Carson Palmer finds his target against the Broncos
This week, the Bengals host the Philadelphia Eagles. The game will not be on local TV so check back here for recaps.
This will be the Bengals third preseason game of the season. Normally, in the third preseason game, the starters get a lot of work. However, they still have two more after this. Marvin Lewis has said that the starters could play the entire first half. In the game against the Broncos last Sunday, the first team offense played a little more than a quarter.
Here are ten things to watch for in the game.
Carson Palmer checks out the defense
Against the Broncos, Carson Palmer's throws were on the money. He ended up connecting on 12 of his 15 passes. Two of his three incompletions were broken up by Champ Bailey. The other one went right through Terrell Owens' hands. Bottom line: so far, Palmer looks great.
Of course, it is early. A lot depends on the offensive line play. However, if this is any indication of things to come, the Bengals will score a lot of points in 2010.
Marvin Lewis has not said so but many fans think there may be a battle brewing for the backup quarterback job. That kind of talk seems premature. The younger Palmer threw two interceptions against the Cowboys. He only threw three times against the Broncos completing one.
That does not mean that JT O'Sullivan does not need to step up his game. He misses a lot of throws. When he does miss a throw, he tends to hit his helmet with a preturbed look on his face. It is not fun to watch. O'Sullivan was a starter in the NFL and that holds a lot of weight with some.
Against the Eagles, the battle continues.
Jordan Shipley getting yards after the catch
That Jordan Shipley is excelling should not be a surprise to anyone. Shipley's father was a football coach. He played at a major college program with a great quarterback. He had a stellar collegiate career.
Shipley has the skills to be a great NFL slot receiver. He is active and makes smart moves to get open. If his route does not get him open, he finds an open space free of defenders.
He brings excitement to the game.
Here is a quick injury report:
- Defensive end Robert Geathers has a injured foot/ankle. Expect Carlos Dunlap to get plenty of action.
- Dan Skuta hurt his ankle against the Broncos but should be ready for the Eagles. Look for him at fullback.
- Second year fullback Fui Vakapuna is still dealing with a bad shoulder. Joe Tronzo and Dan Skuta will lead block for Cedric Benson in his place.
- Kyle Cook rolled his ankle against the Broncos which gave us an opportunity to watch Reggie Stephens. Cook will be back in the lineup against the Eagles.
- Brian Leonard has a mid-foot sprain. He is out for the preseason and part of the regular season.
- Safety Tom Nelson is out with a knee injury - Can this guy make the team at this point?
- Rashad Jeanty is out with a leg problem
- Antonio Bryant still has a well publicized knee injury so he is out
- Andrew Mitchell (ever hear of him?) is out because of his knee
Kevin Kolb scrambles
About those Eagles: Head Coach Andy Reid has set the lineup for the game.
Kevin Kolb and the first stringers will play the entire first half. Kolb was 6-of-11 for 95 yards last week against the Jaguars.
Michael Vick and the second stringers will play the third quarter. Vick was 11-of-17 for 119 yards with an interception and a 10-yard touchdown run last week.
Mop-up duties will be done by Mike Kafka and the third stringers.
The first team defense did not play much last week against the Jaguars so this will be their first real test.
Aginst the Cowboys, Jordan Shipley had a 63-yard punt return. Shipley had a 22-yard punt return against the Broncos.
Quan Cosby was one of the league's better punt returners last season, His value lies in special teams and will have a tough time making the team as a wide receiver. If Shipley is the primary punt returner, Cosby could be cut because Shipley offers two roles on a roster loaded with talent. On the other hand, the Bengals may not want a key component of their offense like Shipley returning punts full-time.
Either way, a good game from Cosby (receiving or returning) would help his case.
Bengals offensive lineman Andre Smith was back on the field this week. Since he is practicing, he is no longer a candidate to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform.
The Bengals say he has lost a lot of weight but is working hard. Marvin Lewis thought that Smith has shown a lot of improvement.
This should be good news for Carson Palmer. Dennis Roland is a nice player but does not have the ability of Smith. A healthy, motivated Andre Smith would make a big difference.
Smith will be someone to watch against the Eagles.
The kicker competition is a close one. Dave Rayner has the edge based on his performance. He hit four of five field goals and an extra point against Denver. Rayner also converted a PAT against the Dallas Cowboys.
Mike Nugent, who is recovering from a groin injury, converted two extra points. He'll need to start making some kicks to win the placekicking job. One thing in Nugent's favor is his terrific 2006 season when he tied for 7th best in the league with an 88.9% field goal percentage. Rayner's only full season was also in 2006 but he only hit 74.3% of his kicks.
On kickoffs, Nugent was unable to put the ball into the end zone against the Broncos while Rayner put five of seven kickoffs into the end zone this preseason.
Asante Samuel makes a tackle on Mercedes Lewis
Here is a quick injury report:
- Offensive lineman Todd Herremans is out with a foot injury.
- Jamaal Jackson and Nick Cole are both out with knee problems..
- Running back Mike Bell may play but he has been dealing with a calf issue.
- Running back J.J. Arrington was out last week against Jacksonville but is expected to play.
The last time these two teams met in the preseason was back in 2005 when the Bengals prevailed with a 27-17 victory at Paul Brown Stadium. The Eagles do have a slight edge in preseason games against the Bengals. They have won five games while losing four. The Bengals will be looking to even up the preseason series.
These teams last met in the regular season in a memorable 13-13 tie at Paul Brown Stadium.