The preseason has finally arrived! The long awaited football drought thought by most red-blooded Americans to be the most dismal part of any year is over. It’s time to break out the pads and start hitting players from opposing teams. Excitement is all over the place – radio, internet, social networking sites – everywhere. Everyone is gearing up for what he or she hopes will be that fantastic season that they so desperately want their team to have. It starts with the first preseason game.
In the preseason, especially game one; there are things that need to be watched with a keen eye, and other things that do not matter. Things of what not to watch for such as individual stats, the offensive and defensive schemes, and overall scoring will not be in this article. All of these things hold no bearing to the potential success of a football team for the upcoming season. Player stats will be misleading because of constant substitutions between first, second, and third team offenses and defenses. Schemes will be very vanilla as coaches want to get players feet wet and do not want to showcase their playbook to the rest of the NFL. Overall scoring should be the least of anyone’s concern because it doesn’t matter who’s third string players are better at a glorified 11 on 11 drill. So let’s get to the things we should all be looking for.
First off, the preseason opener is to showcase the talent on the roster in the second and third string teams. These will be the backups, rookies, undrafted free agents, and free agent veterans all vying for a spot on the 53-man roster. For the Bengals, players such as Vontaze Burfict, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, George Iloka, Dan Herron, Vincent Rey, and Dontay Moch will get a chance to showcase their skills for both the Bengals coaching staff, and for other teams around the league should they not make the final cuts. Watch players that are in intense battles to try to win a roster spot that could be up for grabs by anyone at that position. Wide receiver, linebacker, and safety are three of the top position battles in Cincinnati right now and each player should be closely scrutinized during this game.