Bengals’ OL Concerns

Behind Enemy Lines Bengals’ OL Concerns

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Cincinnati Bengals

Newsy Note of the Week

Andre Smith missed the entire pre-season, and it appears his status for Sunday’s game against the Ravens is still up in the air. The starting right tackle returned to practice this week after reportedly battling concussion-like symptoms.

Here’s a quote from Marvin Lewis via Cincy Jungle:

“I don’t know if Andre will be ready to come out of the gate,” Lewis said before practice. “Concerns really don’t matter, because nobody gives me anything for them, so we’ll know where Andre is when we get to Sunday.”

With a Ravens defense that features an array of pass-rushers, the Bengals don’t need any more trouble when it comes to protecting Andy Dalton.

Game Preview

The Bengals travel to Baltimore, trying to knock off the Ravens in the season opener. There are many battles in this game, including the Bengals secondary having their hands full trying to defend the new-look offense the Ravens will bring to the table.

All five rostered cornerbacks (Hall, Newman, Jones, Kirkpatrick, Dennard) will potentially get a significant amount of playing time as the Ravens will feature an offense that is full of weapons even without Ray Rice.

Look for Steve Smith Sr. to be the key receiver in this one. The Bengals will have to choose to key in on someone, and it could be the newly-acquired Smith.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Newsy Note of the Week

Johnny Manziel isn’t listed as the starter on the Browns depth chart, but don’t tell Mike Tomlin that.

Here’s Tomlin’s quote on Manziel via Yahoo:

“We have a great deal of respect for Johnny Manziel and his talents and what he did to get to this point in his career,” Tomlin said. “We fully expect them to utilize him in some capacity in this football game. They didn’t draft him in the first round to watch. … We understand that…”

Johnny Football, the NFL’s latest media wonderboy, should see the field at some point, even if it’s in a “Manziel package” the Browns order up. Either way, it’s a storyline to watch that could potentially be a game-changer.

Game Preview

This pre-season, the Steelers ranked third-worst in the league with an average of 150+ yards let up on the ground per game.

The Browns are no slouches when it comes to the running game, and they will look to take advantage of this. They’ll pack a punch with newly-acquired RB Ben Tate and rookie RB Terrance West on Sunday, forcing the Steelers to shore up their run defense. This could be the key factor in the matchup.

Ben Tate will take the field eager to get his first starting NFL season under his belt while Terrance West will be excited to play a regular season NFL game for the first time. Expect the duo to carry a heavy load with Brian Hoyer under center.


Cleveland Browns

Newsy Note of the Week

Josh Gordon’s suspension has been handed down, but that hasn’t stopped him from working hard to make money. According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Gordon will be working as the “goodwill ambassador for the Sarchione Auto Group” in Ohio.

So, a car salesman…

Gordon had a breakout season in 2013, hauling in 87 passes for 1646 yards and nine touchdowns. He’ll miss the entire season, and won’t be eligible to return to the team until the official onset of the 2015 season.

Reports last night from the NBC crew said there’s a chance Gordon’s suspension could be lifted, but the rumor doesn’t appear to have legs at the moment, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Game Preview

We touched a bit on the Manziel saga, but the work of the Browns’ run defense could decide the game against the Steelers. While the game isn’t a “gimme”, the Steelers have shown that they are extremely vulnerable.

The defensive front of Cleveland will look to take a big step up this season with the additions of Karlos Dansby and Chris Kirksey.

Donte Whitner, known as one of the hardest hitting safeties in the game, will also provide much-needed help over the top as well as in the running game. He can pack a punch, but his athleticism is unquestioned as well. If there’s one guy to watch in this one, it’s Whitner making his Browns debut.

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Joe Wedra

About Joe Wedra

Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the game! More from Joe Wedra


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