The Bengals handled the Giants on Friday resulting in a 23-10 victory. It was the first pre-season game and most of the starters spent less than three minutes on the field, but they looked stellar. Let’s take a look at how the rookies spent their precious moments on the field trying to prove their worth.
It’s important to keep in mind both Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher did not see the field and they are the first and second round draft picks the Bengals selected this year. Ogbuehi is on the NFI list and recovering from a torn ACL, suffered during his final collegiate game and Fisher was held out for undisclosed reasons, which may have to do with a shoulder injury.
We’ve been hearing about his game changing speed all through camp and we got to see a little of his lighting in a bottle on Friday during a 23-yard reverse and a 13-yard snag from backup quarterback Josh Johnson. Although his time as a receiver could very well be limited this season, his biggest impacts will come from returning kicks on special teams. On Friday, he had a marginal night of receiving one kick return (brining it out for 21 yards) and two punt return, one of which had a gain of eight yards while the other went nowhere.
Watson, the undrafted running back looking for a spot on the Bengals’ roster got some extended looks as he was handed the ball seven times and amassed 52 yards, but it included a burst run of 26-yards, inflating his statistics. This very well might be the best look we’ll see of Watson in the preseason contests, but the DII product will no doubt continue to strive for playing time and a job with the Bengals. Check out this great video featuring Watson.
Uzomah caught 2 passes for a combined total of 13 yards. He missed a few opportunities and looked lost on the field more than once. On one blocking play, he shoved a Giants player in the wrong direction right into the Bengals running back who was looking for a path.
Kumerow had two targets with one four yard reception. He didn’t get many opportunities to shine and was well covered on the play in which he didn’t make the catch.
Kroft was thrown to once, but had no catches last night, although he did lay out a key block on the James Wilder touchdown.
Hardison had a good night and stood out among the defensive ends. He nabbed three tackles (which led all Bengal rookies), and even got through the line and logged his first professional sack. This is a good sign for the 135th draft selection who was nabbed to compliment Geno Atkins as a solid interior rusher. Let’s hope the progress for the ASU product continues.
In his first professional game, Dawson had two tackles including one for a loss as he played 21 of the 59 defensive snaps. Dawson has been heating up in training camp and as the preseason moves forward we look forward to getting better looks at the ‘Burfict style’ play Dawson is said to have.
He was on the field the longest as far as Bengal’s rookies are concerned (53 downs) and grabbed 2 tackles and 2 assists.
Williams is another undrafted player who did well on Friday and has been receiving praise in training camp. Williams grabbed the only other sack of the night and logged a tackle in his limited time on the field.
Smith recorded two tackles on the night while playing in 34 snaps.
The undrafted rookie didn’t get many opportunities on Friday night but did have one tackle and one pass defended.
Brought in to compete against Mike Nugent, Obarski went three for four on field goal attempts including a 46 yarder. He was also a perfect 2 for 2 on extra points. This could develop into an actual position battle as Nugent struggled a bit last season and Darrin Simmons feels he can compete against the veteran kicker for the full time position. Though, missing even one field goal in the preseason is not going to help Obarski’s chances.