 10 pick played only in 3 games last season and his only highlight was a 12 yard run in which he fumbled. Arguably the fastest WR in the NFL has been on a mission this training camp and has looked really good. And while at first it seemed like Ross would have to earn his keep in the regular season, in the NFL anything can happen at any moment. Brandon Lafell who was expected to be starting as the #2 WR for the team was cut a few days ago and in the wake of that news, it seems like a sure bet that Ross will now be stepping in next to AJ Green once the season starts. There's a chance Tyler Boyd may start ahead of Ross instead, but they wouldn't of cut Lafell if they didn't feel Ross was ready to be a starter. Since he barely played last season at all, it will be exciting to see how Ross plays especially against a good Bears secondary.

3. Youth on the Defensive Line - The biggest strength to this team going into 2018 is the entire DL. While the team already has talented players such as Dunlap and Atkins, they also have draft picks from last year in Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson, and Ryan Glasgow whom all impressed in there rookie years. Andrew Billings was drafted 2 years ago, but you could count him as a rookie last year if you want but he was less than stellar last season. This year the team drafted Sam Hubbard and Andrew Brown whom also could contribute early. Veteran free agency signing Chris Baker and Michael Johnson in the last year of his contract could be in danger because of the young talent here. That also could raise some questions if Atkins and Dunlap get an extension seeing as there are other younger guys behind them. With so many interesting options on the DL, which guys will rise to the occasion in this first game.

2. Backup Quarterbacks - Being its the first preseason game, the starters generally won't play too long which is great news for the guys behind Andy Dalton. Quarterback battles are always fun to watch on any team, and the backup QB job for the Bengals will have its first competition since 2013. Its rare, but there will be 3 guys fighting for the job with each one having something to offer. Contestant #1, Matt Barkley a free agency signing this year whom at first glance I put as a shoe in as the backup but over the last week I have changed my mind. Barkley is the journeyman veteran who actually has starting NFL experience under his belt, but has been struggling in training camp. Contestant #2, Jeff Driskel who's been with the Bengals since 2016, was actually drafted that year by the 49ers and then picked up on waivers by the team that season. Driskel has the advantage of knowing the playbook better than the other guys since he's been with the team longer. Contestant #2, Logan Woodside a 7th round draft pick from this year is the mystery box right now. Woodside has gotten far less reps than both Barkley and Driskel so he's going to be the longshot. Depending on who gets the most playing time in this game will be a factor, but ultimately it may come down to who makes less mistakes.

1. Who Starts on the Offensive Line - While most people will be excited to see the new additions Cordy Glenn and Billy Price in a Bengals uniform, the main thing that is a big question on the team is who starts at RG and RT. At RT it will be Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi, and Bobby Hart all competing for the job, all of which are underwhelming options based on last year, but Jake Fisher appears to be the most hopefully option since he wasn't fully healthy last year. RG has more intriguing options with Trey Hopkins, Christian Westerman, and Alex Redmond, but none of them played well last year. Westerman and Redmond barely played last season though, so you could argue the jury is still out on them, although Trey Hopkins struggled even though last year was almost like a rookie year for him since he didn't play any previous years in the league. TJ Johnson is possibly in the mix at RG, but based on how poorly he played last year its not likely, and with rookie 7th round Pick Rod Taylor done for the season, the options just got thinner. None of these guys could step it up last year, but now all of these competitors will be getting a second chance.

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I didn't renew gamepass for this year so I won't be watching many games. But I'll be waiting for those highlights!

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Biggest thing for me is seeing how the young wrs perform with limited reps with Dalton. I'd like to see Ross make a big play or two. 

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Posted (edited)

#2  The backups at QB....  Driskel doesn't have any experience edge on Barkley.  It's Lazor's playbook now.  He will have some chemistry with the veterans though.  Both Barkley and Driskel looked horrid the night I went to camp.  Woodside hasn't dressed in awhilew.  Either he's hurt, or involved with something bad off the field beyond the DUI.  I honestly have no clue.  Our best bet as the backup is probably in another team's camp as we speak.

