clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

5 Bengals to watch for against the Cowboys

New, comments

Expect a few hot names to be featured earlier in the Bengals’ second preseason matchup in Dallas.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Bengals are on the road for the first time this preseason when they face the Cowboys in Dallas.

The game will get a primetime broadcast on the NFL Network, so this will be a great chance to see what the 2018 Bengals are capable of.

Here are five Bengals to watch in preseason game No. 2:

Jeff Driskel

The preseason is starting to look like Driskel’s backyard playground. In five career exhibition games from last year to now with the Bengals, the third-year quarterback has thrown for 304 yards on 8.44 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 111.34.

As of this moment, Driskel is still behind Matt Barkley as Andy Dalton’s backup, but head coach Marvin Lewis hinted at Driskel playing behind the first-team offensive line in traditional Lewis fashion:

“Stay tuned (laughs).”

Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt also expressed interest in letting Driskel loose a little earlier in the game.

Does this mean Driskel will start playing in front of Barkley, or will the first group of offensive lineman play more? If I were a betting man, my money would be on the former.

But I’m not, and I’ll never put my money on the line based off the words of Lewis. But this is something to keep an eye on.

Auden Tate

Similar to Driskel, there’s speculation that we could see Tate out on the field earlier than the second half like last Thursday.

Tate saw reps with the first-team offense late last week in practice, and Cody Core did not practice yesterday for undisclosed reasons. His preseason opener acted like the culmination of his work in training camp, and with Core seemingly getting phased out of receiving room simultaneously, we could see Tate out there against slightly better competition.

Alex Redmond

Behind Trey Hopkins at right guard, Redmond and Christian Westerman are still vying for Hopkins’ spot, and the competition won’t be settled until the beginning of the regular season. But it appears that it’ll be Redmond who might get the first chance with center Billy Price and right tackle Bobby Hart beside him with the first-team unit.

Redmond has been taking snaps with the first-team over the past couple of practices, so the Bengals offense could be preparing to take Hopkins out and put Redmond in a little earlier than last week.

Brandon Bell

The injury to linebacker Vincent Rey could have many beneficiaries in the linebackers room, but Bell could be the biggest winner. Taking snaps with the second-team unit right after Rey left the preseason opener with his sprained ankle, Bell saw plenty of action and even caught an interception.

With Rey’s status for Saturday’s game in doubt, Bell will probably be taking his reps at SAM linebacker behind starter Nick Vigil. He still has an outside shot of making the roster, but more playing time will not hurt his chances.

Jessie Bates

While Bates did not make a lot of splash plays in training camp, he’s still a highly-regarded talent and is expected to make an impact early on in the regular season. He replaced George Iloka at free safety at the beginning of the second series for the defense, and Lewis’ comments reflect that to continue going forward:

“We have been pushing him in (the game) early, and you want to see him take command when he has to take command.” Lewis explained. “He could end up being the guy back there real quick. You have to keep urging Jessie to move forward.”

It sounds like Bates will in fact see the field early and often throughout the preseason, and we’ll be watching to see him make his first impact play against a questionable Cowboys passing game.