Got cold quick !!!— Darqueze Dennard (@DDennard21) September 12, 2014
As Darqueze has been adjusting to the approaching fall weather, he's been getting healthier and made his NFL debut on Sunday. On special teams, he was up-and-down, with a tackle but also with a holding penalty on a punt return. Terence Newman, Leon Hall, and Adam Jones are the Bengals' top three cornerbacks and all played very well on Sunday, both in coverage and in tackling to limit YAC. Dre Kirkpatrick saw limited snaps in certain nickel and dime formations. Dennard's stock is up a little because he is healthy, but down a little because it doesn't seem he will break into this great CB rotation. Therefore, it evens out.
Stock: LEVEL at 5/10
(To make the stock clearer, I'm adding a somewhat arbitrary scale of 0 to 10. Dennard, as a first-round pick who cannot break into a very good CB rotation and is contributing on special teams, has a stock that has leveled at about 5/10. It won't go up until he gets playing time as an actual CB.)
Safe to say me and @G_Bernard25 were #turnt today— Jeremy Hill (@JeremyHill33) September 14, 2014
Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill were indeed turnt on Sunday, combining for 265 yards from scrimmage. Hill looked like the second coming of Corey Dillon, running for 74 yards and a TD on 4.9 YPC, and also getting a nice 18-yard reception. As Eric NYC noted in the comments, Hill looked like a Pro Bowl-caliber RB.
Stock: UP to 8/10
(Since Week 1, Hill's stock has been climbing, even before the Atlanta game. He is doing very well and will continue to get more touches, and that's in addition to being a second-round pick with great upside. So his stock has risen from a 6/10 after Week 1 to an 8/10 after Week 2. I could see him reaching 9 or perhaps even 10.)
No surprise inactive players for the Bengals. Burkhead, Porter, TJ Johnson, Hawkinson, Marvin Jones and Will Clarke make the list.— John Popovich WCPO (@Popo_WCPOSports) September 14, 2014
Like Dennard and the CB group, it doesn't seem that Clarke will break into the D-line group anytime soon. As mentioned last week, Clarke doesn't play special teams unlike other D-linemen such as Margus Hunt and Wallace Gilberry, otherwise the team would be much more willing to activate him. He is a long-term project.
Stock: LEVEL at 0/10
(Clarke's stock is level because for a while now, it has been 0/10, and it cannot go any lower.)
Despite 61's -5.5 run blocking grade (worst among centers), bengals RBs are averaging 3.85 yards/carry.— Brennen Warner (@JustBeWarned) September 15, 2014
Bodine continues to do well in pass-blocking. However, he has continued to struggle in run-blocking, with PFF currently ranking him as the worst run-blocking C in the league.
I'm still going to say that his stock is going up. For a fourth-round rookie replacing the underperforming Kyle Cook, the bar from the start was very low. Bodine has gradually ironed out the issue of snapping the ball, so hopefully he can eventually show signs of improvement in run-blocking. And at the end of the day, the Bengals offensive line, yet again, ended the game with a clean sheet - zero sacks and zero hits on Dalton.
Stock: UP to 5/10
(Bodine's stock started out at about 2/10, given that he is a 4th-round rookie replacing a poor starter, and that he struggled throughout training camp and preseason. Again, the bar has been very low for him, so I'd say his stock has gone from a 2/10, to a 4/10 after Week 1, to a 5/10 after Week 2. Bodine, as a subpar but functional starter, will probably stay about level here. He might go up a little more, but not much more.)
Married pic.twitter.com/zA4EgeXWCM— Katherine McCarron (@_KatherineWebb) September 16, 2014
Well, the wedding photos of the McCarrons have been released to social media, and they sure are cute!
Stock: UP to Katherine Webb McCarron level
#WhoDeyNation 2-0!!— Marquis Flowers (@MrHitThat_2) September 14, 2014
Once again, Flowers was active and on special teams. His stock will go up if he is able to break into the LB rotation.
Stock: LEVEL at 4/10
(Flowers' is stuck at about 4/10, as a solid special teamer who cannot break into a strong positional group. His situation is similar to Dennard's, except that Dennard has more upside as a first-round pick. Flowers will stay here unless he gets playing time as an actual LB.)
Rookie James Wright with nice play on special teams pins Falcons on own 11 with 2:06 left in half— Richard Skinner (@nkyskinner) September 14, 2014
Once James Wright became healthy, the Bengals activated him for Sunday. He had a solid tackle on Devin Hester on the opening play of the game, and another one in the second quarter. He also got six snaps on offense, doing a good job of blocking far downfield on a couple of long screen passes to Gio Bernard. Wright also burned Robert McClain on a 15-yard out-route and did an outstanding job of making the catch and attempting to get his feet down, but Dalton's throw was too high. Wright specifically replaced Brandon Tate in certain formations. Since Tate is only a gadget (screens, swing passes, trick plays) and go-route receiver, we could very well be seeing more of Wright in the future.
Stock: UP to 5/10
(As a 7th-round rookie who was considered as undraftable by some, he started out at 0/10. Now, I'd say he's up to 5/10, because he is already a top special teamer and has already made his way into the actual WR corps. He'll probably stay here.)
Pregame hotel chilling. Getting the mind right— Ryan Hewitt (@Huey_85) September 14, 2014
Hewitt certainly got his mind right last Sunday, effectively blocking at both FB and TE for Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. He didn't just block at the line of scrimmage - he also blocked downfield, including during Gio's 46-yard reception off a screen. Hewitt shoved Kroy Biermann, who then fell flat on his face and subsequently tripped up Paul Worrilow, who was trying to pursue Bernard. It was one of the most epic blocks of the day. Later in the second quarter, Hewitt (at TE) burned a Falcons defender on a crossing route, but Dalton went deep to Tate for an incompletion. Overall, Hewitt had a very good day.
Furthermore, in addition to Eifert being out until November, Alex Smith is out for the year:
Lap: Alex Smith done for year...torn bicep tendon @holygrailbanks #Bengals— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) September 16, 2014
So Hewitt is currently not only the first-string FB but also the second-string TE. The Bengals have not released a new depth chart yet, but in training camp, Hewitt was ahead of Kevin Brock on the TE depth chart, despite Hewitt being a rookie and Brock being a second-year player.
Stock: UP to 6/10
(As an undrafted player, he started out at 0/10. Now that he's the starting FB and top backup TE, and he has played well so far, I'd say his stock has gone up to 6/10 and could go a little higher, but not much higher.)