With Week 1 behind us, it’s time to see how the Bengals fare against a legitimate NFL team. Let’s be honest, the Raiders aren’t very good AND they lost Derek Carr while playing the Bengals. It’s hard for me to read too much into the results of that game due to it being Week 1 and the level of competition.
The Chargers have had a grand total of one losing season since 2004. While they have rarely ascended to "elite" status in the NFL, you can always count on them fielding an above average roster. This game will have a little extra meaning to players who were on the roster two years ago when the Chargers came into Cincinnati and handed the Bengals another first round exit in the Andy Dalton-era.
1.) Michael Johnson
Last week, we didn’t really know what to expect from Johnson. He missed all of the preseason with a knee injury, so he didn’t have the opportunity to shake the rust (and that Tampa Bay stench) off of him. The good thing is he played more than fans anticipated, grabbing 38 snaps at right defensive end. The bad news is, despite combining with Geno Atkins for a strip-sack, Johnson graded negatively according to Pro Football Focus. I’m not completely shocked as he is surely working his way back into game shape while simultaneously getting acclimated to playing in Cincinnati’s defensive scheme again. I don’t expect for him to be a totally different player this week, but I would like to see him make some positive progress. When healthy, he is far superior to Wallace Gilberry as a three-down lineman.
2.) Domata Peko
Peko was not terrible against Oakland, which seems to be all we can ask for at this point. He only graded slightly in the negative as per PFF, and I’m personally pretty content with that. However, I hope he can redeem himself for his performance against San Diego in the 2013 season's playoffs. I had the misfortune of being at that game, and it was hard to watch him get blown off of the ball every single snap. Here’s to hoping he will use that as motivation against a weakened Chargers interior o-line.
3.) Geno Atkins
I think it is safe to say the old Geno is back. I had forgotten what it was like to see that type of explosion off of the snap, but Atkins was nice enough to remind us in Week 1. Week 2 brings a slightly depleted San Diego offensive line. D.J. Fluker is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, so his backup will have the unenviable task of lining up against Atkins. I would be shocked if he doesn’t have an absolute monster game
4.) Marvin Jones
MoJo was relatively quiet in Week 1 with two catches for 19 yards. With Tyler Eifert gobbling up targets all over the field, including the red zone, it wasn’t a major concern. It was good to just see Jones out there unhindered by any nagging injuries. After a year spent recovering, expectations have to be tempered, but he should be a big part of the Bengals' offense as the year progresses. Like Johnson, I hope to see him make some strides this week.
5.) Jeremy Hill
My fantasy teams were pretty happy with Hill’s two touchdowns, but his 3.3 yards per carry left something to be desired as Giovani Bernard seemed to be the more effective back against the Raiders. However, we know the type of ability Hill possesses. He will be key to keeping Philip Rivers off of the field and allowing the Bengals to chew up the clock. Look for him to #StayTurnt this week.