I'll be brutally honest. My emotions regarding Friday night's game are blurred. Nothing is clear. On one hand, I liked a lot of what I saw. The offensive line was far more impressive than I expected them to be. Chris Henry looked like a far more complete receiver than he was his rookie season; he appeared like a legitimate number one receiver. Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott previewed the possibly of being a great one-two combination. Chad Ochocinco had a long reception -- most of which he earned on his own -- and a nice 18-yard grab on third down while he was falling backwards. Laveranues Coles is tough. Keith Rivers seems stronger than last year and much more aggressive. The more I watch Domata Peko, the more I notice that he keeps developing into a solid defensive tackle. Chris Crocker is still a hitter.
On the other hand, the Bengals depth seems much more ineffective than their counterparts. The secondary scares the hell out of me in pass defense and with no pass rush, it makes me all the more nervous. Why is Bob Bratkowski calling an off-tackle run with Brian Leonard to the right on third and three? You wouldn't do that in the regular season, why would you do it in the preseason. Well, alright. You would do it in the regular season. And adjustments on protection schemes against blitzing linebackers and safeties needs to be more consistent. If we're going to pay a place kicker $2.48 million for a one-year deal, he better worry about making 30-yard field goals. I also noticed that Chinedum Ndukwe looked very average against the pass against the second team Saints offense.
In truth, everything said above should be wiped out by the second preseason game. The team will (hopefully) fix those errors, work on the short-comings and game-plan better as they continue to understand the personnel they have to work with. That's in large part why preseason games are meaningless in the wins/losses column. Without looking it up, how was our preseason in 2004?
What are others saying? What's the initial reaction from around the web?
+ Who Dey Fans didn't like Palmer's play Friday night, however also acknowledged that it could simply be rust. I agreed. On Palmer's lone interception, he threw a pass way behind, while off-balanced, to Andre Caldwell that was picked off by linebacker Jonathan Vilma. It should also be noted here that at some point, Caldwell was knocked off his route. I think it was Vilma -- the camera angle didn't show it. While rewatching the play, Caldwell suddenly appeared on the left, noticeably forced off his route. Palmer threw it a second later, likely throwing to his original route, not adjusting. Then again, Palmer double-clutched the pass while his lower body wasn't set, making me think he saw the likely collision over the middle, but just threw it poorly.
On the first play of the game, Palmer threw a deep pass to Chad. A very welcome reminder of what this offense is capable of doing if the personnel returns to top-form. It was under thrown and Chad was cut off by a trailing defender. If the pass is on the mark, Chad, at the very least, has a massive gain.
For the most part, Dave liked what he saw, arguing while the offense looked sloppy, it could have been much worse.
In case you didn't see, or read (and what the hell are you doing then?), Rey Maualuga sat out Friday night with hamstring and groin problems.
Joe Reedy also liked the play of the offensive line.
"But we did some good things, too. We did a great job in pass protection. We had some really nice holes for Cedric (Benson). We did a good job up front."
"When I came out, I told Bobbie I (felt) I had a halo. Huge, five-yard radius in the pocket every time."
"For the first preseason game there were a lot of positive things that came out. A lot of holes. The offensive line did a great job."
"I thought we did a good job in achieving what we were trying to achieve as far as being physical and opening up some holes," said Benson, who had three runs of at least eight yards. "I thought we were good in the run game."