 

#1  hart has outplayed Fisher and Cedric so far in camp.  Hopkins has been starting at RG, but keep in mind Fisher is still bulking back up and working on strength.  I could see Hart starting week 1 and Fisher overtake him by week 6.  If Perkins shows anything, the Ogbuehi era should end.

 

No injuries would be nice.

Edited by INbengalfan

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I’ll be watching the offensive line. Hopefully Prive plays a whole half and works on his snapping. I’d like to see some push in the run game and for us to be able to convert 3rd downs on offense. QB play will probably be pretty hard to watch after Dalton. 

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10 hours ago, theJ said:

I didn't renew gamepass for this year so I won't be watching many games. But I'll be waiting for those highlights!

I've never liked the idea of paying to watch preseason games, they get boring really fast. I already get tired of it after watching the hall of fame game and at this point I'm waiting for a REAL football game.

 

10 hours ago, theJ said:

Biggest thing for me is seeing how the young wrs perform with limited reps with Dalton. I'd like to see Ross make a big play or two. 

Well more than likely Dalton will only play one drive this game, so I highly doubt some of these other guys will get a chance to prove themselves with him. That's something that will be more worth watching in the next game instead.

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5 hours ago, INbengalfan said:

#2  The backups at QB....  Driskel doesn't have any experience edge on Barkley.  It's Lazor's playbook now.  He will have some chemistry with the veterans though.  Both Barkley and Driskel looked horrid the night I went to camp.  Woodside hasn't dressed in awhilew.  Either he's hurt, or involved with something bad off the field beyond the DUI.  I honestly have no clue.  Our best bet as the backup is probably in another team's camp as we speak.

 

#1  hart has outplayed Fisher and Cedric so far in camp.  Hopkins has been starting at RG, but keep in mind Fisher is still bulking back up and working on strength.  I could see Hart starting week 1 and Fisher overtake him by week 6.  If Perkins shows anything, the Ogbuehi era should end.

 

No injuries would be nice.

Lazor's playbook was implemented with the team the moment Zampese got fired, so as far as I'm concerned Driskel got a heads start last year assuming he's allowed to look at the playbook even though he was on the IR all season. If that's not the case then Barkley does have the advantage, but only because he Lazor was his QB coach back in 2013 with the Eagles. None of the guys have stepped up yet, but I'm holding my judgement until the preseason starts.

If Hart is going to be the best option at RT in week 1, then they are doomed. He's literally the worst option to go with and that's hard to believe with Ogbuehi on the team. Fair enough if Fisher isn't ready to start yet, but I have to see who steps up in the preseason first. Completely forgot about Kent Perkins who is in the mix for a roster spot, however I don't believe he's in the conversation to be in the starting role. And as I said before in my preview write up, I cannot see Ogbuehi getting cut at all unless he is the worst guy on the team, and everyone else around him somehow plays really good.

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3 hours ago, johndeere1707 said:

I’ll be watching the offensive line. Hopefully Prive plays a whole half and works on his snapping. I’d like to see some push in the run game and for us to be able to convert 3rd downs on offense. QB play will probably be pretty hard to watch after Dalton. 

Well said. Like I said in another post earlier, I will be surprised if Dalton plays more than 1 drive, so get ready for possibly some bad QB play the whole game.

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1 hour ago, MrCincinnati said:

Lazor's playbook was implemented with the team the moment Zampese got fired, so as far as I'm concerned Driskel got a heads start last year assuming he's allowed to look at the playbook even though he was on the IR all season. If that's not the case then Barkley does have the advantage, but only because he Lazor was his QB coach back in 2013 with the Eagles. None of the guys have stepped up yet, but I'm holding my judgement until the preseason starts.

