Bengals Preseason Game 2: Keys to the Game

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With the top two running backs, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott shelved this week due to injuries; look to see how the rest of the corps does in their absence. Brian Leonard and Cedric Peerman will lead the pack and should get all of the first team reps. After they are pulled from the game, it will be time for Aaron Brown and Dan Herron to prove they have what it takes to belong on this squad. Both backs received limited reps in the first preseason game and Herron especially had a very poor outing. He should be looking to redeem himself against Atlanta.

Keep in mind that this week both team’s offenses and defenses will still be running mostly vanilla schemes. They will allow some plays to show, but for the most part the playbook for the 2012 season will still be hidden. It is more important for coaches during this time to get their players analyzed and work on techniques and timing rather than dump their entire playbook on them in a game that doesn’t count.

The starters should play a bit more this week as the coaching staff will want them to continue to gel, however, don’t expect to see them past the halfway point of the second quarter. With that said, do not pay attention to the final score, just as was stated last week. Unless certain tragedy strikes, there will be no point in the season when a field is filled with backups trying to win a football game.

Lastly, this is the first away game played by all of the Bengals rookies. Watch to see how they fare in a hostile environment when the crowd noise will be magnified by the dome in which they will be playing. On offense, rookies need to hear the snap count and stay on the same page with Dalton if he tries to audible at the line. On defense, players need to get into position and communicate with teammates before the snap if they are to make any changes in their scheme based on what they see from the offense.

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