Found August 08, 2013 on
Football and Futbol:
Cincinnati Bengals Twitter Page (@Bengals)
Football is FINALLY back. For those of you like me, today is like Christmas for a six year old. While it is only the preseason, it is still nice to be able to sit down after a day in the office and relax while watching football for the first time since February. The Cincinnati Bengals are slotted to play the Atlanta Falcons for their first game. I have compiled a list of the top 5 things to look for from the Bengals this preseason.
#1- How do the Bengals use Tyler Eifert?
The Bengals top pick in April’s draft; Tyler Eifert was considered one of the top TE recruits out of college since San Francisco’s Vernon Davis. While Eifert was highly touted, the pick was not received without some skepticism due to the Bengals drafting Jermaine Gresham in the first round back in 2010. With the Bengals gearing up their high powered offense with as many weapons as possible and already having an established Tight End, the question that remains is, how do the Bengals use Eifert?
After reviewing their training camp, I noticed that Eifert was being lined up in many different spots. Eifert is a blank slate, and has the size to play TE as well as the athleticism to create mismatches as a wide receiver. Look for Eifert to play different positions this offseason to see a glimpse of the game plan for the regular season.
#2- Who will get the majority of carries?
The Bengals signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis in 2011. In his first season with the team he rushed for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. Not a bad season by any means. But in April’s draft the Bengals took the first RB off the board, Gio Bernard. Both RBs have different styles of running, and are capable of different things. Green-Ellis has the power, while Bernard has the ability to make guys miss tackles. Bernard will definitely be the 3rd down back.
I don’t see Green-Ellis getting a ton of carries in the preseason, but if Bernard takes a chunk of carries with the first team that could be a sign of how they split the carries in the regular season. The Bengals will want to get Bernard comfortable with NFL defenses, so there will be plenty of carries for him throughout the preseason.
#3- Besides Green, Which WR will step up?
Last season there was no established #2 WR to play opposite of AJ Green. My guess is that Mohammed Sanu will be the guy. If not for his season ending foot injury he would have set himself in stone as the #2 guy. After Sanu’s injury Marvin Jones’ targets saw an increase. While he didn’t wow me, he showed that he can be relied upon. Jones however did not travel with the team to Atlanta because of an Ankle injury. Green also did not travel with the team to Atlanta.
Dane Sanzenbacher was on the team last year, and while having limited participation, with Green and Jones not playing he will try to make his case for a slot in the depth chart. The Bengals also drafted Cobi Hamilton in April’s draft. He will see plenty of playing time against the Falcons.
#4- Can James Harrison transition to a 4-3 and resurrect his career?
One of the surprise signings of the offseason was the Bengals nabbing James Harrison from their conference rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Harrison, 35, is now in the latter of his career. He spent his entire career in Pittsburgh in a 3-4 defense. Harrison did not have a stellar season last year, and is hoping to resurrect his career with a young LB core.
I will be watching Harrison closely to see if he can make the transition to a different defense. I’m not worried about his physical well being; Harrison is known for spending a small fortune on the care of his body. He was brought in to be a leader for the young guys, and a mentor for Vontaze Burfict to learn from.
#5- Who will win the Strong Safety position?
Last year Taylor Mays played all 16 games at the SS position. With only 22 tackles, 0 interceptions, and 1 fumble recovery, chances of him starting are slim to none. Especially since George Iloka has established himself as the likely starter in training camp.
While Iloka is the likely starter against the Falcons in the first preseason game, there is still a chance that the Bengals’ 3rd round pick Shawn Williams could win the position by the start of the regular season. Williams is better suited for the position than Iloka.
BEST OF MAXIM
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