It was a Super Bowl rematch that didn’t matter, which means there weren’t a whole lot of potential starters playing in the third and final preseason game for both the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.
Still, a few things were made clear. And here they are:
1. Jackson Carman is not consistent enough to start
This is another way of saying, Cordell Volson forced himself into the starting lineup by outworking the former second round pick. Less than two weeks ago, Geoff Hobson came on our show and told us that, “I don’t think Volson has won [the starting left guard spot] or is even ahead.”
It’s all but official that Volson has leapfrogged Carman.
Here is head coach Zac Taylor on Volson:
Zac Taylor on starting LG Cordell Volson: “I see steady improvement. He’s consistent. We know what we are getting out of him.”— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 28, 2022
Consistency, reliability were what set him apart in winning this gig.
And here he is on Carman:
Zac Taylor on Jackson Carman "This was Jackson's opportunity. We thought we'd give him a great opportunity to show what he can do."— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 28, 2022
How did he do?
"We'll see (after watching the tape)."
As John Sheeran pointed out, the fact that coaches didn’t feel the need to see Volson and played Carman the whole game tell you everything.
But don’t expect Carman to necessarily get cut. As we saw this preseason, the team has bad depth at o-line, and Carman has the physical tools to be better than most other options.
Just finished this last preseason game. Despite the few REALLY bad snaps, Jackson Carman had a decent day. Maybe I'm just getting comfortable with his flaws, but his strength and length inside allow him to get some wins despite being sloppy.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) August 28, 2022
So it appears that Volson has a better work ethic or understanding of how to improve. Carman, though, is still only 22 years old, which is, in fact, two years younger than Volson. And this front office doesn’t give up on its prospects as quickly as most.
2. Brandon Allen is no longer a lock to be the backup QB
“It’s Brandon Allen as a backup. I think there’s a far enough distance between [the other quarterbacks] and Brandon Allen that they would not consider [a change].”
But then, last night, when Paul Dehner Jr. asked if Allen were still the backup, Taylor was noncommittal:
Asked Zac Taylor if Brandon Allen was the backup quarterback after Jake Browning had a solid preseason/camp.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 28, 2022
This was his answer and it didn’t include the word “yes.” Could be a number of reasons for that, of course, personnel decisions are yet to be made. But we’ll see. pic.twitter.com/Db8ZfaiCNq
3. Zach Carter is ascending
The third round pick out of Florida may provide more than just depth on the defensive line. He could be developing into something special.
A few weeks ago, Dan Hoard noted that Carter looked dominant in one-on-one pass drills and shared a quote that shows he is a willing learner.
2. Rookie DT Zach Carter was dominant in one-on-one pass rush drills, winning with a quick burst at the line.— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) August 2, 2022
“I ask a lot of questions and have been soaking everything up,” he said. “I look at myself on film and I watch the vets to see if I’m doing everything the right way.” pic.twitter.com/f4uPBY7QSl
And then, we all saw him make the most explosive play on defense last night, a monstrous strip stack of Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins that showcased his refined technique, strength, speed, and drive:
4. Drue Chrisman is probably the punter
Taylor said a decision would come soon after the final preseason game, which means that contest would be a factor. Though the situations were different, Chrisman booted two punts for 107 yards, including a 65-yarder. Kevin Huber, meanwhile, had two punts for 75 yards.
Drue Chrisman is your punter.— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) August 28, 2022
Cordell Volson is your left guard.
Trent Taylor is your punt returner.
Chris Evans is your kick returner.
Think all the starting job battles from camp are over for the #Bengals, that’s a big takeaway watching tonight’s action.
5. Kendric Pryor deserves to be on a roster
If the Bengals didn’t have the best trio of wide receivers in the entire league, there would be no doubt that Pryor would make their 53 man roster. Thankfully for him, most teams don’t have Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.
Last night, had another impressive preseason game, hauling in five passes for 65 yards and looking smooth in doing so.
Kendric Pryor needs to make this team pic.twitter.com/T3SmmnMIYk— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) August 28, 2022
There is a chance that the team keeps seven wide receivers, in which case, most think it’ll come down to Pryor or Kwamie Lassiter II. We talked about that competition and more in our most recent show.
You can also listen to the analysis on iTunes or using the player below: