I’m excited like every other Bengal fan to see what our team can do. So here I sit, Friday night, kids in bed, watching my team live. What to do? I’m going to write one line of text every time I feel like it that explains how I feel about the game at that moment in time. Let’s see how it goes. Ready? Go!
So it’s the morning after the game, my mind has settled, and realized that most people don’t want to read through all of those lines of text. So the link is above if you’d like to see what my mind looks like on paper after a couple of brews. If you don’t want to read through all of that interesting text but would like to know what it all means, then please, read on.
The preseason is…well…the preseason. We’re all really excited to see our favorite team play for the first time since last season and we’ll take anything we can get. However, the preseason is still tryouts…in front of fans…against other teams. Somehow the coaches must whittle down their roster to 53 and these games are the best way to see who to keep and who to cut. So here is my unprofessional, completely biased opinion of how our Who-Dey squad did against the Jets and their Tebowmania. (Caution: If you like Tim Tebow and think he’s a good player I probably wouldn’t read on.)
What Impressed Me:
- Cedric Peerman – Our 4th string RB had a hell of a night. Cedric has been a huge staple for our Special Teams for the last couple seasons and he showed why when he recovered a blocked punt in the endzone for a touchdown. He also ran one in later in the game to give him a total of 30 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day. Well done sir!
- Special Teams – They definitely put the ‘Special’ in…well…you know. A blocked punt resulting in a touchdown, two punts down inside the 5 and 1/2 on field goals. The missed one was Weber so I’m not concerned. However, the only time ST was mentioned during the game highlights, it was about Tebow playing on ST for the Jets. Really? All he did was try and block Brian Leonard…unsuccessfully I might add.
- Defense – I love how our defense has not missed a beat since last season. This is a top 10 defense for sure, possibly top 5. Our run defense was impeccable. If you take away Tebow’s 34 yards rushing (which I don’t count because he’s a joke) we held the Jets to only 82 yards rushing, and even though we’ve felt a little thin in the back end lately with our injuries at CB we only allowed 57 yards passing AND had 5 sacks AND a fumble recovery AND an interception. WHO DEY!
What I Expected:
- WR2 – Armon Binns and Brandon Tate did an adequate job at their respective positions. They each had 2 receptions for 24 yards each. I was really impressed by the 2 leaping catches that Tate had even though one was out of bounds. I know…I wasn’t expecting to say that about Tate (seeing as I’m not the biggest fan) but both grabs reminded me a little of Chad Johnson and his hands skills. Maybe he’ll turn out better than we expected.
- Tebow – In case you were wondering, I really don’t like this guy. Who can tell me what the main role of a QB in the NFL is? It’s to throw the ball, which he doesn’t do very well. Being fair, he did have a couple nice spirals but what I really can’t stand is how the media focuses their attention on him the entire game when he is just a mediocre player. I was glad to see his first INT at the hands of a diving Vontaze Burfict.
- Hawkins and Leonard – If you read my article last week you know that I’m a big fan of both of these guys. Andrew ‘Baby Hawk’ Hawkins only ended up with one reception and his return skills didn’t really show anything. He dropped the first punt and only got 4 yards on the other. Brian Leonard only had 6 rushed for 12 yards but he did have a great leaping run over a Jets defender. I love it when he does that. I’m looking for both of these guys to step up their game over the course of the preseason if they really want solidify their spots on the roster.
What Disappointed Me:
- Injuries – The biggest fear that any player has in the preseason is getting injured. Travelle Wharton, Rey Maualuga and Carlos Dunlap all went down with injuries in the first couple minutes of the game. The bright side is that Maualuga looks like he’ll be back on the practice field by Sunday and Dunlap might only miss a couple weeks which means he’ll be back by Week 1 of the regular season. The down side is that our 3 million dollar investment in Wharton might get us nothing for the entire season. Clint Boling did step up after Wharton went down and did a great job but injuries are not affordable. Safety Taylor Mays also went down later in the game with a head injury but all initial tests make it look like it’s not a concussion. We need to stay healthy.
- Run Game – We have to be able to run the ball…period. 83 yards rushing (excluding Robinson’s 3) is unacceptable over 5 different RBs. The most came from already mentioned Cedric Peerman, our 4TH STRING RB, with 30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis did pull off one nice run to the outside for 12 yards but that made up more than half of his total 22 yards. Come on guys!
- Goal Line Offense – It’s no secret that we sucked at this last year. You absolutely CANNOT drive down the entire field with great possession and then settle for a field goal at the 4. I’m sure there’s a stat out there somewhere that says how many times we did something like that last season. It probably says something like ‘A LOT’. A botched run by BJGE, a dropped pass by Green and an overthrown pass from Dalton to Gresham to cap a drive that started at the Bengals 20. Unacceptable.
So that’s it. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I know it’s only the first game of the preseason so you don’t have to remind me but these are just my observations. After one 17 – 6 victory over the Jets I feel there are only 2 things that keep us from the playoffs and beyond: injuries and mediocrity.