While the Bengals saw their dreams of an undefeated preseason end last night with a 27-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, there were a number of positive signs to take from the game that the team can look to build on as they approach the final two weeks of preparation for the start of the regular season.
Geno Atkins continued to be a force on the interior of the defensive line. He was inGreen Bay’s backfield all night long, whether it be pressuring Aaron Rodgers or stuffing Packers RBs all night long. Unfortunately his teammates weren’t getting pressure from the outside which allowed Rodgers to scramble and make plays out side of the pocket, but none the less, Atkins was a beast. Against less mobile QBs, he may have had 2-3 sacks last night, and only looks to have improved from last year’s 7.5 sack season. I expect him to be in the Pro Bowl and contend for a selection on the All-Pro team.
Jeromy Miles continued to make the case as to why he should be the starting safety, or at the very least be heavy in the rotation at defensive back. He lined up at both safety and corner last night. His best play was right before the half when he had a deflected a pass in the flats while covering Greg Jennings on 4th-down to give the Bengals the ball. He even had a deflected pass while at corner covering James Jones. Its been nice to see how Miles has gone from special teams ace to swiss-army knife for the Bengals defense.
Marvin Jones continues his great preseason as he scored the only Bengals TD last night when Bruce Gradkowski hit Jones on a 15-yard TD pass to bring the Bengals to within 4 points, the closest they would be all night. He’s made at least one big play in every preseason game, and h’es not only a lock to now make the 53-man roster, it will be very hard for the Bengals to keep him off of the 45-man gameday roster. If Jones continues to improve at the rate he has, he may wind up being the Bengals answer for a definite #2 WR.
Brandon Tate also made his case as to why he should remain the #2 WR, as he hauled in several tough catches, including a tip-toe catch along the sidelines against Pro Bowl CB Tramon Williams. He continues to show that he’s developed into a true receiving threat after spending his first three NFL Seasons as primarily a return man with raw receiving skills. After many predicted before trianing camp he would be one of the final cuts, he’s locked in to being in the top-4 of the receiver rotation.
Andy Dalton showed good poises despite poor passing numbers. He was facing a relentless onslaught from Dom Capers and his Packers defense, butDaltoncontinued to try and make plays, even leading the team in rushing as he had several nice scrambles. His confidence never seemed to waver, which is a key attribute for any QB to have. Every QB will have bad nights like last night, but its how well they rebound that makes them a good NFL QB. Andy Dalton is a good NFL QB.
Later, we’ll look at what I didn’t like from last night that could be a real concern for the Bengals.