The AFC North showed a lot during the first week of the preseason. The Ravens and Bengals took a win in their first preseason game, while the Browns loss to the Redskins and the Steelers loss to the Jaguars in a late time thriller. After watching each of the four games I came away with some interesting takeaways. Specifically player wise.
Cincinnati Bengals Pat Sims, Troy Hill and Greg Little are making noise in camp; trying to prove their worth. Each of them made big plays in the first game of the preseason, but lets see if what they did made them a lock for the final roster or gave them a closer shot of making the back end of the depth chart.
The Cincinnati Bengals have had a very crowded DB depth chart over the last few seasons. With the departure of Terence Newman to Minnesota an extra spot has opened up. This perhaps could be Troy Hill’s spot after a couple more strong preseason performances like he should against the Giants.
Troy Hill came out of the University of Oregon, where he played along side division rival Brown Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. These two players dominated and if it wasn’t for Ekpre-Olomu injury and Hill’s suspension they would’ve been drafted much higher than they were.
The 5’10, 182 lb corner had a strong performance on Friday against the Giants, In his short time on the field, he had 4 tackles and 2 pass defensed. It is very obvious that Leon Hall, Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones, Darqueze Dennard and Josh Shaw are all locks to make the roster, with likely one spot left Hill in my mind is making a name for him self in Cincinnati. Hill is the early dark horse to make the last spot on the DB depth chart.
Greg LittleOct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Greg Little (88) makes a catch during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Little played for the Cincinnati Bengals last year, but the Bengals elected not to bring him back right away. They didn’t want to bring him back because he struggle with getting open and most importantly struggled with catching the ball. The Bengals eventually brought him back once James Wright went down with an season ending injury.
Although Greg Little was playing against back ups he seemed like he put both of his flaws behind him. Little had three catches for 65 yards as well as a beautiful 42 yard pass that Little caught on the sideline practically diving. Little’s second chance with the Bengals could be the year Little becomes a complete wide out.
That is if he can make the roster. With other players such as Green, Jones and Sanu virtually locks. It leaves a wide open back end of the depth chart. Brandon Tate, Mario Alford, Greg Little and Denarious Moore will be competing for three spots most likely. While they all offer something different. Greg Little will be looking to be the No.4 he may actually be able to make a impact there.
Pat Sims is back and he reminded everyone in Cincinnati of that in his first preseason game back. Pat Sims Mad a remarkable play when he burst through the Giants offensive line and obliterated running back Andre Williams. It was perhaps one of the best moments of the game. For me and all of Bengal Nation we got to breathe a little bit knowing that we won’t have to worry about Domata Peko trying to unsuccessfully stopping the run.
Pat Sims has a job and does that job very well, he always has. If there is any one Bengal defensive tackle that should be a roster lock besides Geno Atkins it should be Pat Sims. Yes, Domata Peko is a great teammate, leader and locker room guy, but he has stop producing on the field. Brandon Thompson should be a roster lock and Marcus Hardison as well.
Whether Cincinnati decides to keep four or five defensive tackles, Pat Sims has to be one. Cincinnati can not go through another year of letting teams rush up the middle. Pat Sims must be a roster lock.