Wow, preseason football is already here and it’s go time for the Cincinnati Bengals. After Marvin Lewis and company practiced with the New York football Giants this past week at Paul Brown stadium, the two teams squared off in the first preseason game of 2015 for both squads last Friday night. There was lots of chatter about how good Bengals 3rd year tight end Tyler Eifert looked, and how no one in practice could cover AJ Green. This seemed very evident Friday, when the Cincinnati Bengals scored with ease on the New York Giants, as quarterback Andy Dalton finished 3 for 3 for 31 yards on a crisp opening drive for the good guys.
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Don’t look noticeably bad and don’t get hurt. These are the two rules for any NFL team this preseason. The Bengals as a whole conquered the first task to perfection. The Bengals offense amassed 442 total yards and didn’t allow Eli Manning and the Giants offense to get a first down for the first 14 minutes of the first quarter. As for the second part, well that’s easier said that done. With injuries to Rex Burkhead, Darqueze Dennard, and Shawn Williams, the Cincinnati Bengals will find the second task is easier said than done.
With the Cincinnati Bengals going to Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football (8:30 EST ESPN Monday Night), their focus has to be the same. Don’t look noticeably bad and don’t get hurt. The Bengals have taken a lot of heat the past few years by looking dreadful at times on prime time, or getting that freak injury on national television, ie Geno Atkins. The Bengals need to come out an perform and make life miserable for rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, who will be making his home debut this Monday night.
Tampa, under head coach, Lovie Smith, is looking to turn the page from last season’s dreadful 2-14 record. All focus will be on number one overall pick Jameis Winston throwing Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, while commanding his offense down the field. The real story needs to be how crisp the Bengals look and how Andy Dalton and company are a contender in the regular season. If Winston hits the turf a couple times by Geno Atkins, or Carlos Dunlap, then that wouldn’t be a bad thing either.
The Bengals focus going into next Monday night has to be domination from start to finish. The starters have to show well and pick right back up where they left off this past Friday. If they can do that, in the hostile, hot and humid environment that is Tampa in August, then they certainly will make a statement and look ready to start their 2015 campaign on the right foot. If the Bengals do not, however, they will leave the entire nation scratching their head and objective one, don’t look noticeably bad, will have failed. The Bengals cannot go into Raymond James stadium on Monday night and get banged up at multiple positions, or the second part, don’t get hurt, will also fail.