If Hart is going to be the best option at RT in week 1, then they are doomed. He's literally the worst option to go with and that's hard to believe with Ogbuehi on the team. Fair enough if Fisher isn't ready to start yet, but I have to see who steps up in the preseason first. Completely forgot about Kent Perkins who is in the mix for a roster spot, however I don't believe he's in the conversation to be in the starting role. And as I said before in my preview write up, I cannot see Ogbuehi getting cut at all unless he is the worst guy on the team, and everyone else around him somehow plays really good.

No.  The team openly said that they were keeping the old playbook because it was three weeks into the season.  I'm too lazy to look it up, and honestly don't feel like arguing about it.  They brought it up on the mothership and CJ all the time early in the offseason, but I know you took time off of this for the real stuff (Miami).

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14 hours ago, INbengalfan said:

No.  The team openly said that they were keeping the old playbook because it was three weeks into the season.  I'm too lazy to look it up, and honestly don't feel like arguing about it.  They brought it up on the mothership and CJ all the time early in the offseason, but I know you took time off of this for the real stuff (Miami).

You are correct here.  The playbook stayed largely the same last season.  Team didn't want to change things up after one quarter of the season, hell Marvin Lewis can't even change things up from the 1st half to the 2nd half of a game.

I'm just hoping the OL looks good, John Ross doesn't drop any passes, and we come away healthy...

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17 hours ago, MrCincinnati said:

I've never liked the idea of paying to watch preseason games, they get boring really fast. I already get tired of it after watching the hall of fame game and at this point I'm waiting for a REAL football game.

 

Well, to be clear, the last few years i've bought Game Pass and used it as my only source to watch the Bengals.  I only watched a few games live.  For $100, it was worth it to get my Sundays back.  I would just watch the games later in the week with the condensed version.

But money is a little tighter this year, and i had to ask myself if i'd rather have the $100 or watch the Bengals.  I took the money.

Maybe next year.

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23 hours ago, INbengalfan said:

No.  The team openly said that they were keeping the old playbook because it was three weeks into the season.  I'm too lazy to look it up, and honestly don't feel like arguing about it.  They brought it up on the mothership and CJ all the time early in the offseason, but I know you took time off of this for the real stuff (Miami).

Honestly I didn't even know that was legal. When a coach gets fired, I didn't think they could keep using someone else's playbook that's no longer with the team. Or does the head coach own the playbooks for both offense and defense, and the coordinators just go from there? Now I'm confused.

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7 hours ago, theJ said:

Well, to be clear, the last few years i've bought Game Pass and used it as my only source to watch the Bengals.  I only watched a few games live.  For $100, it was worth it to get my Sundays back.  I would just watch the games later in the week with the condensed version.

But money is a little tighter this year, and i had to ask myself if i'd rather have the $100 or watch the Bengals.  I took the money.

Maybe next year.

I've been going with redzone now since last year. Not because the Bengals are terrible, but because its much cheaper and convenience if you want to watch other games. Honestly I don't even have to pay for that, I just go to a friends house and watch redzone from there, but not all the people I'm with root for the same teams, so redzone at least makes it so everyone doesn't fight over the remote, and no commercials is always a nice thing too.

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First Bengals depth chart is out btw

https://www.cincyjungle.com/2018/8/6/17657372/bengals-depth-chart-bobby-hart-trey-hopkins-nfl-preseason

Things that caught my eye

Tra Carson listed as the #4 RB at the moment above guys like Hill and Flowers for now
Boyd starting over Ross as the #2 WR
Hopkins was not a shock to me, but Bobby Hart at RT was. @INbengalfan was right
Biggest surprise right now is Billings over Baker
Also curious that Jordan Evans is backing up Burfict, so does that mean he would start in his place?
Darius Phillips at the bottom of the CB depth chart, and Josh Shaw moved to S.
Lastly is Erickson listed as the KR and PR starter, lists Phillips as the 2nd KR, but Boyd as the 2nd PR

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