As we continue to celebrate the Bengals' 34-10 throttling of the Falcons on Thursday night, we have to praise some of the team's impressive players. As we review the tape of the game, there were obviously quite a few contributors on both sides of the ball. Though we like to point out some individual performances (cough, Dane Sanzenbacher, cough), we are going to look at a group of players in this post.
Though the Bengals boast some solid starting corners in Leon Hall, Terence Newman and Adam Jones, there are a handful of guys looking to hang on to the roster behind them. Will they keep five? Six? No matter the case, the group of corners behind the first three are trying to make an impression and they did so on Thursday night. Though the stat lines weren't necessarily impressive, you have to remember that each player had very small sample sizes.
Dre Kirkpatrick: Last year's initial first round pick (No.17 overall), is a lock. After a disappointing rookie season plagued with injuries, Kirkpatrick has been on a mission to make his sophomore campaign a good one. He has been impressing in the early parts of camp and carried that momentum into Thursday night's game. Kirkpatrick entered the game early in the second quarter and ran with the receivers he was tasked with covering. By my count, Kirkpatrick was responsible for at least two passes defensed and let up only one completion and racked up two tackles.
Brandon Ghee: This poor guy hasn't caught a break since entering the league in the third round of 2010. A myriad of injuries has hindered Ghee from making any significant contributions with this club and he's on the last year of his rookie deal. He looked good in last year's camp and has emerged with another strong showing this year. Ghee had a good first game this season, recording the game's only turnover with a second quarter interception of Dominique Davis and was in on two tackles as well. Unfortunately, Ghee had the injury bug bite him again with a head injury in the second half, though it doesn't seem serious because he was speaking with reporters in the locker room after the game.
Chris Lewis-Harris: This youngster is another corner who has caught the eye of Bengals coaches in camp and did some nice things on Thursday. He was in on two tackles and had a nice pass breakup late in the game. Lewis-Harris is trying desperately to cling on to one of the final spots at the position and will also need to continue to show his worth on special teams.
Another important thing to note is the stat line of the quarterbacks that these three faced in their time. The two Falcons quarterbacks, Davis and Sean Renfree, went a combined 10 of 23 for 98 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Davis' one touchdown was the lone score that the backup defensive units allowed on the evening. It was a performance that these young defensive backs can hang their hats on--for now.