Tyler Eifert, tight end
Earlier this week, Eifert was listed as day-to-day as he recovered from a shoulder injury. He practiced fully the past two days, so we might see him and Gresham playing together for the first time in the preseason. Obviously, the two tight end offense will be a big part of Hue Jackson's offense this year.
Eifert was unstoppable down the seam in training camp. He had the second most touchdowns in camp behind AJ Green. Eifert will be flexed out wide more in 2014, especially in the first few games due to Marvin Jones' injury.
Sean Porter, linebacker
Marvin Lewis broke the news this morning that 2013 fourth rounder Sean Porter has been taking snaps with the starting linebackers in place of Vontaze Burfict, who is out with a stomach bug.
Porter himself has missed most of this camp with a knee injury and missed all of last year with a dislocated shoulder. Because of this, Porter is a bit of a mystery man. It's a good sign that Lewis feels comfortable putting Porter in with the starting defense in practice.
Now, we need to see Porter play well in a game. He is involved in one of the most hotly contested battles right now at backup linebacker.
Marquis Flowers, linebacker
Flowers, a sixth round rookie, has had a very good camp so far. His size and speed make him an ideal special teams player, but his run defense has been a bit suspect in the first two preseason games. We should see a lot of him in the Cardinals game in the second half.
Flowers and Porter, currently the sixth and seventh linebackers on the team in either order, are battling for their lives. Jayson DiManche also figures into the mix. Similar to Flowers, DiManche has the size and speed combination to be a good special teams player, but he has struggled in run defense this preseason.
DiManche is the first backup at the strong side linebacker position, so I feel he has a leg up over Porter and Flowers.
James Wright, wide receiver
Fortunately, Wright's injury during the Jets game was not too serious. If he had been able to play in the game, he might have made a few more plays than his fellow receivers Cobi Hamilton and Ryan Whalen. Hamilton's miserable performance has cracked the backup receiver battle wide open.
Wright will get a lot of playing time in the second half of this game. He has been impressive as a receiver in training camp and in the Chiefs game. However, he needs to cut down on the penalties on special teams. If Wright plays well in these last two games, he will be the sixth and final receiver on the 53-man roster.
Jeremy Hill, running back
Hill is another player who was injured during the Jets game, and fortunately the injury was minor. Yesterday, Marvin Lewis revealed that Hill will get the opportunity to play with the first team against the Cardinals.
Hill will be a big part of the offense this year. He may end up with more than 200 carries by the time the season is over. No Bengals rookie has done that since Corey Dillon in 1997.
Hill has looked very solid as a runner between the tackles so far. He has shown elusiveness once he gets to the second level, indicating that he will be able to break off some long runs unlike his predecessor - the Law Firm. Keep an eye on his pass protection.
Other players to watch:
DT Devon Still, DT Christo Bilukidi, CB RJ Stanford, S Taylor Mays, S Shawn Williams, S Danieal Manning, G Trey Hopkins, OT Tanner Hawkinson