As expected, the first look at the 2014 CIncinnati Bengals wasn't all glitz and glamour. While there were some moments that brought smiles to Bengals fans' faces, there were some individual and group performances that brought frowns. Fortunately, many of those who enter our crosshairs are not penciled in as starters.
Let's have a look:
Jason Campbell: Though Campbell had a touchdown pass to help give the Bengals a big lead early on, Campbell was scarily erratic through the first half. In fairness to him, he's battling wet conditions, but a costly pick-six and another almost-interception made fans cringe. As our own Josh Kirkendall put it, Campbell is still wearing his Captain Checkdown costume from years past. He did recover nicely at the end of the half to throw a good ball to Dane Sanzenbacher for his second touchdown of the day. He finished the half at 5/12, 65 yards and one interception.
Russell Bodine: Wet conditions, first professional game. We can chalk up some of his mistakes up to jitters. Still, the bad snaps we have seen a couple of times through the early part of camp continued in Kansas City and that's concerning for a guy that the team moved up in the draft for, which they rarely do. There has also been some pressure coming from the middle too.
Cobi Hamilton: The guy who I picked to break out tonight finished the half with zero catches and slipped when trying to fight for the pick-six ball by Campbell. It wasn't entirely his fault, as the throw was pretty bad, but you'd love to see him stay on his feet and wrestle the ball away. Against some of the ones and twos of the Chiefs defense, Hamilton didn't show much.
Second-String Defense: Yes, the Bengals defense really only gave up 13 of the Chiefs' 27 points, given that Kansas City had a punt return and a pick-six. Still, a late drive by the Chiefs twos gashed the Bengals in a number of different ways. Chase Daniel ran for a big first down, Danieal Manning was beat on a big throw for a first down and Knile Davis got yardage in chunks. Then, with around a half-minute left in the half, the Bengals once again had a tight end kill them with a 69-yard strike to Travis Kelce. Obviously, there were some guys who did well individually, but the group as a whole wasn't great.
Punt Coverage Team: De'Anthony Thomas is electric and I said as much going into this year's draft. Unfortunately, the Bengals punt coverage unit, which has been traditionally steady, let up a big return to the replacement for Dexter McCluster. They looked confused trying to tackle the elusive rookie and that's something that they'll need to shore up quickly.