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MrCincinnati

Preseason Week 1 Buccaneers @ Bengals

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Another NFL season is finally upon us. The Hall of Fame game already has passed and NFL Junkies across the land has been given what they wanted, a little taste of what’s to come. But most fans look forward to their favorite team’s first game, and that’s really when Bengal nations season officially starts.

After a very disappointing season of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the Bengals now find themselves in a unfamiliar role as a team flying under the radar, and now must show that this team still has enough talent to make another playoff push.

The first roadblock of the season is the Buccaneers who took a big step forward last year at 9-7 and now appear to be poised to prove themselves as well, and aim to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. The first preseason game per usual is a game where the starters barely play, so it’s always a game about who has the better depth. Add to the fact that Tampa Bay is hosting Hard Knocks this year, it’s a good test to see if the Bengals depth is still true to its word.

GAMEDAY INFO

Game time will be on Friday at 7:30 PM ET.  Here is a list of channels you can watch it on, if you live in one of these areas.

     
Chris Myers, Ronde Barber
WFLA (NBC/8 - Tampa)
WOFL (FOX/35 - Orlando)
WOGX (FOX/51 - Gainesville)
WFTX (FOX/4 - Fort Myers)
WTLH (FOX/49 - Tallahassee)
WPMI (NBC/15 - Mobile AL)
  Brad Johansen, Anthony Munoz
WKRC (CBS/12 - Cincinnati)
WKEF (ABC/22 - Dayton)
WSYX (ABC/6 - Columbus)
WDRB (FOX/41 - Louisville)
WDKY (FOX/56 - Lexington)
WLIO (FOX/8.2 - Lima OH)

The game will be replayed on NFL Network 2 times. Here are the following days and times.

Saturday 8-12 / 1 AM ET
Tuesday 8-15 / 1 PM ET

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

5. Kicking the Season off – One of the biggest failures from last season was the Bengals kicking game, which single handedly cost them at least 3 wins on the season. Now with Mike Nugent gone, the Bengals got serious about finding a long-term replacement and went out to actually drafted not only a kicker, but were the first team to do so in this year’s draft. Jake Elliott was not the guy I expected they would draft, but now it means they have a potential answer. Rookie kickers have been known to have a bad track record though, just look at Roberto Aguayo’s numbers from last year. Elliott is the heavy favorite right now, but he still has to outperform Randy Bullock who’s been having a good camp so far. For once in my life, I’m actually excited to see some field goal attempts.

 

4. Bottom of the WR order – Lots of talk has been about the top 4 Bengals WR’s for this year, but since John Ross won’t likely play in the first game, I’m looking more at the guys competing for the final spots. Alex Erickson and Cody Core, two guys who had to step up to the plate last year because of injuries, now both find themselves fighting to keep their jobs. Erickson made himself the most noticeable guy last year in the preseason, and went from a long shot to earning himself the KR duties last year. Core was a guy that also impressed enough to earn himself a spot as well and eventually had to start a few games when guys like AJ Green and Tyler Eifert went down to injury. One offers more on special teams, while the other offers more in the passing game, making this a very interesting battle. In a perfect world both guys make the team. Oh and there’s also rookie Josh Malone who could play an X factor role when it comes to the WR depth right now. He’s not expected to contribute his rookie year since his best case scenario is becoming the #5 guy, but if he plays in the preseason, maybe that will change their minds.

 

3. DL Makeover – The Bengals pass rush as well as their run defense was a major problem last year, so the team finally had enough and decided to hit the reset button with that unit for the most part. The result was using 3 of their draft picks very early to solve that problem. Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson were both big steals in the draft, and the hope is that one of them will replace Michael Johnson very soon. Ryan Glascow was a bit of a surprise pick, but the Bengals love to draft DT’s in the 4th round it seems. Also there’s Andrew Billings and Marcus Hardison, two guys who did not play last year because of injury are now expected to contribute this year, especially Billings who’s most likely to replace Peko. There’s also a lot of guys competing for a roster spot such as Wallace Gilberry, Will Clarke, Pat Sims, Deshawn Williams, Brandon Thompson, Chris Smith, and Josh Tupoh all competiting for 1 or 2 more spots. Mainly I’m paying attention to the 5 guys in Willis, Lawson, Glascow, Billings, and Hardison, but this will be a fun group to watch all preseason.

 

2. Mixon it up – Without a doubt the player that will have the most eyes on him for the Bengals not only this game and the preseason, but for the entire season for that matter. Jeremy Hill who the Bengals had high hopes after his rookie season, has been a major disappointment the last 2 years now and they finally had enough. And with Gio Bernard’s health being a question back in April, the Bengals decided to pull the trigger and draft Joe Mixon, the guy everyone couldn’t stop talking about. Everybody already knows about the baggage Mixon carries with him, and the fact that this team could potentially have been the worst landing spot for him given the problems that Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones present. But as far as talent goes, you might be looking at the next Adrian Peterson and not because they both played at Oklahoma. The Bengals draft class theme this year has been “high risk high reward”, and the hype Mixon has been getting, he could get this team back to its winning ways or maybe even more than that. I’m surprised the NFL Network didn’t pick to televise this game on Friday to be honest. The amount of praise he gets is great, I just wonder if his football expectations are being set too high, especially given the fact that he doesn’t have a good OL to run behind. Speaking of which…

