By now, you now about the uber-productive game that Bengals wideout Dane Sanzenbacher had on Thursday night. Contributing both on offense and special teams, it was a great night for a young guy looking to make this roster. And, like it or not, Brandon Tate had himself a solid night as well.
But, what about the others scrapping for a roster spot? With A.J. Green, Andrew Hawkins and Marvin Jones all out with injuries (that's three of their top four wideouts on the depth chart, folks), a lot of young guys had their opportunity to put a stamp on their ticket towards the final roster. Unfortunately, outside of Tate and Sanzenbacher, nobody really seized that opportunity.
Ryan Whalen: Yes, Whalen had two catches for 31 yards, including a nice 24-yarder. Still, early in the game, Whalen dropped a very catchable ball and was basically beat on a jump ball that would have been a nice contested reception. Perhaps it was just nerves and the first real action of the season that got to him, but for a guy that isn't a special teamer and doesn't have great speed, the solid route-running skills and hands must be shown throughout this preseason.
Mohamed Sanu: Even though Sanu is a roster lock, he didn't impress anyone last night. I suppose that many have been hyping up this offseason as the answer to the receiver issue opposite Green, but I just didn't see anything that instilled much confidence in that respect. Granted, he had only a limited number of snaps, but he was targeted twice and didn't have any catches.
Cobi Hamilton: To be honest, I have some high hopes for this kid. Even though he's a little raw, I was intrigued at his Combine performance and was pleasantly surprised to see the Bengals grab him so late. After we heard that he had been doing well in OTAs, I was looking forward to seeing what the former Arkansas Razorback could do in a live game and unfortunately, it wasn't much. Though he had a nice 17-yard dash on an end-around, Hamilton recorded only one catch for minus one yard.
Tyler Eifert: The Bengals' prized first round pick didn't make much of an impact in the passing game on Thursday night; but looked good as a run blocker. Yes, I know that he is technically a tight end, but he will line up everywhere in this offense. I also know that he didn't get that much playing time on Thursday night, but he had zero catches in his snaps. He did grab one pass that would have been a first down, but it was negated by a penalty. Regardless, we know that Eifert is a roster lock, but I'd still like to see more in the upcoming games.
Orson Charles: Like Eifert, I understand that Charles isn't a true wideout. But, he is an H-Back and as that position, part of your duties is to be able to be a factor in the passing game. Charles was only targeted once and didn't have a reception.
To be fair, the first unit offense didn't get much time to gel and they didn't have their star receiver to take some heat off of other players. Still, preseason is about making the most of brief opportunities and not many receivers ran awat with their chances.