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5 thoughts from the Bengals' first 2 preseason games

After looking back at the Bengals' first two preseason games, here are some thoughts I had about how the 53-man roster is shaping up.

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*The coaches clearly want to see what Cobi Hamilton is made of.

Hamilton got a whopping 13 targets vs. the Jets, but only caught two passes for 11 yards. The 2012 sixth-round pick isn't making the roster as of now, but a good showing in the next two preseason games could help to change that. Lately, Hamilton has been doing well in practice, but he needs that to translate into live game action before he gets a spot on the 53-man roster.

*The perceived "lack of depth" isn't as big of an issue as it's being made out to be.

The backups that have been used through two games are guys who normally would be getting playing time closer to the end of games, but because of injuries, they're getting put in during the first half of games. Sure, it would be nice if some of those third-string guys were better, but they may never see the field this year.

At offensive tackle, with Andre Smith missing Saturday, that meant Will Svitek and Chandler Burden (since released) got into the game quickly, and subsequently left whoever was at QB out to dry.

With Geno Atkins out, Brandon Thompson and Devon Still are getting more run with the starters. Once they leave, David King (35 snaps), Christo Bilukidi (45) and Sam Montgomery (49) all have gotten more snaps, though none of them are making the roster.

At cornerback, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard didn't play Saturday, leaving guys like Victory Hampton, RJ Stanford and Onterio McCalebb to play earlier, and none of them are making the roster either.

In other words, once the Bengals get their starters back, the guys who are starting and playing well now will go back to being backups, and the guys who are struggling once the starters leave will be looking for work elsewhere.

*Ryan Hewitt and Trey Hopkins are making the 53-man roster.

Hewitt looks like a lock for the fullback/fourth tight end spot, and it will most likely be Orson Charles whose roster spot he takes.

As for Hopkins, he's probably making the roster at the expense of Tanner Hawkinson. The 2012 fifth-rounder hasn't gotten much run on offense in practice, and it appears the coaches like Will Svitek more as a backup tackle. It was thought Hawkinson could play guard too, but he's been used almost exclusively at tackle during the preseason.

*If the final roster was made now, the Bengals would keep two quarterbacks, assuming Jason Campbell is healed.

Whatever momentum Matt Scott had for making the 53-man roster is gone. Scott was sacked four times, completed just 8/22 passes and threw a pick against the Jets. And for the most part, he's not looking good in practice.

The Chiefs game looks like a fluke more than anything now. The Bengals may just keep AJ McCarron on PUP to start the year while carrying Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell at QB.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be on the 53-man roster, and he should be.

The severity of Rex Burkhead's knee injury is unknown, but it's believed to be serious. The Bengals may just stash him on IR and keep Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, Cedric Peerman and Green-Ellis as their four backs.

Frankly, I'd rather have Green-Ellis running the ball than Peerman if Hill and/or Gio go down with an injury. People forget he had 89 carries for 374 yards (4.2 ypc) over the final eight games (including the playoffs) last year. He's a great third-string RB, and will also serve as a good mentor for Hill.