Bengals at Falcons: Post-Game 53-Man Projection

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at the 53-man projection following Cincinnati's win.

We compiled our pre-game 53-man roster projection, and then after the game, revised our projections. In truth, we didn't change much. The players with the greatest impression provided a small sample and while impressed and taking notice, there needs to be more sustained production from some to wipe out projections. The thing is, they're well on their way to making that happen.

QB (2): Andy Dalton, Josh Johnson

Based on his performance against the Falcons, it's hard to dispute his eventuality as the team's backup quarterback. In two quarters of play, Johnson posted 100 yards passing and 64 yards rushing. He led Cincinnati to 20 of the team's 34 points. John Skelton then made it a point that he will not go quietly, completing four of five passes for 72 yards with a touchdown and a perfect passer rating. Considering Johnson did what he did against the twos, it still gives him an outright advantage.

RB (4): BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Giovani Bernard, Cedric Peerman, Rex Burkhead

Not much change here. Rex Burkhead lead all running backs with 52 yards rushing on nine carries, for a team-high 5.8 yards/rush (among the running backs).

FB (2): Chris Pressley, Orson Charles
TE (2): Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert

We didn't get to see much here. Pressley remains on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list and Charles only participated in eight snaps. Gresham and Eifert combined for 32 snaps, and many of those were together. Considering that both are roster locks, there's not much to be learned in this context anyway.

WR (6): A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Andrew Hawkins, Cobi Hamilton, Brandon Tate

Now things get fun. Dane Sanzenbacher added 130 yards on offense and special teams combined, contributing with two touchdowns (36-yard touchdown reception, 71-yard punt return for touchdown). Hamilton only caught one of three passes -- though the two incomplete passes were bad throws -- for negative one yards.

Using the second half of a single preseason game isn't enough of a sample for a compelling argument. But it does promote the idea of giving Sanzenbacher and even Ryan Whalen, who I believe shouldn't be forgotten, more opportunities.

That being said, the top-four are locked and the final two spots on the wide receiver roster remain open.

OT (4): Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland

Whitworth and Reid Fragel didn't make the trip, forcing Dennis Roland to contribute with 80 percent of the team's offensive snaps. In the end, no argument was made to upset the projection.

OG (3): Kevin Zeitler, Clint Boling, Tanner Hawkinson

Hawkinson suffered an ankle injury that isn't believed to be serious, but it cracks open enough room for someone else to make an impression. Additionally, there's no known information about his injury as of this posting.

Center (2): Kyle Cook, Trevor Robinson

Robinson took snaps under center and at guard Thursday. T.J. Johnson replaced Robinson when he shifted on the offensive line. Don't expect much change here regardless.

DE (5): Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Wallace Gilberry, Robert Geathers, Margus Hunt

No change. Dunlap wasn't active. Michael Johnson and Wallace Gilberry had less participation than the snaps of the West Side story.

DT (4): Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson

Peko and Atkins played, maybe, two series and Brandon Thompson didn't make the trip. Still played a significant number snaps at defensive tackle, adding two tackles and a pass deflection. Terrence Stephens and Vaughn Meatoga rotated in with Still throughout much of the game.

LB (6): Rey Maualuga, Vontaze Burfict, James Harrison, Vinnie Rey, Emmanuel Lamur, Sean Porter

Solid performances from J.K. Schaffer and Jayson DiManche makes the final roster spot an intriguing situation. But like Sanzenbacher, they're fighting for jobs on a roster stacked with talent. They'll need to sustain their production, doing so against players that are likely playing, if not starting, this year.

CB (5): Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones, Brandon Ghee, Dre Kirkpatrick
S (5): Reggie Nelson, George Iloka, Taylor Mays, Shawn Williams, Jeromy Miles

Didn't see enough from the players battling for roster spots to replace those on this list. The biggest point right now is whether Brandon Ghee's head injury is serious enough to consider replacing him on our projected 53-man roster.

Special teams (3): Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris

Quinn Sharp looked good, but we're reiterated. Save for an injury or another unthinkable scenario, this won't change.

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