The majority of Bengals defenders were down on their performance on Saturday night as the Dallas Cowboys offense went up and down the filed on a unit expected to be among the league’s best, but weakside linebacker Vontaze Burfict is confident that he and his teammates will be able to improve from it because of Mike Zimmer:
You learn from it; especially from Zimmer. He’s going to go in the film room and show who did what wrong and point it out. Playing under him, you don’t want to mess up two times in a row. Especially the same thing.
That’s a good team out there. Tony Romo extends plays. I don’t know if we played with focus today. We had some good plays, but on third down we came up short.
Taylor Mays, who’s competing for a starting spot at strong safety, echoed those thoughts:
I have to go back and look. I’m sure Coach will coach me. The only good thing about it is it’s preseason. We’ve got a tough defense. We just have to get better. We made some mistakes. But I feel like the mistakes we made were things we’ve done well … that was a really good test for us. At the same time we have a lot potential. We have a lot of work to do. … For me and everybody on the defense we have to be consistent every single down.
Longtime Bengal Domata Peko thought it was a great wakeup call for a group of players who may have been letting all of the positive press get to their heads:
You kind of get the feeling that everyone has been praising us. We were the best defense. Blah-blah-blah. It kind of gets you back to reality. I’m excited it happened to be today and not in Chicago. It was good to get us back to reality. And what you have to do now is go back to work, put your nose down and start grinding.
As far as positional battles have gone this summer with the Cincinnati Bengals, none have been as intriguing to watch as the one between fullback John Conner and H-back/tight end Orson Charles. It’s not just a matter of a positional battle, but a philosophy battle as well. Do you go with Conner, a true FB who will enhance a running game that has been devoid of consistent play over the past three seasons?
Or do you go with Charles and opt to use an H-back, who can offer descent run-blocking, but operates more as an added receiving that out of the backfield in an offense that has lacked pass-catching options outside of A.J. Green?
Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com broke down the snap distribution of both players during Saturday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and by the sounds of it, he sees Charles having a very slight edge over Conner at this point:
Tough one to call here if you’re going by the Saturday snaps. Conner got four and Charles two. But Charles nearly had twice as many snaps on special teams, 11-6. Yet on the first third-and-one, Conner rolled out and paved the way for BJGE’s six-yard run. But Charles also made hay as the lead blocker Saturday. Maybe the number of special teams snaps is a guide and maybe it’s not but it highlights Charles’s versatility. Conner is clearly a better lead blocker because he’s done it. But what Charles has going for him is he has been trained in two spots and he can do more damage in space. Yet in the end the Bengals could opt for that crushing fullback.