Questions answered? Before the game, I threw up 10 questions. Not sure if any were answered, and it's foolish to take the first pre-season game and project the team as anything. Still, let's answer the questions after the Bengals 20-17 win Monday Night.
1) #3 Wide Receiver
Marcus Maxwell had a nice 19-yard reception and a nine-yarder. Maxwell's frame and technique reminds me of a green T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Hey, it took T.J. a long time to prove he was worth anything. Jerome Simpson showed good athleticism and Andre Caldwell hauled down an 11-yard pass for first down. It's not that any receiver played bad -- other than bad routes, or blown up plays, which we hardly know about -- but who really stepped up in your opinion.
2) Defensive tackle rotation and rookie DTs Sims and Shirley.
Domata Peko had several nice plays, pushing off the offensive linemen and strafing down the line of scrimmage for, at least, a hit. Jason Shirley, as the game progressed, seemed to get to the quarterback easier, and it seemed that boy has a motor. Admittedly, I don't have HD, and pointing out DTs are often hard enough for me. So it could have been Pat Sims. All and all, the Packers rushing offense was successful after Brandon Jackson and Kregg Lumpkin rushed 13 times for 80 yards (6.2 yards-per-carry).
3) Tight end contribution (an idea of the passing offense’s philosophy, which includes double-TE formations)
Reggie Kelly caught a five-yard pass -- the first completion by the Bengals. Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted Utecht twice, and Palmer looked at him three times -- first was incomplete, second was a four-yard gain and the third was a 14-yard touchdown pass.
4) Pass rush (includes Fanene and Rucker's improvements?)
Rucker and Fanene were nonexistent in the pass rush, though Robert Geathers sprinted around the tackle to pick up an early sack. Most of the success came from the team blitzing linebackers and safeties (Jackson, Herbert).
5) Keith Rivers, Chris Perry, rookie WRs (Caldwell, Simpson)
Rivers was as advertised. Chris Perry was back. Caldwell and Simpson made some nice grabs. I was generally happy with all four.
6) Offensive line combinations (Bobbie Williams at center?)
It's hard to praise the offensive line after the Bengals first-team started the game with three three-and-outs before picking up a first down and a touchdown. I don't recall seeing Williams at center, Santucci replaced Eric Ghiaciuc and Kyle Cook replaced Santucci after it was reported that the backup center broke his right ankle. Stacy Andrews didn't play long, out before the end of the first quarter replaced by Scott Kooistra after Willie Anderson was told to sit the game with a minor shoulder problem.
7) Is Kenny Watson better than last season?
I didn't pick up that Watson was better than last year on the minimal attempts he was given. At the same time, I didn't see a bit of degradation either.
8) Daniel Coats blocking out of the backfield.
I just didn't make it a point to watch him blocking. At the same time, that's a good thing. When a blocker does his job, neither he or the person he blocks make an impact on the play and become essentially invisible.
9) Aggressive cornerbacks, disrupting timing off the LOS (defensive coverage philosophy)
For the most part, I was happy with our cornerback play. Sometimes the receiver would pick up a step on the cornerback, or David Jones was on the field -- who had a rough, rough start.
10) Linebackers (Dhani, year 2… Brandon Johnson and Darryl Johnson, Arizona Cardinal cast-offs)
With Rivers being an obvious positive, and Brandon Johnson holding firm his stepping-up role, I thought the Bengals linebackers were generally positive, though again, the Packers ran the ball pretty well -- which is against the linebackers and defensive line.
By The Numbers
- Bengals converted only four of 15 third down attempts while the Packers converted eight of 17.
- Two penalties by the Bengals as a whole -- Frostee Rucker was offsides and Nate Livings false started. The off-sides by Rucker allowed the Packers to pick up a first down on third-and-three. After picking up the first down, Rodgers converted a 22-yard pass (then an incomplete), an 11-yard pass and then a 30-yard touchdown.
- The Packers picked up 15 first downs through the air -- however, they passed 53 times.
- The Bengals play selection: 27 pass attempts, 33 rush attempts.
- Bengals special teams allowed 40 yards on six punt returns.
- Bengals defense allowed four plays of 20-yards or more -- the longest play by the Bengals was a 19-yard pass reception by Marcus Maxwell.
The Ryan Fitzgerald offense before the end of the first half, utilized Ben Utecht and Chris Perry, combining for three catches for 25 yards giving Shayne Graham a 43-yard field goal attempt.
Palmer on Utecht and Perry: "(Perry) can stay in the backfield and pick up a safety pressure and get outside with runs. With Ben, his versatility is he can get back in the backfield on the run game and he can (pass block) in max protection."
Moving Bobbie Williams to center could be a possibility after reports claim that Dan Santucci suffered a broken right ankle.
Corey Lynch, in last weekend's scrimmages, had two interceptions and a sack. On Monday Night, he had a fumble recovery and two tackles on special teams.
Marvin "Mr. Obvious" says: "But we have to tackle better. Our tackling really left something to be desired."
Marvin White learned a lesson Monday Night. "It's not like college, where you pretty much hit a guy and he does down. I learned something from this game. That's the idea. Learn something every game."
Mike Zimmer was satisfied with the Bengals defense Monday Night, "we're not the '85 Bears. But for the first time, it was OK."
Antonio Chatman "endorses Packer Rodgers".
Former Bengals safety Madieu Williams is lost for up to six weeks due to an undisclosed injury.