Bengals: 5 Things to Watch vs. Cardinals

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Darqueze Dennard is likely out…the Cornerbacks

Aug 16, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard (21) warms up before the game against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Because the backup receiver job(s) and the backup cornerback jobs are somewhat linked, as previously mentioned, it seemed logical to go here next.  When Darqueze Dennard played against the Chiefs, the other potential backups played significantly less.  With Dennard out, there will be more snaps to go around and the coaches will be watching closely to find the best depth and most capable special teams players.  The “roster bubble” group is made up of R.J. Stanford, Chris Lewis-Harris, and a few long shot corners who seem to be battling for a practice squad spot; safety-linebacker hybrid Taylor Mays could be included in this discussion, but his versatility probably has him on the roster at this point.

R.J. Stanford is a fourth-year veteran who has specialized in special teams play thus far in his career.  He possesses great speed and could fill in perfectly as the Bengals’ gunner on coverage units.  Stanford also has experience playing corner in the NFL when filling in at times for both the Panthers and Dolphins at different points during his career.  He’s a good all-around defender and speed always helps on the field.  If Stanford can step up against the Cardinals quality receiving core, he will begin to solidify his role with this team.

When considering third-year veteran Chris Lewis-Harris, the Bengals will need to also decide if they want to wait for CLH at the beginning of the season as he was suspended for the first two games of the season after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  CLH has been a solid defender for the Bengals when called upon sporadically.  He hasn’t been a standout on special teams, but seems serviceable.  If CLH is to make this team come September he’ll need to significantly outperform Stanford during the team’s final two preseason games, something he’s failed to do so far.