The Cincinnati Bengals went into Jacksonville Sunday night looking to tune up some things on both sides of the ball, before heading to New York to face the Jets on September 11th. While the starters looked good, on both sides of the ball, the second and third teamers left a lot to be desired.
Injuries have been a big problem throughout the Bengals offseason. Tonight did not make that problem any better. In the first quarter, A.J. Green came up limping to the sidelines with a knee injury. According to the numerous media outlets, the injury is not considered to be serious and he looks to be ready for the season opener. Also, Pro Bowl cornerback Adam Jones hurt his calf while warming up prior to the game. Like Green, his injury is considered to be minor. The big injury news came to special teams captain Cedric Peerman, who fractured his left forearm. This is a big blow to a roster that is already struggling with injuries.
Wide Receiver Derby
The top three receivers for the Bengals are already known. While A.J. Green did not get much work in, this left a great opportunity for wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd to get some much needed chemistry in with Andy Dalton before the regular season starts. With LaFell missing the previous few weeks due to a hand injury, it was especially critical that he get some work in with the first team. Unfortunately, he did not catch a pass until A.J. McCarron threw his way late in the 2nd quarter. Two receivers who really shined were Cody Core and undrafted free agent Alex Erickson. Erickson had a nice 21-yard touchdown reception over the middle and had multiple punt returns, all for positive gains. He is almost a lock to make the final 53 man roster with his performances in the first three preseason games.
Even though they lost, the Bengals have a lot of things to be proud of after this game. The starters looked crisp. Andy Dalton, without his top wide receiver A.J. Green, was efficient and led the Bengals to two touchdown drives. Geno Atkins and company looked equally as impressive, holding the explosive Jaguars offense to just three points in the first half. The second and third teams did not look so well, which should be an area of concern considering the lack of depth the team is already working with. The final preseason game will have a lot on the line as players on the roster bubble fight for a spot.