Today is Wednesday, August the 4th. By itself, this date means little to you. Unless, of course, it's your birthday, your anniversary or the day you'll remember forever after seeing Kim Kardashian's greatest assets in person and up close (no, my son, it's not the end of the world. It's just Wednesday). Or any personal landmark of awesome achievement that you mark down for this day. Aside from that, today, the 216th day of the year, is as meaningless of a day as they come.
As football fans, August is the calm before the story. Every offseason activity and event is over. Much like training camp, anticipation of the Bengals first preseason game is boiling. We know what's on paper. And while reports of how players are doing during practice, it's not the same of how they'll do in game situations against unfamiliar schemes and opponents (aka, not seeing the same players or the same plays day in and day out during practice).
That's why in four days time, the Cincinnati Bengals will kickoff their five-game preseason schedule against the Dallas Cowboys at the annual Hall of Fame game. The interest is high. How will Terrell Owens incorporate into the offense? How much progress has rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham made after signing a contract two days ago? Is the defense going to resume, and even improve upon, the unit's success from last year? What about place kickers. Who makes the pressure kicks? What about the pass rush, Michael Johnson at linebacker, Jordan Shipley in the slot and will Jerome Simpson translate the general good offseason praise he's received this year onto the field during a game?
These, and so many more questions will kickoff their long journey of answers and discovery this Sunday. Did that ring with you? This Sunday. Not next Sunday, not midway into August. This coming Sunday is our Sunday. Starting at 8 PM on NBC, the Bengals will play a preseason football game this Sunday. I know, I know. I shouldn't get excited. It's only preseason, afterall. Who cares how they do when it doesn't matter. That's what most people say. But then again, most people aren't obsessive maniacs like we are, who will actually watch the final ten minutes in the fourth quarter just to see the bubble players, or if anything, to find a reason to feel comfortable with our backup quarterbacks. A football game is a football game. Whether it being preseason or the regular season, football is football. And it makes it all the better with the Bengals kicking off the preseason schedule.
So join us Sunday night for an open thread. We'll all share our observations, excitements and disappointments. Open threads generally go online about an hour before kickoff.