After a long offseason away from football, the NFL preseason is back. One of the most exciting aspects of the preseason is seeing the young stars and the off-season roster acquisitions on the field in game action.
Narrowing down the list of players we hope will play well is almost impossible. The fact of the matter is that we want everyone to perform well for a myriad of reasons.
There are second-year pros we want to see take the next step. Cincinnati drafted eight rookies who we want to see dominate every snap.
The team signed free agents, and we are excited to see how the coaching staff plans on using them. Not counting the 22 starters who are unlikely to play, there are 68 guys we hope to perform well.
We hope everyone, especially the players new to the team, comes in and sets the world on fire right away. There are some we want to see dominate right from the start. Whether it is to secure a roster spot, take the next step, justify a signing or draft pick, or see if the hype is real, here are seven Cincinnati Bengals we hope play well in the preseason opener.
Jake Browning and/or Trevor Siemian
The backup quarterback is the most popular guy in town for an NFL team that does not have a franchise quarterback. Luckily for Bengals fans, we don’t know about that life... anymore.
However, who Joe Burrow’s backup will be this season is still up in the air like a Brad Robbins punt. Trevor Siemian and Jake Browning are engaged in a training camp battle to determine who the number two quarterback will be. The competition will play itself out over the preseason games but one of them needs to show that he is the guy.
A worst-case scenario for the Bengals brass is if neither Siemian nor Browning can instill confidence that the team can win games if Burrow is out due to injury.
The hope is that No. 9 will return in time for the regular season opener but if, for some reason, he is not, the team needs to have an option they feel good about heading into the regular season. Also, it is a long season, so having a competent backup could be critical to every team’s playoff chances.
Hopefully, either Browning or Siemian can separate themselves from the other and cement himself as the backup going forward. In doing so, whichever plays better than the other performs well enough to show the coaching staff and fans that the offense is in capable hands if the backup needs to see action in the regular season. Otherwise, the team may have to look for another option, which would not be ideal.
Let’s hope Browning and/or Siemian play well enough so that it doesn’t come to that.