The Cincinnati Bengals' first preseason game is in the books and, though they dominated most of the game, the score didn't necessarily dictate it. A poor third down performance on offense, leaving points on the board and a questionable call, made the game closer than it even should have been.
Most of the starting positions are locked in for Cincinnati, so in this stock watch, we look at the guys vying for final roster spots. It's fitting, given the amount of time the backups received in the 2015 preseason opener.
Josh Shaw: The youngster was lined up all over the place and was asked to do a lot in his first NFL game. He blitzed, played rover, corner and safety, as well as special teams duty. Among his three total tackles was a nice one on special teams to stop the returner at the 15-yard line. He also had a pass breakup.
Pat Sims: He had a bonehead offsides penalty, but made a number of plays--particularly against the run. He smashed Andre Williams on a rushing attempt and was in on four tackles.
James Wilder, Jr.: It seems like it's either a huge gain or lost yardage with this guy, but he still made some plays. A touchdown under his belt on Friday night and some tough yardage proves his worth as a big back.
Nico Johnson: In his second season with the Bengals, he once again proved to be an able tackler as a backup linebacker. He went into double-digits in the category and could make the final roster if he proves to be a special teams contributor.
Troy Hill: His first pass breakup was a little sketchy, but it negated a big gain and the Giants receivers sputtered for most of the game--particularly on Hill's watch. Hill had another great breakup on a fourth down to swat away a possible Giants touchdown. He added another three tackles, including a great one on special teams.
Greg Little: Yes, sir. The guy who has had a huge problem with drops in his career made a few big ones on Friday night. The leading receiver on the night caught long and short passes and made a big offensive impact.
Terrell Watson: The guy out of tiny Azusa Pacific University popped a couple of nice runs late, including a 26-yarder. With Rex Burkhead and Cedric Peerman nursing injuries, he'll see more time and might even take more advantage of it. Food for thought: the last player (and running back) to make an impact in the NFL from APU was Christian "The Nigerian Nightmare" Okoye.
DeShawn Williams: The quick defensive tackle caught Anthony Munoz's eye at camp and made a couple of nice fourth quarter plays on the line. He had a quarterback hurry and a sack in his NFL debut.
Mario Alford: His stat line doesn't show it, but his speed was noticeable. He took a dump off pass and made it a 13-yard first down play, while also taking an end-around for 22-yard gain. He didn't impress on kick returns, but no one really did.
Marcus Hardison: The hybrid defensive lineman was everywhere on Friday night and was one of the best defensive players in the second half. He had a sack and played both inside and out, which is no easy feat for a 300-pound rookie.
Jake Kumerow: After shooting off to a big start to camp, Kumerow didn't do anything in the first preseason game (one catch for four yards). Unfortunately, this was more of a product of him being buried behind so many other receivers vying for a spot.
Shawn Williams: An injury and two poor plays on tape doesn't help Williams. After hurting his hand, Williams shot through a gap to stop a running back, only to get trucked after not wrapping up the ball-carrier. He also allowed a big pass play to a receiver on a pass that was way behind him, showing that Williams was beaten badly.
Margus Hunt: It's a big year for the defensive end and he didn't suit up for the first game. You can't help the team if you're not out there, right?
Brandon Tate: The veteran had a third down drop which would have been a first down, as well as fair-catching a punt at his own 8-yard line. Tate did have an 11-yard catch though, thus further cementing his worth to the Bengals' coaching staff.
C.J. Uzomah: It might not be fair to put him on this list, but two touchdown opportunities were lost on the raw rookie. One was a difficult back corner catch, while another hit him in stride when he wasn't looking and/or expecting the ball. He did have two catches for 13 yards on the night.
Shiloh Keo: In the second and third quarters, it seemed like Keo was a step or two behind on a lot of the few completed Giants passes on the evening. He had four tackles and looked lost at times on New York's lone touchdown drive.
Devon Still: The heart wants the guy to make it, but the tape tells a different story. After an offseason of intensive workouts and body transformation, he still got pushed around and had minimal impact. Add on an offsides penalty and a good night from Sims and No. 75 is reeling a bit.