The Bengals' win on Sunday was more than a little convincing. A solid offensive day and a tremendous defensive statement equaled a very pleasant opening weekend for the Cincinnati faithful. Yes, it was against a struggling Oakland franchise and yes, the majority of the game was against backup quarterback Matt McGloin. But when you have the second toughest schedule in the NFL no win can be overlooked. The rookies gathered their first NFL minutes in their first official game, let's breakdown how the NFL newborns did.
Mario Alford, Josh Shaw, C.J. Uzomah and Marcus Hardison were held out of Sunday's contest and listed as inactive. Shaw and Hardison were both injured in practice last week so their absences from the game were expected. Alford is a casualty of having too many strong offensive targets at Andy Dalton's disposal. Not a bad problem to have. Uzomah has yet to show he's worthy of being active on game days. He was said to have practiced with the practice squad at times last week, so it may be a surprise if he's active on a game day anytime soon.
The second round pick for the Bengals saw minimal action in his first regular season game getting in on only 13 of the 68 offensive snaps. But this was to be expected after Fisher saw limited time during offseason workouts and preseason games. He will most likely continue to dip his toe into the water throughout the season spelling the established veterans. Overall the offensive line was phenomenal against Oakland, opening up enough holes to give Cincinnati a pair of 63-yard rushers and kept Dalton safe. This is what the Bengals want: their young tackle to learn from one of the best lines in the business. The gains on paper may be small for Fisher but the payoff in the coming years will be worth it.
The explosive rookie linebacker who turned so many heads in the preseason saw only five snaps. This is to be expected especially when your defense is pitching a shutout through the majority of the game. Dawson recorded a collective tackle and got his name in the scorebook, so at least there is that. This is a long season and if you were to pick on an area that needs work it might as well be the well-known linebacking core. Dawson will find his niche and start to get his snaps when opportunities arusem he is too talented of a player to be off the field for long.
Marvin Lewis made a move we rarely see from him in keeping youth over experience as the talented Smith overcame the odds and beat out Shiloh Keo. We didn't see any eye-popping interceptions in Smith's one down played on defense, but as with all the rookies it will take time for the talented safety to see more playing time.