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5 things we learned from Bengals’ preseason loss to Washington

The defense impressed against Washington, with one rookie standing out.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals played their second preseason game on Friday, a 17-13 loss to the Washington Football Team.

The offense looked sluggish, but there’s no reason to panic about that just yet. Joe Burrow has yet to play, so Brandon Allen is going out there while taking the majority of his snaps in practice with the twos. He’s not on the same page with most of the first offense, but that’s no cause to be worried.

The Bengals have one more preseason game before they finalize the roster. So here’s what we learned from the second preseason game against Washington.

Ja’Marr Chase needs to work on his hands

He just needs to practice with his hands more, and that’s all we’ll say about that.

Darius Hodge shines again

Darius Hodge improved on his solid case from last week, and Taylor gave him the chance to play with the first team. That resulted in Hodge getting in the backfield and deflecting a pass, which brought up a fourth down.

The Bengals clearly wanted a look at Hodge, since he played with nearly every defensive line combination.

With the recent news on Joseph Ossai, the door is open for Hodge. He best fits Ossai’s mold of outside linebacker turned pass rusher. Hodge best fits the role the Bengals wanted for Ossai. The fact that he played with the ones shows that the Bengals thought highly of him before.

Now with Ossai likely out for the season, Hodge has a real opportunity in front of him.

The offensive line picture is clarifying

The offensive line was murky before the preseason started. Frankly, the coaching staff didn’t have any idea how they wanted it to look.

But two games into the preseason, it’s starting to become more clear.

The Bengals’ staff will probably throw out one more iteration of a starting line before the regular season begins, but the personnel for the 53-man roster is rounding out.

Overall, the offensive line did well against Washington. After the first drive, the Bengals’ line was solid in pass protection, giving up zero sacks and zero quarterback knee injuries.

Jackson Carman and Michael Jordan are looking better than what many expected. They even played a series against the Washington first-round-filled defensive line.

Carman is starting to develop into the player the Bengals saw when they drafted, and Jordan has definitely turned the corner.

The backup tackles didn’t look impressive, though, so even though he didn’t play against Washington, D’Ante Smith has a chance to secure a backup tackle spot.

Jonah Williams, Riley Reiff, D’Ante Smith, and Fred Johnson will probably be the tackles on the Week 1 roster. Between Xavier Su’a-Filo, Quinton Spain, Trey Hopkins, Billy Price, Jordan, and Carman, one will be cut next weekend.

The starting combination is still up in the air, but the options they will have to work with Week 1 are becoming more apparent.

Trenton Irwin is getting a good look

It seemed like the Bengals wanted to give Trenton Irwin a chance to win a roster spot on Friday. What he did with that opportunity is another matter altogether, but at least we know he got an opportunity.

Irwin had six targets, double what Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, Thaddeus Moss, and Mike Thomas had, who were all tied for second on the team. Irwin only hauled in two catches though. One of them ended in a fumble, which was negated by a penalty, but still not the ideal scenario.

There were a few passes that were poorly delivered by Brandon Allen, which may end up helping Irwin’s case. But if he gets as many opportunities next week against Miami, then he’ll hope to do much better.

He had an impressive game against the Buccaneers. If he can repeat that performance, then he’ll be able to make a solid case for the roster.

The defense was impressive overall

The Bengals did a good job of bending but not breaking against Washington.

In a regular season game (especially with Joe Burrow under center), if the Bengals’ defense only gives up 17 points, the Bengals are in a good spot to win. Three field goals and a touchdown is not a bad result at all.

The Bengals pass rush looks invigorated thanks to Larry Ogunjobi, Trey Hendrickson, and even Hodge. Logan Wilson looks great in the middle of the field. In the secondary, Chidobe Awuzie had a great pass breakup against Terry McLaurin.

As far as depth goes, this result was even more impressive considering the Football Team left their ones after the Bengals subbed on their second defense, and left their twos in a against the Bengals’ threes.

The Bengals’ defense hasn’t recovered from losing Mike Zimmer, but this might be the best the defense has looked since then. At the very least, the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment are starting to see returns.