Amidst all the hype over Hard Knocks, I think the Jungle has overlooked one very important piece... Football starts today! Thats right, jaw crunching hits, long bombs, and the entire pre-pre-season anticipation and work is finally coming together for some "real" football games. And while the pre-season tends to be overlooked, I thought it would be fair to put together a list of all the things to watch for in our pre-season debut against the Saints.
A) Offense Line work. While the saints "D" has been slightly worse than mediocre the past few years (Otherwise known as the Michael Bay ratio) l I think we all know that it is CRUCIAL to see how the O line holds up this year. Last year's group was the worst in the league, maybe even little league, but Anthony Collins has shown some promise as has Witworth. If this group can keep Carson upright and pop open a few holes for Cedric then I have to assusme in the next few weeks we'll all think Andre the Giant is referring to that big guy in the Princess Bride
B) Getting to the QB - Unlike the Saints "D" their "O" line is perhaps the best in the game. Opposing teams had a grand total of 13 sacks against a pass happy team. With all the talk about our improved "D" the Bengals got to the QB as often as the shy kid gets the hot girl at prom. If our line can put pressure on Brees (maybe one or two sacks) and slow the running game in the first half, then our "D" will have gone a long way towards reaching legitimacy.
C) Life after Hoosh - I know we are all missing Hoosh, but I am excited to see if Chris Henry and L. Coles can fill the void. Cason hooking up with those guys for one or two deep passes would be a great sign for our offense
Again, to most, pre-season doesn't mean anything. But for a Bengals fan, I'm excited to see sings of life after a dismal 08 campaign. With Carson back, a revamped O line and an up and coming "D" I'm more excited to shout "Who Dey Baby?" than I have been in years.