Evaluating play in preseason games is tough. The toughest of all games to evaluate is game one. What was easy to see was this Bengals roster is way deeper and way more talented than the Falcons roster. Along with the overall depth, here is what I noticed watching fake game #1.
Jermaine Gresham – Had 2 good catches and delivered one hell of a blow to Falcons rookie Marcus Trufant. So far, Gresham seems to have taken the drafting of Eifert to heart. He’s drawn a lot of praise through training cam from the coaches, and it appears he’s ready to finally live up to his potential, which is bad news for the rest of the NFL.
Giovani Bernard – He looked good running the ball, but he looked really good receiving out of the backfield. He only accounted for 28 yards rushing om 10 attempts (2.8 ypc), but a lot of that had to do with not having two of his starting offensive lineman. He did show a tendency to dance in the backfield a little too much at times, but that’s something most rookies go through, and he should get that corrected eventually.
Josh Johnson – Man is he fast! He also looked good throwing the football. The backup QB role looks to be his to lose
Mike Brown’s Intensity in his luxury box! He really seemed to be chewing n that roster sheet of his…I also love the look of a man in a blazer, tie, and Bengals hat
Rex Burkhead – Looked good in punt coverage and when running the ball. Could take on the Cedric Peerman kind of role. Ironically, he could be battling Peerman for a roster spot.
Dane Sanzenbacher – Was arguably the star of the night. After falling out of favor with the Chicago Bears and not seeing any playing time with the Bengals last year, the former Ohio State Buckeye looks like he’s still got what it takes to play in the NFL. ON special teams, he had the nice punt return TD, and looked good receiving as well when he hauled in a 36-yard TD from John Skelton.
James Harrison – In his limited playing time, he was a constant presence in the backfield.
The first team defense as a whole was great (except for the bubble screen to Harry Douglas that went for 42 yards)
George Iloka – Has had a good camp and followed it up with a solid preseason debut in his first NFL start. Had a great hit coming up in run support.
Dre Kirkpatrick – He looked good in coverage, and almost came down with an acrobatic interception on the sidelines. Kirkpatrick basically gives the Bengals a second 1st round rookie in 2013
Margus Hunt – He is not only tall, he looks like he can play too. Was constantly around the football, whether it was pursuit in run support, or pressuring the QB.
JK Schaffer – He seemed to be everywhere. Looked to really help himself towards making the team (or at least the practice squad)