Training camp is finally underway and there is a lot of optimism from Bengals fans and players alike. The team is currently wearing shirts with the letters “DNO” on them. We are told that this stands for “Destination New Orleans”. Of course New Orleans is where the Super Bowl will be held this season. Marvin Lewis was not too happy when his players let the media know this information and tried to quell any hype by saying that this is the goal for any NFL team every year, you want to get to the championship game and get a win. Regardless, this team is primed for another run at the playoffs as quarterback Andy Dalton stated in the locker room during an interview. There are still some question marks surrounding the team, however, and this article will attempt to predict what will happen in certain scenarios during training camp and the preseason that will inevitably lead to the answer of who makes the final 53-man roster.
1. There will be a rookie starting at the number two wide receiver position.
When mini-camps were in session, Brandon Tate and Armon Binns were splitting almost 100% of all first team snaps. Neither receiver has shown any continuous flashes early on in training camp and apparently the coaches have noticed. More receivers are now rotating out of the first team offense during drills and two players that have seemed to be on point thus far are rookies Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones.
Sanu has been rotated between the first and second team receiving corps and also has been getting shots in the slot. His first team reps have greatly risen over the past couple days and he has shown some good consistency at this point at the position. That is what offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is looking for. Number one receiver A.J. Green is as solid as they come and a tremendous play maker. This means that the number two receiver needs to be steady and reliable, something that the Bengals have been looking for since the departure of T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
On the other hand, Jones has been showing some brilliant flashes as well. He isn’t the largest wide receiver, but he was able to hold his own in the Oklahoma drills and has shown his blazing speed time and time again, constantly beating members of the secondary deep. He has a much different skill set than that of Sanu, but he brings a big play threat to the field whenever he is given an opportunity. His size and speed resembles that of one of the biggest play makers in the leage, DeSean Jackson. There is a good possibility that we may see a timeshare at the number two receiver this season between these two rookies.