Bengals vs Redskins: Who steps up to lead the pack?

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates as he runs in for a touchdown during the NFL International Series Game between Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium on October 30, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates as he runs in for a touchdown during the NFL International Series Game between Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium on October 30, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /
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When the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Washington Redskins in Week 3, there will be a lot of questions to answer. This game has to be the cure-all.

Preseason Week 3 is upon the football universe and the Bengals need to get things in order. After getting blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs, the feeling around Bengals Nation is one of discontent and concern. The defense looked like it was unsure of itself and the offense still failed to produce in the red zone. With the regular season looming, Sunday’s tune-up game against the Washington Redskins is a crucial matchup.

It’s funny to put the word “crucial” in the same sentence with preseason games. But, the Bengals’ Week 2 showing is evidence that they need to get it right before teeing off with the Ravens. If they bring the same effort against Baltimore, the result will be an L and 0-1 start. Not a good look for a team trying to prove a point.

The Washington battle (4:30 p.m., Fox) will be a chance for the vets to step up and show teammates what needs to be done in the upcoming season. No excuses, no failed attempts. A level of intensity has to be reached for the rookies to match.

On The Defensive Side 

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There are whispers that this could be one of the best units the Bengals have had. But, that didn’t look like the case in Week 2. The defense looked like the slow and aging squad that needed an overhaul. There were missed tackles, poor judgment on angles and a general lack of passion.

It’s preseason. Players aren’t trying to get hurt. We know this. But, letting those things keep the fire and drive suppressed is not acceptable. WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict will have to be one of the vets getting the defense on track. Last week, Burfict was one of the statistical leaders with six total tackles, three solo takedowns, and a sack. Evidently, his fire is there. He has to bestow that same energy and desire onto the rest of the Bengals’ D.

Nick Vigil made himself known to the world against the Chiefs. He played a smart, tough game that proved he’s come a long way. Now, he has to get the most out his fellow defenders against Jay Gruden’s gang. Vigil has been one of the bright spots during training camp and continues to improve each week. In short, his eight total tackles against the Chiefs is proof that he has a nose for the ball.

The intensity starts with the defense. Burfict, Vigil, Geno Atkins, et al need to show up prepared to cause damage.

Who Comes Through For The O?

Really? Do I need to explain it? The first line of responsibility falls on Andy Dalton. In Week 1, he looked good moving the offense down the field. But, the 12-play drive ended with an INT in the red zone. There can be no more of that. All things considered, this Bengals offense has the potential to be one of the scariest in the league. Yet, there’s not a chance of that happening until Dalton and Co. score TDs. Yes, the offense is moving. But, running up and down the field between the 20-yard lines means nothing. Yardage doesn’t win games.

Believe it or not, Jeremy Hill had a good showing last week. Hill was able to get 28 yards on six carries. Not much in terms of total yards. But, his average was 4.7 per carry. That’s where the running game needs to be for success in the AFC North and beyond.

Next: Who Dey Notes

Essentially, Hill needs to keep that intensity and show that he means business this season. It’s not enough to talk about being the starter. It has to be proven on the field.

Given these points, Sunday night should answer a lot of questions. In essence, all answers have to say the Bengals are ready for Week 1.

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