Bengals: 5 things to watch in preseason Week 1 vs Buccaneers

Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Michael Jordan, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

This Saturday, Cincinnati Bengals fans will get their first taste of NFL action in 2021 with the preseason opener against Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay.  While the big names will see limited action, Brady and Burrow likely none, plenty remains at stake.

Roster spots are at a premium, and with rookies and veterans battling for playing time, there will be several intriguing subplots to keep an eye on. Here, we highlight five of them:

Cincinnati Bengals Preseason Week 1 – What to Watch

1. Competition is fierce at offensive guard

The biggest talk of training camp so far has been the offensive line. It’s no surprise, considering the performance of last year’s unit. While changes have been wholesale, the scrutiny from national media is unrelenting.

The Bengals dropped their first depth chart of the season on Monday, and the incumbent at right guard came as quite the surprise.

Michael Jordan will begin his path to redemption against the Buccaneers, but can he hold onto the job for the start of the regular season?

While fans expected second-round selection Jackson Carman to be a starter from Day 1, the snaps he takes later in the game will now be vital. His lowly position on the depth chart could simply be a ploy to spark him to action. If not, he has a lot to prove.

Be sure to keep your eyes on D’Ante Smith, this year’s fourth-rounder. He has been pegged as a backup guard after impressive displays in camp. At 6’5″, he projects as a tackle, but he will be more than happy to steal starting snaps on the interior.

Smith could be an outside shot to line up at starting guard for Week 1 against the Vikings, particularly if he continues his upward trajectory. Expect him to see action all along the line during pre-season.