Week 1 of the preseason is in the books for the Bengals, and as evidenced by the 60,000+ fans in attendance at Paycor Stadium, football has been missed. So what can we glean from the first organized, glorified practice in mid-August?
Joe Burrow is Back! (kinda)
After doing very little physical activity while recovering from an appendectomy, Joey B was on the field running sprints pre-game. While any preseason action is unnecessary, if Burrow can return to practice in the next week or so, he should have plenty of time to get back into tip-top condition prior to Week 1 on September 11th.
Jessie Bates is Back! (kinda)
No, Jessie has not signed his franchise tender. He was, however, in the stadium rooting on his teammates from a suite. Does it mean anything? Maybe, or maybe not. But for anyone debating Bates’ leadership and desire to play for this team in 2022, it was a resounding message. It seems his return to the team could be imminent.
The Young Bulls on Defense
Multiple times, rookies Zach Carter, Jeff Gunter, and Dax Hill flashed impressive playmaking ability. Gunter finished the day with a sack as well as a pass deflection on a screen pass. Carter also had a pass deflection to go along with his four tackles, and Dax Hill narrowly missed making an insanely athletic interception in the end zone. The future is bright for this team, and the defense is no exception.
Brandon Allen Suffers an Injury
Allen was knocked out of the game after just three pass attempts and was later diagnosed with a concussion. With Burrow missing practices the past couple of weeks, Allen has been an integral part in keeping the offense on track throughout training camp. If Allen is to miss time, and Burrow is not yet ready to return, the Bengals would be relying on their QB3 to keep things moving throughout camp.
The (Backup) Offensive Line is Offensive
Granted, the Bengals were playing just one “starter” along the line in Jackson Carman, but the backups struggled mightily. Isaiah Prince allowed a strip sack, Hakeem Adeniji was regularly beat at multiple positions along the line, and Carman himself played poorly. Bengals fans are hopeful the new additions along the line, along with Jonah Williams’ continued development are able to mask whatever deficiencies exist at the Left Guard position. However, the depth is a very real concern, as one injury could force any of these reserves into action and Burrow back into survival mode.
The Bengals will be back at it again Sunday, August 21st against the New York Giants for preseason game #2.