The start of the Cincinnati Bengals training camp is right around the corner, with rookies reporting on July 23 and the veterans on July 26. As the stripes gear up to run it back, some players will need to make a splash in the preseason to make the team or move up to a starting position.
How vital are preseason games to rookies and backup players? Crucial when trying to catch the eye of the coaching staff.
The Cincinnati Bengals have three preseason games for players to show off their skill sets and prove to the coaching staff that they can impact the team. With staters having limited playing time, it gives rookies and non-starters the opportunities to experience game-time situations so each game is significant for making the final roster or moving up on the depth chart.
All stats courtesy of ESPN
Pooka Williams – Receiver/Returner
Heading into his second year, Pooka Williams has the opportunity to use his extensive play-making skills to impact the special teams unit. Coming out of the University of Kansas, Williams was an explosive running back that had the ability to make people miss when he ran with the ball.
Due to a loaded running back room and Williams only weighing 174 pounds, he was quickly moved to the receiver room last season. Wanting to make the team but never returning kicks, he took on a new challenge. In only one game against the Chargers, he had three kickoff returns for 52 yards, 25 yards being the longest. Williams showed his athleticism to be a contender in the return game.
Long-time Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons even mentioned that Williams was someone to keep an eye on in his second season.
“Pooka is somebody that is going to be an intriguing guy to see how his development has gone from year one to year two.”
If Williams was able to develop his return skills while on the practice squad last year, he could use these preseason games to show his quickness and agility to play a vital role in the return game.