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Bengals Bytes (8/13): Win-win-win

Why the Bengals are in a great situation with AJ McCarron. The Bengals’ pass rushers were the real winners from Friday’s game against the Bucs. Ezekiel Elliott could still face more punishment from the league.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Bengals get edgy
The Bengals tried to get pass rusher Chris Smith twice before and the third time looked charmed in Friday night’s pre-season opener when he terrorized the Bucs backups as if he were Dwight Freeney. Freeney because part of Smith’s off-season regimen involved watching tape of the future Hall-of-Famer and other elite sackers in an effort to revive a career that was dying last season, when Jacksonville put him on the bench for ten games.

Mixon, Bengals hit ground running
Joe Mixon had Trey Hopkins with the chocolate covered pretzels. Mixon, the Bengals rookie running back, got a birthday care package from his mother on the first day of training camp last month and immediately handed some over to his roommate, the four-year veteran guard, with the offer, “Here you go, Big Dog.” “He’s a great guy to get to know. Great roommate,” said Hopkins Friday night after both figured rather prominently in the Bengals’ 23-12 win over the Bucs in their pre-season opener. “He’s a very energetic guy … a very energetic player and he spreads that through the huddle.”

5 things to know about Cincinnati Bengals win vs. Tampa Bay
There were 33 players making their Cincinnati Bengals debuts Friday night, and at times it seemed as though they were playing a game of “top this.” On a night full of impressive debuts, the most impressive belonged to third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel, who threw for one touchdown and ran for another to rally the Bengals for a 23-12 comeback victory against Tampa Bay at Paul Brown Stadium. Driskel completed 8 of 9 passes for 97 yards, including an 8-yard scoring strike to rookie wide receiver Josh Malone, in addition to rushing for an 18-yard touchdown.

Walkthru: Bengals and the AJ McCarron win-win-win
That phrase originates from a movie in 1960 starting Yul Brynner of which I'm guessing most of you don't remember. For those more recent, I'll direct to Buffy, The Vampire Slayer of 2001. Much like any popular series from 90s, the AJ McCarron story just won't go away. As soon as you think it has, somebody else decides to breathe new life into it. The latest came with the feces thrown against the wall from a Denver radio host stating the Broncos and former Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph were "aggressively pursuing" a trade for McCarron. Not only did reporters immediately quash the report, but John Elway, who had previously tweeted just 369 times, decided to use 370 to call the report fake news.

AFC North Bytes

J.J. Watt Says a Kendrick Lamar Text Informed Him of Brother T.J.'s Big Debut
J.J. Watt told reporters Saturday he found out about his brother's stellar preseason debut from an unlikely source. Speaking at Houston Texans training camp, Watt said he checked his phone Friday night and saw a text message from rapper Kendrick Lamar informing him of T.J. Watt's two-sack effort against the New York Giants.

Hue Jackson vents about penalties and interceptions and pulls an Eric Mangini at practice
Hue Jackson was in a surly mood after practice. He opened his interview session this way: “You guys in a good mood? Cuz I’m not, so let’s get this over with as fast as we can.” It was over in 93 seconds. The first practice after the first preseason game was less-than-satisfying for Jackson. Myles Garrett jumped offsides against Joe Thomas, and was removed from the next rep. Later, when left guard Joel Bitonio jumped before the snap, Jackson ordered him to take a lap around the practice fields. We haven’t seen a coach do that since Eric Mangini was in charge.

Ravens, Jimmy Smith Restructure Deal
The Ravens and cornerback Jimmy Smith have agreed to a restructuring of his deal that will open up some cap room for the team. Smith will now have $7.725MM of his $8.5MM base salary converted into a signing bonus, Field Yates of tweets. The adjustment will create $5.15MM in cap space for Baltimore.

Random Bytes

Doctor Football: All-American, NFL, Brain Surgeon. Next Stop: White House?
He has the ultimate resume—and he's only 30. Walk along the career path of Myron Rolle, who's setting a new standard for overachievers every day.

Did Bucs put too much pressure on Aguayo?
After the Buccaneers surprised everyone by taking a kicker with the 59th overall pick in the draft, G.M. Jason Licht explained the move by heaping superlatives on the player. “I was very excited along with my staff and coaches about Roberto for a very long time,” Licht told PFT Live in May 2016.

Ezekiel Elliott Reportedly Could Face Further Discipline for July Bar Incident
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott reportedly could face additional NFL discipline stemming from his alleged involvement in a bar fight on July 16. Citing a source, the Dallas Morning News' Brandon George reported Elliott "was involved in a bar altercation in Dallas" that resulted in a DJ suffering a broken nose after he was punched in the face.

Jared Goff, Rams Beat Cowboys 13-10 in Preseason Battle; Todd Gurley Struggles
Offense was in short supply Saturday night as the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys 13-10 in preseason play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Snaps for starters proved scarce in the exhibition tilt, and that was particularly true for the reigning NFC East champions.