Another week and another victory. Another gut-check. Another shot at putting away the demons. The Bengals cleared a historic hurdle on Sunday defeating the NFC Champion Seahawks by throwing out 20 unanswered points. It's not often that the Bengals have the gauntlet thrust upon them and answer. But there is a change in the air and swagger that was previously unseen with this Bengals team.
There is so much chemistry on the field and so much confidence being bred that barring injuries, the Bengals rookies are going to have to wait in the wings, learn and take in everything surrounding them. It may benefit them even more in the long run.
Jake Fisher - Stock Even
Fisher continues getting occasional snaps on the offensive line. He is in the rotation despite it only being around 10 percent of the time. Fisher is an investment for the future. We will see what happens as the season progresses and if the offensive line struggles, as they did against Seattle, maybe Fisher will see more time. But odds are the line was simply shocked by a better than advertised defense and even then, they weren't that bad, just worse than they've been. It seemed that perhaps Jackson was going to throw Fisher out there as another pass catcher as he tinkered away with some unusual formations, but alas we didn't get to see the big man run.
Josh Shaw - Stock Even
The majority of the time was logged on special teams for Shaw. He did manage to get in for two snaps on the day on defense, but after a shaky opening, the secondary and defense as a whole combined in the second half to shut down the squirrely Russell Wilson and Co. Despite getting in on some snaps Shaw appears to have a long way to go before getting more than a few snaps per game on defense.
P.J. Dawson - Stock Even
A lack of tackling once again hampered the Bengals' defense and some ho-hum play by the linebackers continued for the fifth straight week. Many fans believe Dawson would be a burst of life to an average mid-field, but his time has yet to arrive. Without an injury, Dawson will continue to stand on the sidelines during regular formations. He managed a tackle on special teams, but he's just going to have to bide his time and learn all he can before he's thrown to the wolves.
Tyler Kroft - Stock Even
Kroft continues to be used as a primary blocking tight-end. Logging seven snaps on offense and spelling Eifert is his primary duty now, but there is just no real room on offense for Kroft. The Bengals have said in the past that they like what Kroft did in college and what he's done in practice; he manages to get playing time and if you can say anything about this rookie class, it's that just getting time on the field is an accomplishment.
Derron Smith - Stock Even
All of Derron Smith's time was logged on special teams and even then it was limited. A different week and the same story; Smith isn't going to crack the defensive lineup unless there is an injury to the defense. Reggie Nelson continues to play well and Smith will only be a competent body
Mario Alford, Marcus Hardison, C.J. Uzomah all remain inactive. It seems highly unlikely Alford will see time this season as the receiver threats and special teams units are alive and making plays. It would be interesting to see how he could contribute to the return game, but the Bengals don't seem willing to try him out there, yet. Hardison is the odd man out on a defensive line that is playing above expectations, he also suffered a knee injury which stunted his ability to get on the field for the first few weeks. While Uzomah sits behind Eifert, Hewitt, and Kroft in the depth chart, it's unlikely he'll be hitting the field this year.