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Bengals at Bucs -- Pre-season game 1 --- 8/14/20

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Kickoff as of now still for the evening (was being talked about moving up due to possible tropical storm). 

I heard on one of the pods this AM that Trayveon Williams came up w/ a hamstring issue during practice yesterday. If he is out, more opportunity for Jacques Patrick and Chris Evans.  (ZT already said Mixon/Perine would play not very much). 

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also, not for nothing, but I think we are gonna get slaughtered.  Buc playing both 1st strings apparently for at least a few series - including Brady. The Bucs defensive line is fierce, so we will find out quickly if Michael Jordan has improved or not. I am not hopeful on that count. 

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https://theathletic.com/2768839/2021/08/13/5-most-interesting-storylines-to-watch-as-bengals-kick-off-preseason-against-bucs-on-saturday-night/?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

5 most interesting storylines to watch as Bengals kick off preseason against Bucs on Saturday night - Dehner

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CINCINNATI — The first dress rehearsal of the 2021 season arrives Saturday night at the home of the defending Super Bowl champs.

Three weeks of training camp set the foundation for what will be the most important elements to track against the Bucs, next week at the Washington Football Team and in the preseason finale against the Dolphins.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor talked about how he views the three-preseason game format versus the old four-game, which ramped up to the third game containing the most playing time for the starters. He makes it sound like the third game against Miami will largely resemble the old fourth game where all the reserves and roster bubble players take the field.

There could be a rare exception if they wanted to use it to get a series for Joe Burrow before the opener, but don’t expect any large stretches of game action for proven veteran starters.

No decision has been made on Burrow taking preseason snaps, but we only know he will not this week. He will go through a rehab session on the field before the game and hang out on the headset during. Expectations are we will hear a decision on the Washington game very early next week, likely Monday.

There are still a number of important storylines that will unfold and I’ve outlined what you should be keeping an eye on not just Saturday night, but going forward.

1. The rotations at right guard
Through the first two weeks of camp, a few truths emerged. Quinton Spain appears to have a lock on the left guard spot. He’s a veteran, he’s trustworthy, he’s motivated, he’s reliable. He’s a predictable answer to a problem spot in recent years.

“He’s a veteran who does it the right way,” Taylor said.

That leaves right guard wide open over the next three games. We see the first chapter Saturday night.

The race essentially boils down to three: Xavier Su’a-Filo, Michael Jordan and Jackson Carman. Fourth-round pick D’Ante Smith caught the coaches’ eyes over the first few weeks, but he slots more as a backup to Spain on the left side.

The question Saturday will focus on how many snaps each of the three get, when they get them and how different those rotations look against Washington. The known quantity here is Su’a-Filo. He still needs reps and looks to me like the early leader in the clubhouse almost solely due to his 58 career starts. Jordan needs to prove he’s a different, more consistent player than he showed the last two seasons. He’s said and done all the right things to this point but needs to be notably better than the rest to get a second chance at protecting Burrow. Carman looks like the longshot despite what many thought when the Bengals selected him in the second round out of Clemson in April. He’s fighting out of the doghouse. The good news for him is he hasn’t played a single snap yet. If he can prove to be a beast when the lights come on, the Bengals might give him a chance to prove it in the regular season. For now, he’ll start from the bottom, likely playing out the string in the second half Saturday.

2. Linebackers Markus Bailey and Akeem Davis-Gaither
One of the players most victimized by the lack of preseason last year was Bailey, the 2020 seventh-round pick out of Purdue. He was battling back from injuries but never got a chance to put optimism about the direction of his game on tape. This training camp Bailey showed up making plays on the ball. He will be fun to watch in his first extended look at linebacker.

There’s room for a real impact here. While Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt appear locked in the starting nickel role, it’s open behind them. Bailey playing well in the preseason could lump him into third in the pecking order. Much of the same can be said for Davis-Gaither, though, we got more of a feel for his game last year as he saw a decent amount of playing time during the season.

