In case anyone hasn't noticed, it's Wednesday, which means it's officially Time To Move On. Time to put last week's scrimmage against the Dallas Cowboys in the rear-view mirror, and look ahead to next week's almost equally inconsequential meeting with the Denver Broncos.
It was the now-infamous "Immaculate Deflection" in the 2009 opener against Denver that started the Bengals' season off on such a dismal note, but in the end it was Cincinnati that got the last laugh. After the Denver debacle, the Bengals would win their next four games, and seven of their next eight, en route to a 10-6 finish and a playoff berth. Meanwhile, Denver would win its next five games -- and then go 2-8 over the balance of the season, finishing at .500 and out of the postseason picture.
As a result, there were a lot of changes in Denver during the offseason, the biggest of which may be the twin arrivals of first round pick QB Tim Tebow and ex-Brown first rounder QB Brady Quinn. Starting QB Kyle Orton, acquired from Chicago in trade for QB Jay Cutler (with much bravado by Denver head coach Josh McDaniels, too) is scheduled to be a free agent after this season. Quinn and Tebow are expcted to get most of the snaps Sunday. Don't be surprised if we see Tebow in a little Wildcat action.
Injuries to Denver starters will also likely make this a tough game for Bengals fans to take much away from, at least regarding the first unit. Pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil is out with a torn pectoral muscle, and could be lost for the season. Injured RBs Correll Buckhalter (back) and Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) will probably sit out. RB LenDale White was already a scratch with a leg injury. As a sign of how thin the Broncos are at RB, they signed 30-year-old ex-Raider RB Justin Fargas today. (And you thought it was bad at RB here in Cincy, huh?) Denver's first-round pick, WR Demaryius Thomas, may also be stuck on the sidelines due to a foot injury.
As for the Bengals, head coach Marvin Lewis said today that it will still be more about looking at guys who didn't get much of a chance last week than anything else.
I’m looking for guys who didn’t get much of a chance to play last week to get more chances this week. As we go through the week, I’ll decide how long some of the guys will play and who we’ll limit. We’ll take some guys a little longer than we did last week, and we’ll have some guys in there who didn’t play last week. Unfortunately, some of the guys won’t get as many snaps. We’ll move some guys ahead of other players, because you have to keep moving ahead. If anything good comes out of this thing, some guys will earn more opportunities based on how they played Sunday. They’ll get a chance to move up the ranks and play against a little better competition. One of the most important things about the preseason is to not get all excited about playing well against guys that are going to be on the street in a couple weeks.
At most, I think we see the starters for a quarter max, and based on these comments probably less. No surprise there. As Jason has already noted, final cuts are going to be tough.