Traveling to Jerry World, the Cincinnati Bengals face a tough test against the Cowboys. These are the positional storylines to keep an eye on.
Following the first preseason action for the Cincinnati Bengals, some players made a strong case to climb the depth chart, and others didn’t quite play to expectations. QB Jeff Driskel and WR Auden Tate were the stars of that comeback victory, connecting on a beautiful pass in the end zone. The Bengals face a new test this weekend in America’s Team, but look for similar story lines in this game.
Offensive Line Changes?
Guard Christian Westerman played well with the second team against the Bears. Earning a spot on Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week, Westerman proved he can compete with this unit. OL coach Frank Pollack didn’t seem impressed with the news, and through his comments explained why Westerman definitely has improvements to make.
Look for Westerman to get his reps at right guard along with Alex Redmond and Trey Hopkins, as the competition to start is still wide open. They will all have their hands full containing the Cowboys’ pass rush.
Aside from starter Andy Dalton, the backup QBs definitely had their chance to shine last week. Then-backup Matt Barkley didn’t exactly perform well with underthrown passes and he just looked uncomfortable. Jeff Driskel took the reins and showed that he deserves the spot for now. With more reps to come this game, look for both to have a second chance with the offense. I do expect though that Driskel will start first with Barkley appearing later.
Tate Making a Case
In a wide receiver group that continues to compete with speed and athleticism, one player rose above the others (6’5” to be exact), and that is Auden Tate. The rookie continued to show he deserves a roster spot, especially as a red zone threat. Aside from the game winning touchdown, Tate has a vertical and hands that will challenge every DB who guards him.
In a crowded group, look for Tate to have a big game this week and make it harder to deny his rise. Also, look to see if he takes any snaps on special teams, as this would help solidify his spot on the final roster. He is definitely a player to watch moving forward, especially if any injuries
or set backs happened to the current group. We could see him enter game action even sooner than last week.
Linebackers with Veteran Vincent Rey Out
Veteran Vincent Rey left the first preseason game early due to injury, and Brandon Bell had the opportunity to get more reps. Now he just sits behind Nick Vigil, who has had his fair share of injuries in prior seasons. Bell has continued to improve in camp and practices, so look for him to appear early on and play most of the game in Dallas. He will have his hands full with Cowboys players on that electrifying offense.
Other positions will be interesting to watch as well, and we could either see the same storylines told or a new headline appear out of a different position battle. Look for post game analysis on everything Bengals following the game. Week 2 for the Bengals begins tonight against the Cowboys at 7 pm in Jerry’s World.