Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Preseason Week 2 Heroes and Villains

I present another edition of Preseason Heroes and Villains. Sorry to have disappointed last week, but I was unable to watch the game and writing one of these based solely on highlights is just pointless.

Before I get into the whole song a dance, I'd like to point out that for a third straight week a Bengals preseason game was nationally broadcast. The HOF Game was on NBC, the Denver "Tebow" game was on NFL Network and last night's game against the Eagles was on FOX. No more Bengals games will be on national TV, but it's fascinating that out of five preseason games, three were seen by a national audience. Only three regular season games are slated for primetime for the Bengals this season, so their preseason popularity is odd. I suppose the Tebow debut and the last minute TO signing had a lot to do with it though.

About TO - I would make him a hero, but I've got a lot already. Basically he's doing exactly what he's expected to do (get open downfield and catch the ball) which is good because L. Coles never could last season.

Alright, we'll start with the bad:

Villains

QB J.T. O'Sullivan - The guy just does not have a great deal of consistency or accuracy. The start of the third quarter was horrendous offensively. He did get things going a little bit at the end of quarter, but a missed field goal kept his efforts off the score board.

K Dave Rayner - Speaking of the missed field goal, come on! It was only from about 35 yards. Rayner supposedly had the edge over oft-injured Mike Nugent, but missing from so close probably evens the battle. It would be nice to have a dependable kicker (like Philly - Akers never missed). I wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals signed a kicker off the waiver wire in the final cut down days.

QB Carson Palmer - I'm kind of short on villains, otherwise I wouldn't lump him in here. But he did throw two interceptions, the first of which was especially ugly. The larger beef in my mind is that despite spurts of activity, Carson could not maintain drives. I don't think the Bengals first team offense ever went three and out, but picking up one first down then punting doesn't do a lot for you.

OT Andre Smith - Well he certainly looked like he'd only been practicing for a few days. Two holding penalties, one false start, one sack allowed, several pressures allowed. Smith needs to clean up his performance quickly or we'll have to rely on Dennis Roland again who is actually worse than Smith even when Smith's conditioning isn't great.

Heroes

OT Andre Smith (again) - There was talk at one point of him going to the PUP list and missing the first six games of the season. So the mere fact he's on the field so early is extremely encouraging. He entered the game midway through the second quarter, and played into the fourth, a good amount of playing time. And Scott's TD run did come on Smith's side of the line. He's doing some things right, and if we can get half of his potential the O-line will be OK.

FB Joe Tronzo - It looks like Fui Vakapuna might lose a training camp battle to an undrafted rookie for the second straight season. Tronzo has started two games in place of Fui, and has looked damn good. He also set a key block in the Scott TD run, as well as several good Benson gains (he is a fullback, so maybe setting blocks for running backs shouldn't be so surprising). I've also seen Tronzo catch a couple passes, which Jeremi Johnson never seemed capable of. More impressively, Tronzo played the entire game - he started and he was still in with the third unit.

RB Cedric Benson - As a receiver! He got stuffed at the line several times despite otherwise fine runs. But a knock at Benson has been his lack of contribution as a receiver. But against the Eagles Benson showed promise, catching several passes from Palmer and turning it up field for respectable gains. Concerns about Brian Leonard's injury absence can be partly silenced with competent third down play from Benson.

CB/PR/KR Adam "Frogger" Jones - He doesn't want to be called Pacman anymore, but I like video games nicknames, so I'll call Adam "Donkey Kong" Jones a wide variety of classic video game characters until I run out or stop caring. But "Space Invader" Jones (I kind of like that one) did return several punts and even a kickoff, and all were at least for respectable returns. He also isn't a total liability in coverage, and looks to be an upgrade over last years biggest weakness: nickel cornerback.

DT Geno Atkins (97) - three preseason games, three and a half sacks! He took down Mike Vick, the quickest, most elusive quarterback in football. As a fourth round pick, Atkins thus far looks to be a steal.

CB Morgan Trent - three interceptions in one game. I thought the cornerback battle was basically over, but Trent just made a big case for a roster spot.

Ah hell, just about everybody played well. It looks like we lost offseason acquisition safey Gibril Wilson for the year though. It also looks more and more like we'll have to say goodbye to WR/PR Quan Cosby as Adam "Centipede" Jones and Jordan Shipley are gifted kick and punt returners in their own right, with higher value at other positions. I'm sure Cosby and his 11 yard punt return average will land somewhere, but I hope like hell it isn't Pittsburgh.Posted byTeenage_Mustacheat9:29 AM0comments: Post a Comment

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