“Bailey’s just a great example of a guy who got minimal reps last preseason,” Taylor said. “His first time stepping on the field was in games where he would get maybe a handful of snaps in those games. Now everything has just slowed down for him and Logan (Wilson) and Akeem and all those young linebackers you can just see the trajectory that they are on that we always expected and that’s been great.”

Both should see a large number of snaps and either could play their way into or out of a real role on defense depending on their performances.

3. Running back breakout
Running backs have it rough. They are already devalued by the league, then the opportunities to come from off the radar are limited to these three games and whatever limited opportunities they are afforded running behind five guys likely to be cut next month. Such is life, though, as the Bengals wage their battle for the final spots in the running back room the next three weeks. You just can’t really judge backs in camp. You need to see them cut, break tackles, show power and vision. It has to come in the games. For Trayveon Williams, that’s been tough. Last year would have been a prime chance for him to impress and stay at the front of the team’s plans. He got none of it. Now he’s battling impressive sixth-round pick Chris Evans, out of Michigan, who has shown fantastic, natural hands out of the backfield. Both should see a heavy load of opportunities the next three weeks. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine will be limited in their snaps. This will all be about Williams, Evans and Jacques Patrick playing to their level.

“So really, for all of those guys, it’s pass protection,” Taylor said. “We see it against our defense. They don’t get a ton of opportunities all the time, but now you get a defense that’s going to throw some different stuff at ya and you get a chance to see how they handle that. So really all three of those guys fit in the same category for me.”

4. First-string defense against Tom Brady
Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians shockingly said Brady and the run-it-back crew will be playing Saturday against the Bengals. Expectations are for just a series or two. For a defense that spent much of the last two weeks feeling good about themselves and building hope to dig out of the bottom quarter of the league, you can’t start with a better opportunity to prove yourself than this. Brady’s time might not last long but it’s a good chance for the first group to be tested fast then take a rest. Most of the veterans on defense will see their snaps limited, but can’t get much more out of those than going against the GOAT. What will it look like?

5. Can Ja’Marr get loose?
As with every year, many eyes will focus on the first-round pick in the preseason. This year will be no different with No. 5 overall pick Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals brought him in to add the explosiveness often missing with Burrow and the passing game last year. Even though he won’t catch passes from Burrow on Saturday in Tampa — and potentially at all this preseason with the QB’s status TBD — he still can show off his ability to run after the catch and get behind the defense. Having that on tape would be a nice message to send to the Vikings and even better boost of confidence to help Chase continue to build his foundation of progress toward the start of the season.

 

 

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3 hours ago, membengal said:

Kickoff as of now still for the evening (was being talked about moving up due to possible tropical storm). 

I heard on one of the pods this AM that Trayveon Williams came up w/ a hamstring issue during practice yesterday. If he is out, more opportunity for Jacques Patrick and Chris Evans.  (ZT already said Mixon/Perine would play not very much). 

Tough break for Williams if that’s the case.

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Yeah hopefully the standard late afternoon rain there despite the tropical storm, and it ends by kick-off.  No one needs to watch a bunch of back-ups playing in pouring rain in preseason! 

I did enjoy watching Justin Fields for the Bears today - he's going to be fun to watch and will push Dalton if Dalton fails to win games for them at some point.  I say that as a Bucks fan though, will be watching a lot of Bears games this year I think.

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7 minutes ago, ShulaSteakhouse said:

Yeah hopefully the standard late afternoon rain there despite the tropical storm, and it ends by kick-off.  No one needs to watch a bunch of back-ups playing in pouring rain in preseason! 

I did enjoy watching Justin Fields for the Bears today - he's going to be fun to watch and will push Dalton if Dalton fails to win games for them at some point.  I say that as a Bucks fan though, will be watching a lot of Bears games this year I think.

Pretty sure we will NOT be seeing Dalton in week 2...

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The guy not playing tonight doing not surprising things:

 

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Goals: perform well enough to seem half competent and suffer no serious injuries.

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That would be nice. Like I said earlier in the thread, I fully expect the Bengals to be slaughtered. Compare the Bucs' inactive list with the one I posted earlier for the Bengals...

 

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