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Preseason Week 2: Cincy Jungle mailbag

With one preseason game in the books, we take on your Bengals questions heading into the Bengals Monday night tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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You ask, we answer. Let's take a look at some of the questions we've received from Bengals fans over the last week and help bring some clarity to the team's outlook going forward into the second week of the preseason.

The question with McCarron is health. If he is healthy, McCarron will be the backup and will be the only backup. However, health has been a concern with McCarron since he was drafted and he is already having issues again in 2015. If McCarron is not healthy, then the Bengals may have to try to put him on the practice squad again, or look at keeping a third quarterback on the roster - something they have not been known to do and something they do not want to do in 2015. Keeping a third quarterback is unlikely because it takes a valuable roster spot away from another position.

It sounds like he will play Monday night and all indications out of camp are that Smith looks great and is moving great. I saw Smith at the Taste of the NFL in June and he looked to be in great shape, much slimmer than he has been in the past.

McCarron says he will play Monday night and I have to think if he does, he will go in as the second string quarterback and play an extended amount of time. In fact, I wouldn't be surprise if he plays most, if not the entire game, once Dalton comes out. The Bengals know what they have in Johnson, they have to figure out what they have in McCarron. The team has three games to figure out if they are comfortable enough with McCarron as their only backup quarterback.

That is a good question. The recent struggles (2006, 2010 and 2014) are the most perplexing to me. Four of the last six losses came in the 1990's and early 2000's (1995, 1998, 2001 and 2002), a period when the Bengals were one of, if not the worst team in the NFL, so those are not surprising. But you are correct, for whatever reason, the Bengals struggle with the Bucs no matter where the game is, how good the Bengals are or how bad the Bucs are.

Absolutely not! In fact, I agree with you. If his weapons stay healthy this year, I think Dalton will have a very good year. Yes, Dalton had a career low in touchdowns and yards in 2014, but that was a product of 1) having a more run oriented offense (Hue Jackson vs Jay Gruden) and 2) injuries. What many forget about 2014 is that Dalton was without his no. 2 and no. 3 receiving options (Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert) for essentially the entire year - two guys that combined for 90 receptions, 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013. Throw in Green's injuries and there were four or five games where he was missing his top three targets - that will impact a quarterback's stats. What was encouraging about Dalton's 2014 season was that despite the depleted receiving options, he had a career high completion percentage (64.2%) and decreased his interceptions from the year prior. It is doubtful that Dalton will throw 30+ touchdowns in Jackson's system, but if everyone stays healthy, I think 25-28 touchdowns and 3,800 yards is realistic for Dalton and that would be a good season.

40-23-1 in the regular season. Single season franchise record holder for yards and touchdowns. One of two quarterbacks to make the playoffs his first four years in the league. Yes.

I suppose it depends on how you define a "veteran." I don't see any veterans in trouble at the following positions: quarterback, offensive line, tight end, fullback, linebacker or cornerback (some have said Leon Hall, but I just don't see that happening unless he is physically limited and that doesn't appear to be the case). If James Wilder Jr. or Terrell Watson really impress in the preseason, maybe Cedric Peerman will be cut, but I think that is doubtful because of Peerman's special teams contributions. Another guy who could feel the squeeze is Shawn Williams. Williams has seen very limited playing time since being drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft, and given the versatility of guys like Hall or Josh Shaw, it is possible that Williams could find himself on the bubble. The one guy I think is in the most trouble is Margus Hunt. The Bengals have a lot of depth along the defensive line and Hunt has not developed as quickly as the coaches would have liked. Toss in the fact that he has had a tough time staying healthy and I think his roster spot is not a guarantee.

I don't think Johnson will be 100 percent when he returns and I do think it will impact the line. However, Will Clarke has worked extremely hard this offseason and it is showing. If Clarke continues to play the way he is playing, it will minimize the loss of Johnson and may allow the Bengals the luxury of sitting Johnson an extra week or two so he can get back to 100 percent (or close).

Excellent question! In my opinion, Dre Kirkpatrick should have received a Pro Bowl selection for his special teams play in 2014. He was a huge part of the Bengals' top 10 punt coverage unit and if he is not a gunner in 2015 - which he probably won't be - someone will need to step up. I would look for one of the other young corners, Darqueze Dennard or Josh Shaw to step up in Kirkpatrick's absence.

I do. The Bengals will likely rotate eight or nine defensive lineman this year - much like they did in 2013 - and if one or both make the team, they will likely be a part of that rotation. As such, the coaching staff will want to get a look at both with the number ones. I wouldn't be surprised to see both Hardison and Sims get some snaps with the number ones in these next two games.

I have never heard of the "Glass Cannon Effect" but I like it! Your concern is valid and one that many Bengals fans share. The Bengals' depth at the wide receiver (and tight end) position was exposed in 2014 and it wasn't pretty. While I cannot predict health, what I will say is the Bengals realized this as well and addressed that depth concern in the offseason. Denarius Moore, Mario Alford and Rex Burkhead may not get a lot of fans excited at this point in the season, but believe me, those three are significant upgrades from what we saw in Indianapolis last January. Like you, I will be hoping for health, but if injuries hit again, the 2015 Bengals team is built much better at the wide receiver and tight end positions and can withstand some injuries better than the 2014 squad could.