Bengals vs. Titans: “Catch Up” Notes
Aug 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs the ball in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
It’s game day Bengals’ fans and all of you should have the chance to head into the game with a wealth of knowledge. But alas, life is busy and not everything can be about football (though it’s not for a lack of effort here at Stripe Hype). We want you to know what to expect when the Bengals take the field today versus the Titans. So here’s some “catch up” notes as you prepare for today’s game.
The Titans come into the game in good health. Cornerback Jason McCourty comes into the game as “questionable” after being limited at practice all week, but other than his possible absence, the Titans should be at full strength.
As for the Bengals, it’s the polar opposite. Bengals star receiver A.J. Green will likely play, but has been dealing with a nagging toe injury.
Defensive “heart” Vontaze Burfict is likely out following his second concussion in two weeks as is starting right guard Kevin Zeitler with a calf injury. He hurt it taking on two blockers en route to a Giovani Bernard touchdown.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones and tight end Tyler Eifert are also out today. For a complete list of Bengals injuries, see this week’s injury report.
Titans To Watch Out For
Defensive end/tackle Jurrell Casey was a monster last year in the middle (10.5 sacks). He’s picked up right where he left off having already produced two sacks this year. He compares favorably to Geno Atkins, so you understand what to expect. Keeping him from collapsing the middle of the pocket needs to be a focus for the offensive line.
The Titans also possess a strong secondary including familiar foe Bernard Pollard. Stretching the field and keeping him unfocused on the running game will greatly improve the Bengals’ chance of establishing a solid running game on the day.
I’m interested to see if the Titans employ little know linebacker Zavier Gooden more often than they have. The Bengals have established a pretty good edge rushing game thus far and Gooden is an athletic freak who possesses the speed to go sideline-to-sideline.
As for the offense, stopping the run will be key. Running back Shonn Greene leads a dynamic backfield including “swiss army knife” Dexter McCluster and rookie runner Bishop Sankey, the first running back taken in this year’s draft. Limiting the backfield’s effectiveness will be key for the Bengals.
Bengals Who Need to Step Up
Running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill need to exploit a potentially vulnerable Titans’ running defense. Their secondary is strong with McCourty, Wreh-Wilson, Pollard, and Griffin, so establishing the ground game should keep this group honest in coverage.
With Burfict likely out today, Vincent Rey will get a chance to step up. He performed fantastically in Rey Maualuga’s stead last year when his fellow linebacker suffered a concussion and knee injury. Here’s what Rey did in his three starts last year.
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The Bengals will need Rey to step up today helping keep the Titans running backs in check.
Could We See Geno Atkins Return to Form?
Geno Atkins has been quiet thus far this year producing only two sacks. He’s working his way back from a torn ACL last year, so the slow start is expected. But Atkins has begun to show life producing plays like this.
He’ll face a strong interior line where the Titans start Adam LeVitre, Brian Schwenke, and Chance Warmack, so we’ll see how far along Atkins is.
Other Notes of Interest
The Bengals enter today’s game with a 10 game regular-season, home winning streak. Hopefully, they can go undefeated at home once again this year.
This is the first time the Bengals have faced the Titans since Dalton’s rookie year (2011); other than a preseason game last year. That game saw the Bengals come away with a victory, 24-17, at LP Field in Nashville.
If you need help finding where to watch/listen to today’s game check this out.
For more information on the game see the rest of this week’s articles from Stripe Hype.
Bengals vs. Titans: Game Preview
And for some thoughts from the Titans sideline: Bengals vs. Titans: Q&A with Titans’ Editor Dave Bevan
Enjoy the game.