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Preseason Week 3 - Players to Watch

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The dress rehearsal is upon us. After a disappointing performance against the Buccaneers, your eyes should be on these guys as the attempt to stand out or solidify their position on the roster.

Russell Bodine has a lot to prove after a rough preseason showing.
Russell Bodine has a lot to prove after a rough preseason showing.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

In the third week of the preseason, we will see our starters get some more playing time in an effort to get them ready for the regular season. Based on what we saw last week, they need to have a good showing this week after an embarrassing performance against the Buccaneers. This week’s player’s to watch will reflect that, looking slightly more at some of the Bengals’ more embattled starters.

1) Russell Bodine

My goodness. After a training camp filled with errant snaps, Bodine has gone out and been manhandled by opposing interior lineman on a regular basis during the first two weeks of the preseason. He is clearly the weakest starter on the offense, and probably the weakest starter at any position on the team. With talented and versatile lineman filling out the offensive line’s depth chart, the pressure may be on Bodine to start performing at a higher level. For all of our sake’s, I hope the pressure is on.

2) A.J. Hawk

With Vontaze Burfict likely headed to the PUP list, A.J. Hawk has been starting in his place. In that time, he hasn’t done much to warrant being a starting linebacker in the NFL. However, P.J. Dawson has played well when he has played, notching a +3.4 PFF score in less than 20 snaps. Dawson also happens to be the man sitting directly behind Hawk on the Will LB depth chart. Hawk will have to step up, or that depth chart may be reordered heading into week one (If Marvin Lewis will play the young guy).

3) Trey Hopkins

The second year player hasn’t done on the field much, and in that time his replacement has taken advantage of the reps given to him. Dan France seems to be in the good graces of the coaching staff despite a -1.3 PFF score against the Giants. He started at both left tack and right guard at Michigan State, giving him the versatility that Paul Alexander loved in his lineman. I was pretty high on Hopkins coming into camp, but as I’ve said before, the best ability is availability. He has failed to demonstrate that ability thus far, and he could find himself back on the practice squad because of it.

4) Andre Smith

Barring injury, Big Smitty is going to be the starter at RT. However, we haven’t seen him yet this preseason, but he has returned to practice this week, so I would assume that the time is now. With his history of injuries (he’s dealing with a foot issue currently) and conditioning issues, he needs to be healthy and in game shape as soon as humanly possible. Either that, or we’ll have Eric Winston starting at RT. Based on his performance last week, that is something we don’t want to have to resort to again.

5) Chris Carter

Despite the crimes against Bengaldom committed by the Bengals' defense last week, there actually were a couple of bright spots. The brightest was Chris CarterHe tallied 1.5 sack, two QB hits, a tackle for loss, and several other pressures against the Buccaneers. If there is one thing the Bengals couldn’t do last year, it was pressure the QB, and this guy seems to have a knack for it. The downfall is that he didn’t do much against the Giants, so he needs to show that he can do it on a more consistent basis. I believe that he is battling four other guys for the final LB spot, so he will have to separate himself during the next two weeks.