During their first two preseason outings, we saw how the team handles their opponents in about every phase of the game (especially the declaration of awesome depth).
Against the Cowboys, the Bengals took a little stumble.
As Josh talked about earlier, the quick-pass offense is something that the Bengals may use in order to keep Dalton clean to possibly set the defense up for a run or pass over the top. However, no matter how efficient it becomes, mental mistakes will put the team in a hole it can't climb out of.
Two young receivers turned the football over fighting for that extra yard when it really didn't matter. We see it often, when guys look to make that extra effort, they stay on their feet long enough to give a defender time to reach in and jar the ball loose. Marvin Jones and Cobi Hamilton were both guilty of this.
It is hard to quantify turnovers. A turnover (fumble) inside the five-yard line can be devastating for an offense that was virtually assured points on the drive. However, a turnover on your own side of the field can be equally damaging, giving the opponent a short field and almost assuring them of a score of some sort.
The simple fact is that turnovers in the NFL are costly. The Bengals do not have the quick strike offense that can go toe-to-toe with potent offenses and win high-scoring games. They are a methodical, calculated offense that will move the ball chunks at a time. The Bengals strength is the defense. By turning the ball over, the defense will tire and the opposing team will be able to exploit the team.
The question that we are left with is whether this is a fixable problem. It seems we have a quarterback in Andy Dalton that will typically make the smart, safe decision and I am fine with that. The fumbles by the wideouts are fixable and may not be an issue after coughing up the ball on Saturday. They need to realize that the extra yard gained is not worth giving the ball up. The great ones will fight to go down when wrapped up for this same reason.
Is it time to worry about the turnover situation? Nah, it's preseason and this is the kind of play you tend to see. The players are buttoning up, the playbooks are getting finalized and the output is a little sloppy. I fully expect the Bengals to clean up this phase of the game and be ready when the regular season begins.