 

1. OL or nothing – If you’re looking for the land of opportunity, look no further than the entire Bengals OL. The elephant in the room and the constant thing we've heard about all offseason, is how bad this OL looks. Once a very good group for the past several years became a major problem last season, and they only got worse. The two best players they had in Whitworth and Zeitler both went to new teams and the Bengals did almost nothing to replace them. They are banking on their top 2 draft picks from 2 years ago in Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher to rise to the occasion, and show why they were drafted so high. They also brought back Andre Smith who will be expected to fill the void for Zeitler at G for now. Realistically I’m looking at every single OL player on the team, and I want to see which ones are going to step it up. I want to see Westerman who should have been drafted higher last year, maybe emerge as a starter. I want to see guys like TJ Johnson, JJ Dielham, Alex Redmond, and Trey Hopkins who not only are fighting for a spot, but maybe potentially get themselves an opportunity to start down the road. But the most important thing, I want to see the starting OL as whole play good and see which guys are going to emerge as the new leaders of the pack. Because looking at the 5 starters, all of them had disappointing 2016 seasons, yes even Clint Boling and Russell Bodine. Most of the time the starters don’t play very long in the first preseason game of the season, but I think that won’t be the case this time at least for the OL anyway. Right now this group needs as much work as it can, and if this team wants to make the playoffs, the season rides behind the 5 men who will battle in the trenches.

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I'm going to be focusing on both lines during the game.  How both lines will do is going to determine the season.  I have no doubt that this defense can be elite, but they need to be able to generate more pressure.  The pieces are all there,

 

As for the o-line, what else can be Ced that already hasn't (pun intended).  Hopkins appears to be emerging.  Westerman needs a chance, I still don't understand bringing back Andre, and the young tackles have to take positive steps forward.

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The line will be very interesting to watch. See how the interior line handles McCoy. 

 

I hate not being in the Cincy market and not getting to watch the game live. Really excited to see Jackson and Billings in this game as well. 

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10 hours ago, ochocinco4pres said:

The line will be very interesting to watch. See how the interior line handles McCoy. 

 

I hate not being in the Cincy market and not getting to watch the game live. Really excited to see Jackson and Billings in this game as well. 

Can you at least get it on radio?

Yes I'm also interested in seeing WJ3 play his first game as well, especially considered the Buccaneers got some good depth at WR.

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I'm sure I can find it on radio. But I'll Likely wait for the replay to watch on Saturday. So pumped for the first game 

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23 hours ago, ochocinco4pres said:

I hate not being in the Cincy market and not getting to watch the game live. Really excited to see Jackson and Billings in this game as well. 

I'll be watching it on Gamepass.  At least until the starting line comes out.

I think @MrCincinnati hit on the things to watch perfectly.  I'll be focusing on the lines just like @INbengalfan said.  When the starting offensive line gets taken out, i'll probably stop watching.  Personally i'd have them in there for at least a quarter, preferably two.  Way longer than the rest of the starters.  That unit needs to get gel.

On the defense line, they have so much depth i imagine we'll see regulars until sometime in the second quarter.  Long after all the big names like Dunlap and Geno leave the game, we'll be seeing Willis and Glasgow.

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@ochocinco4pres - definitely not free.  It's $100 for the year.  Get live preseason, and recorded regular season games.  I buy it so i can do whatever i want on Sunday and watch the condensed version of the game Sunday night or Monday morning.  Beats the pants off watching commercials for 3 hrs and a game for the other 30 minutes.

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32 minutes ago, theJ said:

@ochocinco4pres - definitely not free.  It's $100 for the year.  Get live preseason, and recorded regular season games.  I buy it so i can do whatever i want on Sunday and watch the condensed version of the game Sunday night or Monday morning.  Beats the pants off watching commercials for 3 hrs and a game for the other 30 minutes.

that is smart. I just dont think I could keep the outcome hidden and once i know the outcome I am not that interested in watching. 

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2 minutes ago, ochocinco4pres said:

that is smart. I just dont think I could keep the outcome hidden and once i know the outcome I am not that interested in watching. 

I would spend most of the day going places or out in my pole barn working on my projects.  It wasn't hard to avoid the scores for me.  But even the couple of times i didn't bother avoiding the scores, i still enjoyed watching the games.  It's funny - i know the result, but i still am hanging on the edge of my seat hoping they'll pull it out.  

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22 minutes ago, theJ said:

I would spend most of the day going places or out in my pole barn working on my projects.  It wasn't hard to avoid the scores for me.  But even the couple of times i didn't bother avoiding the scores, i still enjoyed watching the games.  It's funny - i know the result, but i still am hanging on the edge of my seat hoping they'll pull it out.  

Weirdo

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3 hours ago, johndeere1707 said:

Weirdo

Well that's fair i guess.

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5 hours ago, theJ said:

I would spend most of the day going places or out in my pole barn working on my projects.  It wasn't hard to avoid the scores for me.  But even the couple of times i didn't bother avoiding the scores, i still enjoyed watching the games.  It's funny - i know the result, but i still am hanging on the edge of my seat hoping they'll pull it out.  

That sounds horrible...I would rather sit on my butt and do nothing all day but drink than do work in a pole barn...

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