Five Bengals to Watch vs. The Ravens

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Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) dodges a tackle by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Mohamed Sanu

The Bengals have been raving about Sanu since the beginning of camp this year and the third year wide receiver hasn’t disappointed.  He performed well throughout the preseason while filling in for injured wide receiver Marvin Jones; Sanu accumulated seven catches for 126 yards and a TD.  He’s shown ability in the deep passing game, after catching a 43 yard TD versus the Jets, and consistency in the shorter game where the longest of five catches (for 70 yards) against the Cardinals went for 18 yards.  Geoff Hobson, of, even said earlier this off-season that Sanu was having a “monster” camp.

Because the Ravens possess a very strong front seven, Sanu’s impact may be the most necessary of anyone on offense.  The Bengals may have difficulty running the ball against such a front, but the team will also want to avoid having to throw the ball as much as they did last year against Baltimore (Dalton threw the ball a total of 87 times, in two games, and had seven interceptions).  Making quick throws to the outside will be a great option for the team and Sanu is a great player in such a situation.  He possesses great strength for a receiver while also the athletic ability to gain yards after the catch; both of which are vital towards the success of screen passes.  He will also receive 1:1 coverage primarily because of A.J. Green’s presence.  We saw how great a complementary receiver can be within this offense last year, so taking advantage of these situations will be key on Sunday.

Fans should be excited to see what Sanu can do in this offense.  After being disappointed with his down year in 2013, wide receivers coach James Urban took the blame for it while also asserting that fans will enjoy Sanu when watching him in the coming year.

"“Blame me.  He does so many things well. I spread him a little thin. He’s as frustrated as anybody about those plays. But we know what he does well and you’ll love him when he’s that big, physical guy making that tough catch. He’s a fan favorite and a favorite in the locker room. Good guy, smart guy. You’ll love him when he’s doing the things he does so well.”"

If Sanu can take advantage of the 1:1 match-ups he’ll inevitably see, he could make a real difference in this offense.  Watching him this weekend should be especially exciting for fans.