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Bengals Bytes (8/23): Could Cincinnati be a surprise playoff team?

One major sports outlet thinks the Bengals could end up in the playoffs.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NE

Quick hits: Eifert hopeful; Brown-out; McRae returns
Everyone is expecting tight end Tyler Eifert to play his first game in 347 days Sunday when the Bengals go to Buffalo (4 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) for what is also expected to be the dress rehearsal for the Sept. 9 opener in Indianapolis.

Brown getting his kicks, but what's next?
If there’s one thing Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis detests more than quarterback controversies, it is kicking competitions. You can put rookies and depth charts up there, too. But you can really sense Lewis’ queasiness about the kicking game when he talks about why he’ll take the experienced consistency of Randy Bullock over Jonathan Brown’s bionic yet untried leg.

The anonymous line that spawned unforgettable play
As quarterback Andy Dalton’s face flashes on the New Era Field scoreboard for a thank you during Sunday’s pre-season game (4 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) in Buffalo and wide receiver Tyler Boyd’s youth football league in Western Pennsylvania enjoys a gift season, the Bengals offensive line that made all the wonderful largesse possible has been swiftly re-made while continuing to grind in thankless obscurity.

Broadcast Crews for First Four Bengals Games
The Bengals start the 2018 season on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. in Indianapolis against the Colts. The CBS (Cincinnati’s Local 12) game will be called by Andrew Catalon and James Lofton.

1988 Super Bowl Team to be Honored at Home Opener
The Bengals will honor the 1988 Super Bowl team’s 30th anniversary with a special celebration at the home opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Sept. 13. Forty-five members of the team are expected to attend, including head coach Sam Wyche, OT Anthony Munoz and NT Tim Krumrie.

Bengals preview: Cincy can be surprise playoff team with improved O
After finishing second in offensive efficiency in 2015 and 11th in 2016, the Bengals’ offensive collapse last season saw them finish at 22nd. The main reason behind the unit’s downfall was the abhorrent play up front. Cincy opted to let left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right guard Kevin Zeitler walk in free agency last year, which caused the line to suffer dramatically and it sunk the offense as a whole.

Daugherty: Bengals need more than lineman Glenn to protect Andy Dalton
Cordy Glenn is a mammoth man among mammoth men. Six-foot-six, 345 pounds, arms nearly to his knees. To get around Cordy Glenn, a pass rusher needs quickness, strength, speed and a couple days. A generation ago, Glenn would not only have been the best Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman, but also their most important. Now? One out of two ain’t bad.

Cincinnati Bengals: New OT Cordy Glenn set to meet former team
The Bengals will travel to play the Bills in their third preseason game Sunday, and it’s safe to assume Glenn carries a little chip on his shoulder as he makes his first trip back to New Era Field since Buffalo traded him to Cincinnati in March.

Random Bytes

Travis Frederick Announces That He's Been Diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome
A first-round pick in 2013, Frederick has not missed a game in his five seasons in the NFL. He is a four-time Pro Bowler and earned first team All-Pro honors in 2016 as well as second-team honors in 2014 and 2015. He signed a six-year, $56.4 million extension prior to the 2016 season that made him the highest-paid center in the league.

Will Deshaun Watson of Houston Texans, Carson Wentz of Philadelphia Eagles regress in 2018?
The two most impactful quarterbacks of 2017 both ended their seasons on the sidelines with torn ACLs. Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz put together highlight-reel campaigns before being struck down with knee injuries.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Reportedly Agrees to Contract with Raiders
The one contest he missed was due to a suspension stemming from a violation of team rules. Per ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan, DRC nearly left the stadium during an October loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, and he later walked out of a defensive meeting at the team facility.

Khalil Mack Trade Rumors: Jets Have Expressed Interest in Raiders Star
According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets inquired about the availability of Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack. Mehta described Mack, who is holding out and has not reported to training camp, as "disgruntled," suggesting another team may be able to pry him from the Raiders via trade.

Aaron Hernandez Allegedly Sold His Jersey Number to Finance Drug Deal
According to Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel, Baez wrote in Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez that his former client sold the No. 85 jersey to Ochocinco for $50,000 so he could complete a wholesale drug purchase that ultimately netted him a $70,000 profit.