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Bengals-Colts Review

It was a very impressive show by the Bengal offense Thursday night as the final cuts just got even more difficult for the coaching staff and Owner Mike Brown.  With the first-teamers getting very few, if any, snaps, it was the back-ups that shined; each making their individual cases to stay on the team.  The 30-28 Bengals victory proved that the team can, in fact, occasionally score points, and that the back-ups could play with confidence. 

On Thursday, we reviewed the more interesting subplots and roster battles. Here’s a postmortem on each: 

Mike Nugent & Dave Rayner:  The kicking battle has been touted as one of the most competitive on the team.  I made the case that while Rayner has been the more effective and consistent on the field, Nugent had the inside track due to his pedigree.  My belief was that Nugent would have to lose the job against the Colts.  He won it.  While Rayner was as consistent and reliable as ever, hitting his only field goal attempt from 39 yards, and both extra points, Nugent trumped him with a 52-yarder and a 34-yarder.  The 52-yard strike was his second 50+ yard shot of the year, and it pretty much sealed the deal for the former Buckeye.  Assuming Nugent stays healthy, he should give the Bengals the long-distance potential that Moonlight Graham never could. 

Jerome Simpson, Dez Briscoe, & Matt Jones:  These three guys were playing for one spot on the team.  Matt Jones should have his bags packed after failing to make the stat sheet and looking listless and disinterested. He seemed to think his fate was already sealed.  This could perhaps be due to the job Simpson did in leading all Bengal receivers with 6 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. In the final game of the preseason, Simpson finally started to show some of his potential. He even managed to get some more playing time on special teams this week, although he was credited with a muffed punt that gave the Colts an extra possession.  Simpson was not the return man on the play, and it could be argued that he couldn’t have avoided touching the ball.  Briscoe looked ticketed to the practice squad until he scored from 50 yards out on a nice double-moved that completely faked out Colts DB Terrail Lambert.  My money’s on Simpson at this point, with Briscoe heading to the taxi squad if he clears waivers.  Jones will hit the road. 

Daniel Coats:  Coats got one catch for 6 yards, and worked as both a second tight end and at fullback.  I called this guy the Bengal bad penny, and at this point it looks like he lucks his way into a roster spot…again. 

Cedric Peerman & James Johnson:  “JJ” had a solid game with 45 yards on 8 carries and one catch for six yards, but Peerman blew him out of the water.  If the team carries four backs, Peerman is the guy that stays.  The former UVA Wahoo had a fantastic cut-back run for a 93 yard score, showing surprising agility and speed.  He finished with 6 carries for 100 yards.  He also added four catches for 14 yards and a nice 50-yard kick-off return.  At this point, with both Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott, and Brian Leonard all missing portions of last season with injuries, Peerman looks like a solid bet to make the team.  His versatility and knack for the big play this preseason make him a safe pick. 

J.T. O’Sullivan & Jordan Palmer:  Neither back-up had distinguished himself during the first four games, causing coaches and fans alike to voice their concerns.  Both players responded with excellent outings.  O’Sullivan finish 9-for-12 for 102 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.  Palmer finished 10-for-14 with 114 yards and 2 touchdowns and no picks. Both quarterbacks led scoring drives and looked more confident and in command.  I’m still pulling for Jordan to get the #2 job at this point.  Looking at the full body of work, Palmer’s been better. 

The Bengals finish the preseason at 3-2.  The team must reduce their roster to the 53-man maximum by 6:00 PM on Saturday. 

More on the roster shakedown coming soon!

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