4 projected Bengals starters who need the most playing time in the preseason

  • Dax Hill needs reps after not playing a ton as a rookie
  • Nick Scott, the other presumed starting safety, needs to learn his new team's system.
  • Rookie Brad Robbins needs to punt in an actual NFL game.
  • Will Chris Evans be able to shine?
Cincinnati Bengals safety Nick Scott (33) walks between drills during an off-season workout inside
Cincinnati Bengals safety Nick Scott (33) walks between drills during an off-season workout inside / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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1. Chris Evans 

Running back Chris Evans will need every opportunity to show not only should he be on the final 53-man roster, but he also deserves more playing time during the season.

No, he is not projected to be the starting running back. However, according to the Bengals' depth chart, he is the starting kick returner.

Usually, that honor goes to fellow running back Trayveon Williams. However, Williams is dealing with an injury and will probably be held back by the coaching and medical staff. This gives Evans a chance to take over the starting kick returner job.

We have seen Evans perform admirably on kick-return duties. Despite having nearly no experience in that part of the game while at Michigan, he showed explosiveness in that area in the NFL. Now he will have more opportunities to do so.

Another factor in his favor to win this job is that the Bengals might prefer having Williams, once fully healthy, as the primary backup to Joe Mixon. This could be the case for the first part of the season while rookie Chase Brown gets up to speed with the ins and outs of his new offensive scheme.

If Evans can be a consistent threat on kick returns while Williams is out, the former Wolverine could hold on to the job.

Before Evans can think about that, he will need the reps during the preseason to show the coaching staff that he can be counted on to do it. Being first on the depth chart is a good start.

It remains a mystery why Evans does not see the field more often on offense. If opposing kickers allow him to bring back a few, and he can lock down the return job, that could be a key to unlocking more chances on offense for the talented running back.

There is a slight possibility the coaching staff chooses to use the third preseason game as what was known as the dress rehearsal. Taylor has opted against that approach thus far. We shouldn’t expect him to change course now.


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Therefore, look for all the players mentioned here to get plenty of reps in the first two games of the preseason. Once the hierarchy is set, expect this coaching staff to hold out all the starters for the third preseason game.