I'm not convinced that many questions were answered against the Packers last Monday Night. Chris Perry, Ben Utecht and Keith Rivers aside, the Bengals as a whole was partly disappointing. Not jump-off the bandwagon disappointing, but we realize (well, I realize) that this team has way more work to become anything related to the idea of success. We still don't have a front-runner for that number three receiver, the defensive tackles were partly unnoticeable and the cornerbacks, while up on the line of scrimmage, didn't really disrupt the timing of underneath routes while at times losing position on the vertical routes (uh-hum, David Jones).
There were positives, but the Bengals have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. A few notes heading into Sunday night.
- Three AFC North teams won during opening pre-season weekend with Cleveland being the lone losing team.
- The last time the Bengals played the Lions, the game was in Detroit and Kenny Irons was lost.
- Kitna lost his cool during Wednesday's practice.
- The biggest problem that Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell are having is getting off the line of scrimmage, learning it's much more difficult in the NFL.
- Marvin Lewis has a record of 1-1 during the pre-season against the Lions (1-0 during the regular season). Rod Marinelli is undefeated (1-0) against the Bengals during pre-season play (27-26 win last pre-season).
- If Rudi Johnson (5,742) rushes for 706 yards this season, he'll pass James Brooks (6,447) for second-place in franchise history. Corey Dillon leads all Bengals with 8,061 yards rushing.
- The Lions first-team offense ran the ball seven times and gained only eight yards during their 13-10 pre-season opener against the New York Giants. Of 59 total offensive plays, the Lions ran the ball 35 times.
- In that pre-season opener, Kitna completed six of seven passes for 106 yards and a touchdown (perfect rating of 158.3). Calvin Johnson caught four receptions for 78 yards and the team's lone touchdown.
- Lions coach Marinelli points out the basics that he wants to see: run the ball, stop the run and don't turn the ball over.
WHO: Detroit Lions [Pride of Detroit]
WHEN: August 17, 7:35 p.m.
WHERE: Cincinnati, Ohio
MEDIA: Television coverage will be conducted by the local team of Paul Keels and Anthony Munoz on Channel 12 (Cincinnati), Channel 22 (Dayton), Channel 45 (Dayton), Channels 6 and 28 in Columbus, Channel 36 in Lexington and Channel 41 in Louisville. The game will be rebroadcast at midnight on Fox Sports Net Ohio at midnight. Same radio coverage as always.
US?: We'll be on the site, talking, chatting, drinking, eating, etc.
SERIES: Pre-season, the Bengals are 18-16 (9-8 when they're the home team). The series is the most played in Bengals pre-season franchise history. The Bengals are 6-3 during the regular season against the Lions.
WEATHER: Mostly Sunny, high of 86, 20% chance of rain. [Weather.com]
Things I'm looking for.
- A better start by the starting offense, with the return of Rudi Johnson and hopeful return of T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
- Willie Anderson playing.
- Better tackling by the defense, and Marvin White wrapping tackles rather than assassination attempts with legendary head shots (not that I don't mind, just make a wrapping tackle every once in awhile).
- Improvement on the defensive front, save for Robert Geathers, that includes pressure from the from the front four on the quarterback.
- Keith Rivers starting at WILL while Brandon Johnson could start at SAM (or vice versa). With Jeanty out, it would seem to me that the better combination would be Brandon starting over Darryl Blackstock.
- Chris Perry continuing to stand up after a play.
- Better blocking by non-starting offensive linemen.
- Round two of Who Wants To Be The #3 Wide Receiver.
- Eric Ghiaciuc against Lions' defensive tackles Chuck Darby (297 pounds), Cory Redding (295), Shaun Cody (310) and our old friend, Langston Moore (305).
- Doing a better job lowering average yards per run by the Bengals defense.