Bengals News

Bengals: Preseason Week 2 Takeaways

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Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws a pass after being hit by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback

Josh Shaw

(26) as

Geno Atkins

(97) tries to block the pass during the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Individual Performances: Defense

Cincinnati’s defense, although not as horrific as the offense, was a disaster. It allowed 356 total yards to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that couldn’t run or pass the ball in 2014. Doug Martin was trending on Twitter after a 30-yard run past two missed tackles; fans and experts became optimistic on Martin when just weeks ago, they wrote him off as a nobody! Cincinnati couldn’t stop the run or the pass, and to make things worse, only a few roster bubble players impressed while many were non-factors.

Defensive Line

Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap were their usual selves, although Dunlap was a bit slow to start. Dunlap recorded a tackle but made a couple of errors; he missed a tackle on Jameis Winston’s touchdown run and facemasked Mike Glennon on what would have been a sack, costing the team a sack and giving up a penalty. Atkins recorded half a sack, consistently pressured the quarterbacks, blew up a run play (although he didn’t have any help from his teammates who he freed up to make the tackle) and caused Jameis Winston to draw an intentional grounding penalty on a blitz play pictured above.

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Domata Peko


Wallace Gilberry

again proved that they should not be starters; Peko was one of the two players to miss the tackle on Doug Martin’s 30-yard run and he was manhandled by the Buccaneers’ porous interior line. Gilberry recorded half a sack, but aside from that play, he was a non-factor. And like Peko, he allowed the Buccaneers’ weak offensive line to push him around despite its inexperience. The two players combined for one tackle;

Michael Johnson

will be a huge X-factor for Cincinnati’s defensive line in 2015.

Brandon Thompson and Pat Sims did not play, which gave Devon Still a huge opportunity to prove himself. Still, however, did not step up to the occasion; he recorded two tackles in an unspectacular performance.

Devon Still was one of Cincinnati fans’ favorite players in 2014; he lost weight and came to camp ready to play this season but has been a non-factor all preseason long. Things aren’t looking good for him, although another team will definitely sign him if the Bengals place him on their practice squad or release him.

Marcus Hardison, like Still, was a non-factor; he recorded three tackles but didn’t make any seemingly impactful plays.

DeShawn Williams, however, did step up to the occasion. He made two great run stops and is making a case to earn a spot on the roster behind Atkins, Peko, Thompson, Sims and Hardison. At the very least, Williams will make the practice squad, although I could see another team poaching him from the Bengals and promoting him to its 53-man roster as a rotational player.

No one seemed to step up at defensive end for Cincinnati, although Margus Hunt had a nice little performance. The Estonian recorded three solo tackles, including a strip-sack. Aside from that, however, he was a non-factor; he was manhandled by rookie Ali Marpet on a couple of plays and looks like a potential cut if he can’t follow up his performance with an equally impressive display in Chicago.

Will Clarke had a nice bull rush and didn’t look too reliant on the spin move; however, he was a non-factor, only recording a solo tackle.


Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals linebacker

Chris Carter

(49) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, a position in which some Bengals players stepped up.

First, P.J. Dawson finally looked good. He recorded four solo tackles, including an impressive fourth-and-goal stop. All of his tackles seemed to be impact plays, and John Gruden sang his praise every time Dawson’s face showed up on the screen.

Next, Chris Carter looks like he can make the team as a hybrid DE/LB. He lined up at defensive end in nickel packages and recorded 1.5 sacks.

Finally, Marquis Flowers followed up his nice performance against the Giants with two tackles tonight, both coming around the line of scrimmage in the run game. He also pressured Mike Glennon on another impressive play.

Nico Johnson was less impressive than he was against the Giants, recording three total tackles. He could still make the roster, but he needs another good performance to ensure his place on the roster, especially with Carter emerging.

I want to see more from the starting linebackers; Rey Maualuga and A.J. Hawk weren’t very noticeable, while Vincent Rey looked weak. The linebackers missed more than a few tackles in the run game and looked very slow. With Lamur leaving the game almost as soon as he stepped on the field, the linebackers looked weak in coverage. Vincent Rey started over Lamur and recorded four tackles; it will be interesting to see which of the two earns a starting spot come the regular season.


Dre Kirkpatrick had a couple of nice glimpses–including a pass breakup on Mike Evans–but was burned deep for a touchdown on a cover-zero blitz. Meanwhile, the Bengals tested Leon Hall out at safety on a couple of snaps. The starting corners looked like one of the stronger position groups on the field, but they didn’t make any incredible plays aside from Dre’s pass defense.

Josh Shaw and Troy Hill came back down to earth tonight; although the two combined for eight tackles, they both allowed a few too many catches. Shaw was caught holding on a punt return but made a couple of nice plays. On the other hand, Hill struggled. Just after a fellow writer dubbed Hill a lock for the 53-man roster, he was absolutely exposed against the Bucs. The rookie free agent corner was called for pass interference, missed contain on a run play and was beaten in coverage by a rookie receiver on third down. If he ends up not making Cincinnati’s roster, however, he will definitely find his way onto another roster.

Chris Lewis-Harris was a major liability and will likely be a cut.


The starters didn’t see much action, although George Iloka bruised his kneecap while he was trying to prevent a scuffle between teams. As previously mentioned, Leon Hall took a couple of snaps at safety, so it will be interesting to see if he enters the rotation this season.

Derron Smith and Shiloh Keo both performed well; Smith recorded three solo tackles, while Keo laid a big hit on Mike Glennon and added four tackles.

Shawn Williams also had a nice performance in which he looked energetic and recorded four tackles as well as half a sack.

Erick Dargan looks like he won the competition with Floyd Raven to make the practice squad; he recorded two tackles while Raven was caught with a defensive holding penalty and didn’t make a tackle.

Special Teams

-Tom Obarski made every kick he attempted, but he’s a practice squad option at best.

-Brandon Tate looks like the starting kick returner.

-Giovani Bernard was unimpressive in the return game, while Mario Alford took a kickoff for a 23-yard return and returned a punt 19 yards.

Here’s to hoping that Alford performs well enough in the return game that Cincinnati becomes comfortable enough to release Brandon Tate and keep Denarius Moore.

Next: Team Issues/Injuries