Dalton puts on a show, looking season-ready
If there was any doubt about Andy Dalton’s 2014 readiness, it was put to rest after what the “red-headed rifle” did a few nights ago against the New York Jets.
While the Bengals dropped their second straight pre-season game 25-17, Dalton and his receivers put on a show. The starting offense scored on the first and only three drives Dalton was at the helm.
His final line was 8/8, 144 yards and a TD.
He was able to hit A.J Green three times for 69 yards, and ultimately led the offense to a score when he hit Mohamed Sanu deep down the field in-stride for a 43-yard touchdown strike.
The drop-off was clear when Dalton left the game for the Bengals, and it’s becoming clear that he’s the future in Cincinnati. With the way the offense is playing so far this preseason, it’s looking like it could be a long season for the secondaries around the AFC North.
According to multiple reports, receiver Marvin Jones, who is listed as a starter across from A.J Green, will be out for awhile after suffering a broken foot.
Hue Jackson talked about their receiver via ESPN.com:
“Obviously he’s a huge part of what we do,” Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. “We’ll miss him ’til we get him back, but at the same time, I can’t worry about it. We have good guys, good players, and it’s always the next man up. We’ll keep firing up the guys we have.”
It sounds like Jones may indeed miss the first game against the Ravens.
As for other players on the team, rookie CB Darqueze Dennard reportedly left the game against the Jets with a hip injury, and QB Jason Campbell is still trying to make a full comeback from an elbow injury.
Shazier stands out
Pittsburgh rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier was highly touted out of Ohio State, and it appears he’s bringing his skill-set with him to the big stage of the NFL.
The former Buckeye finished the preseason game against the Buffalo Bills with nine tackles and an interception on a tough coverage.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he’s drawing attention from veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons:
“His pass coverage is awesome,” inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. “You saw the tackles; he was making tackles left and right. He has the pedigree. He has all the talent and the intangibles you want in an inside linebacker.”
Shazier is currently listed as one of the starting inside linebackers next to Timmons, and there’s not much competition behind him. If he can stay healthy, he could be wreaking havoc all season for the black and gold.
Running game blues
Despite expecting LeVeon Bell to have a big year, Steeler fans might have some worries about the state of their team’s running game heading into the regular season.
After not mustering up much in week one of the preseason, the Steelers couldn’t find anything on the ground against the Bills.
The whole offense looked out of place, and it was evident that the entire unit didn’t have their whole scheme together.
Here are the lines from Saturday’s game:
Bell: 4 rushes, 11 yards
LeGarrette Blount: 3 rushes, 0 yards
Dri Archer: 2 rushes, 1 yard
Tauren Poole: 3 rushes, 7 yards
While there weren’t many opportunities in the ground game, the unit wasn’t able to capitalize on their chances.
It’s a bit early to call this a major concern, but it’s definitely something to watch as we head into the year.
Quarterbacks duel on MNF
Last night’s game on ESPN looked to be the biggest competition to date, as both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel got their opportunities to shine.
Manziel began the game extremely shaky, and couldn’t pick things up as his playing time increased. He couldn’t handle the Redskins’ pressure early and failed to show much accuracy out of the gate.
As the game progressed, Manziel couldn’t do anything to establish himself as the starter ahead of Hoyer. His most successful play came on an inside screen touchdown pass to Dion Lewis.
Hoyer showed his inexperience on many plays, most notably missing a wide-open receiver in the endzone to miss a sure-fire touchdown. He finished the night 2/6, and said in his post-game presser that he couldn’t have done much worse.
Browns get in on the action, take Ice Bucket Challenge
Ravens fans will like this one. The Browns took the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” in honor of former Raven player, OJ Brigance, who is struggling with the disease.
Johnny Middle Finger
We had to add this in here, just in case you may have missed Johnny Manziel’s latest stunt last night against the Washington Redskins.
NOTE: We’re still waiting to hear word on Josh Gordon’s discipline from the NFL. Many experts are speculating that the team’s star receiver will at-least miss 8 games.