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Cincinnati Bengals Pregame: 08/18

Posted by Matt on August 18, 2007

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Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 7:30PM EST at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium 

The Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) are back home at Paul Brown Stadium for their second preseason game of the four-game schedule.  This week, the resurgent New Orleans Saints (0-2) from a year ago bring their high-powered offense in to “The Queen City” to go toe-to-toe with Carson Palmer and one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

The Bengals look to notch their first win of the preseason after a heartbreaking 26-27 loss to the Detroit Lions 10-days ago.  On offense, all of the normal starters will be on the field for the start of the game with the exception of right tackle Willie Anderson, who showed up to camp this week in a walking boot on his right foot stemming from shock treatment that will side line Big Willie indefinitely; this is an indescribable loss. Look for RT Scott Kooistra to take Anderson’s place with the starting front five as Kooistra was able to get a lot of repetitions this week at that position against the Saints’ starting line, and star Charles Grant, in the joint practices held between the two teams.  Kooistra is said to be one of the best re-signings for the Bengals as he is entering his fifth year with the team after resigning in late-winter without much debate.  Kooistra knows the Bengals’ system well but Willie Anderson is damn near irreplaceable.

Look for Palmer (7-10, 93 yards, 0/0) to play roughly the first quarter, maybe slightly more depending on how long the possessions last, before taking a seat to Doug Johnson (11-20, 150 yards, 1/1), who proved last week that he still needs a lot of work.  Look for Johnson to play close to one-and-a-half quarters with Jeff Rowe (5-7, 47 yards, 0/0) and Jeff Smith (DNP) splitting the remainder of the quarterback duties in mop-up.  Rowe should get more snaps than Smith, if Smith gets any at all, and if Rowe plays as well as he did last week, or better, look for him to see more playing time in the third preseason game, possibly supplanting Doug Johnson as the number two quarterback for this team.

With Kenny Irons out for the season, look for Quincy Wilson and Kenny Watson to carry the bulk of the load tonight for the running backs as Rudi Johnson will only see between 5-10 carries.  Among the wide receiving corps, superstars Chad Johnson and T.J. Whosyourmamma will be in just long enough to get 2-4 catches before bowing out to a plethora of wide receivers as the Bengals look for a third and fourth receiver to step up to replace Chris Henry, who will miss the first eight games due to a suspension.

On defense, the Bengals’ starting 11 are a Top 15 team in the NFL but the problem lies within their depth at various positions when new formations are utilized by the offense for certain situations, such as passing downs with four and five wide receiver sets.  The defense is affected by the losses of David Pollack (injury – season) and Odell Thurman (suspension – season) who were both important contributors when they played in their rookie seasons two years ago.  The Bengals’ secondary was torched last week by Detroits’ third string quarterback and had a blown coverage early in the second quarter that resulted in an 83-yard touchdown pass from J.T. O’Sullivan to Shaun MacDonald.  Look for a lot of shuffling among the cornerbacks and safties, as well as more snaps for the Nickel and Dime backs from the second tier of the depth chart (Keiwan Ratliff, Leon Hall, Chinedum Ndukwe).

New Orleans Saints (0-2)

The Saints enter their third preseason game of the year and are also looking for their first win.  The Saints bring in their world-famous offense to Paul Brown Stadium, but seeing as it is a preseason game this will not be much of a shootout.  Drew Brees will play at least a full quarter, if not more, with the remainder of the snaps being taken by Tyler Palko, Jason Fife, and Jamie Martin, who each had eight attempts in the first game. Palko, however, was the only quarterback not named Brees to see time in the second game so it is entirely possible that, with three games still remaining on the preseason for New Orleans (counting tonight), each backup will be given their own game to showcase their talents, taking all of the snaps after Brees is removed.  If that is the case, then Palko won’t see the field and heavy doses of Jason Fife or Jamie Martin will be seen.

The running back duties will be shared among Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, Antonio Pittman, and Aaron Stecker, with Bush and McAllister seeing fewer snaps because of the possibility of injury.  The wide receiving corps, like the Bengals, will be by committee with names like Devery Henderson, Terrance Copper, Lance Moore, and Robert Meachem seeing several snaps each.  However, Marques Colston, the rookie sensation from a year ago, will likely not see time; Colston is listed as questionable for tonight’s game.

On defense, look for former Bengals’ middle linebacker Brian Simmons to see several snaps in his homecoming as he tries to earn a starting job as a linebacker, a tough task as he will likely start the season behind Mark Simoneau on the depth chart for the base 4-3 defense.  Superstar cornerback Mike McKenzie is listed as questionable for the game, however he did see time during the scrimmages this week and lined up across from Chad Johnson during play. Lineman Brian Young is listed as out for tonight’s contest.

Prediction:

Cincinnati 24 – New Orleans 17

“The rookies in Detroit, the stadium was half full. It’s not going to be like this in Cincinnati,” Palmer said. “Even though it’s a preseason game it’s going to be sold out, it’s rocking. Don’t think all preseason games are like this. It’s different when we play at home.” –Carson Palmer, on what it is like playing at home during the preseason opposed to on the road

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