1. I turned to a friend last week and suggested, why not make Reggie McNeal the #3 QB while he learns how to play wide receiver? It opens up a position to enable McNeal to slowly become an NFL receiver and adds an additional roster spot for another position. I realized as soon as I suggested it, it was flawed. If Palmer can't start for a few games and Wright gets injured, you have Reggie McNeal starting games (remember, Johnson would be cut with McNeal #3). Doug Johnson sealed that argument for me going 11 for 14 tossing for 128 yards and a touchdown -- a 128.6 passer rating. Back to McNeal. Some have compared the six-round draft pick to Antwaan Randle El -- a convert from QB to WR. Time will tell if that's true or even if there's a remote chance hoping he isn't one of those that are cut. Speaking of Randle El, I'm still shocked he was able to land a seven-year deal worth $31 million.
2. Friend and co-writer at BengalsZone.com, Jay McDonnell, suggests pre-season games should be reduced from four games to two games enabling an 18-game regular season. "I feel preseason games are not worth the effort, but what suggestions do I have that would still allow teams to evaluate their players while providing the players the opportunity of securing a roster spot? Dump preseason games in favor of an 18 game regular season". You'll note last night Al Michaels made the same suggestion as the NBC guys played commissioner. I don't have a feeling on this one way or another. I did note non-starting offensive linemen played several positions; Eric Ghiaciuc played guard and center and Andrew Whitworth and Stacey Andrews played guard and tackle. I think four games is ideal for the coaching staff to set their rosters and provide some in-game experience at alternative positions. It's a great point that injury is a factor, but that's just the NFL; there's nothing you can do about that. I just think Jay, like the rest of us, is ready for the season to start -- now!
3. As I mentioned in my initial notes of the game, the blocking by the running backs was pretty weak. As the game wore on, the more basic Washington's defense became. The first and second teamers blitzed a lot resulting in punts after 3rd-and-longs. After the game, head coach Marvin Lewis hinted at that saying, "He (DeDe Dorsey) and Terrence (Whitehead) ran extremely well in camp, so we expected them to play well, but there's more to playing running back too".
But I also feel the quarterbacks had to share some blame on sacks. On the Bengals second possession, 3rd-and-5, Wright was in shotgun formation with Kenny Watson and Tab Perry on his flank. As linebacker Marcus Washington came from the left end and linebacker Lemar Marshall came from the right end, Perry and Watson stepped up to block. Wright took the snap but didn't move up in the pocket. I don't blame him so much as I do the logic of having Tab Perry block a raging mad linebacker dead-set at getting the quarterback. But I imagine somewhere in Wright's mind, he knew the mis-match existed and should have moved up the pocket to either find a dump off receiver or find a running lane.
How about the Bengals first drive of the second half? Doug Johnson walks to the line in a five wide-receiver formation. Johnson took the snap and dopped back three steps, pulled the pass back down, and was quickly sacked. Joe Sykes made Andrew Whitworth lose his balance and dropped Johnson. I can't say Johnson was wrong here; bringing the pass down may have prevented an interception. At the same time, Johnson didn't seem to have a second receiver in mind when he pulled the pass back.
4. I was excited to see Ben Wilkerson get some playing time. He looked pretty good against the pass rush, but man did he get blown up on some running plays. One stuck out in mind. Going after Roger McIntosh on a running play, Wilkerson got dropped by the linebacker after the collison. My coaches once told me, as long as your guy doesn't make the tackle, it's a good block. Wilkerson's guy made the tackle -- a yard before Quincy Wilson could convert on third down. That was the play the officials measured the ball on one hash-mark and the first down line was on another hash-mark -- a full yard away. Punt.
5. Does Erik Meyer stand a chance on this roster? He was finally brought in on the final drive of the game. He fumbled on his first snap, handed off the next two, and kneeled down twice to end the game. Meyer will probably remain on the roster up until final cut day in case of injury. If Wright or Johnson go down during pre-season, it will be good insurance to have Meyer around. You never know, injury in the NFL happens -- there's nothing you can do about it.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING..
Bengals' Brooks gets whiff of NFL
"It's definitely fun when you're playing and get to smelling like a player again," the Cincinnati Bengals rookie said.
Only in football is body odor a badge of honor.
Thurman was on the field before the game with his position coach, Ricky Hunley. Thurman looked quick and displayed good hands in a drop-back drill, cutting side to side and catching close-in passes from Hunley.
Under terms of his NFL-imposed suspension for a second violation of its substance-abuse policy, Thurman is eligible to play in preseason games and to practice on the field with the team until the opener. Thurman did not practice on the field during training camp at Georgetown College but did work with strength and conditioning coaches on the side.