The Bengals' roster is starting to thin out and realities are inching closer for players itching to earn a paycheck in stripes this winter. In the third week of the preseason we’re seeing what happens to players with extended looks. Rookies are starting to disappear as Chris Jasperse, Desmond Lawrence, and John Peters were shown the door today but they won’t be the only ones. Take a look below and see who made an impact in the Bengals' crisp 23-10 victory over the Bears on Saturday night.
We finally saw the highly touted Oregon product on the field for the Bengals as he made his professional debut Saturday night, although most wished we didn't see it. It’s all but scientifically proven that missing two weeks in the preseason will hamper most veterans let alone rookies and Fisher was definitely hampered. In fact he looked to just be in the way most of the night negating two first downs for being out of position on the line and never really put himself in control to do anything when he wasn't offsides. It was a poor showing even by first game standards. Pedigree and clout will save him only for so long. Let’s hope for a stronger game against the Colts this Thursday.
Terrell Watson ranked second on the night for Bengal rushers hurdling for 41 yards on 9 carries. That’s the good news for Watson. The bad news is that time is running out for the undrafted rookie who is low on the depth chart. That’s not a statement about his performance, he’s merely a victim of circumstance. He is making waves in an already crowded ocean of running talent. Hill and Bernard aside, both Peerman and Burkhead have carved their names into the 53 man roster. Even then, Watson is most likely underneath James Wilder Jr. who already has two touchdowns in three preseason games this year and both men seem destined to be left behind. While the practice squad may be his future, something tells me we haven’t heard the last of this Azusa Pacific product.
The Chicago area native saw limited action against the Bears. He managed one catch for 10 yards on the only ball thrown to him. On Monday against Tampa Bay, Kumerow was the standout in a forgettable game for Cincinnati grabbing three catches for 42 yards. Once again, this talented former division III player will most likely start the season watching games from the stands because he is simply outranked by his WR comrades. Although, my guess is he’ll get quite a bit of time this Thursday against the Colts in the final preseason tiff.
Dawson keeps on coming. Three more tackles including one for a loss equals another great game for the former Horned Frog. Dawson has had nothing but momentum since the Bengals opened camp. Impressing in early workouts he has transitioned that into a solid preseason and is now threatening established veterans for playing time. With Burfict to start the season sidelined this is just what Cincinnati needed. If you haven’t read it already, take a look at this in-depth analysis on Dawson's game against Tampa Bay.
Speaking of establishing regular season playing time, let’s talk about Derron Smith. While Dawson might have been the biggest steal of the draft for the Bengals, Smith isn’t far behind. He had three tackles against the Bears and much like Dawson, his stock continues to rise. He’s making the coaching staff’s job harder every day and it’s hard to look the other way when he’s on the field.
Hardison had two tackles and a deflected pass against the Bears and it was another solid night in the books for the rookie. The versatile tackle will (hopefully) be living in the shadow of a fully rehabbed and monstrous Geno Atkins but the 135th pick has the ability to make an impression this season. He’s still behind on the depth chart but as everyone knows, fortunes turn quickly and Hardison isn't a bad option to have in your back pocket.
Alford is proving that this will be his spot when the season starts. Despite nabbing a catch for 9-yards on offense, his best looks were returning kicks and punts. His only kick return of the night yielded an 18-yard finish and his only punt return got him 15-yards of progress. His position on the 53 man roster is all but locked.
The "Nuge" is back and Obarski seems destined to turn into a pumpkin. Despite leading the team in scoring this preseason he will be peeled off the active roster come opening day.