Preseason game two is in the books and all the talk is about how great the first team offense and defense looks for the Cincinnati Bengals. Andy Dalton was perfect; literally, he completed eight passes on eight attempts for 144 yards including a beautiful 43 yard pass to Mohamed Sanu that resulted in a touchdown. Yes, the Bengals offense looked in synch and the Bengals starting defense held the Jets to 3 points in the first quarter.
Where was Darqueze Dennard? The Bengals first round pick suffered an apparent hip injury at some point in the 2nd preseason game. No word on how serious the injury was, but the point is, these injuries are real. Very real. Just ask 2012 first round pick Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was hurt early in his 2012 campaign and some say if he doesn’t perform this year, he will be a bust of a first round pick. Dennard may miss key time with his injury and really hurt his player development.
Okay, that is a little bit of an overreaction, but it is safe to say that these injuries certainly add up and can jeopardize any chemistry that is apparent this preseason. What the Bengals showed against the Jets was no accident. This is the result of preparation, hard work, and performance, and yes, preseason. This should not diminish the fact that the Bengals are very serious about their bid to not only make the post season for a fourth consecutive year, but to actually make a run in the playoffs.
This can only be accomplished if the guys they want to start stay healthy. With a week four bye and a grueling schedule that is the result of winning the AFC North last season, the Bengals need all the healthy bodies they can get. Yes, with preseason the Bengals are going to err on the side of caution when choosing not play certain players, but the list of injuries include Vontaze Burfict, Rex Burkhead, Jason Campbell, Darqueze Dennard, Jeremy Hill, Marvin Jones, and AJ McCarron. Not to mention both starting tackles didn’t play, Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth respectfully.
As important as it is for the first team offense and defense to look sharp and crisp, it is just as important to get out of preseason unscathed and without injury. As good as it is to see Andy Dalton completing pass after pass, and the defense laying the wood early and often, it is just as nice to see no major injuries out there. The Bengals need to put on a good show, but more importantly stay healthy with such an early bye week.