With the Bengals drafting TE Tyler Eiffert, I think TE Jermaine Gresham recognizes he’s playing for his job. In the 1st 2 drives he caught 2 impressive passes and finished looking for someone to lower the boom on. Eiffert, the promising rookie, was kept off the stat sheet (although he did have a 7 yard catch called back for penalty).
Rookie RB Giovani Bernard caught a pass underneath wide open on a 3rd and 20, and promptly tripped a little over his own feet for a gain of 16. His 2 other catches on the day netted him zero yards. He was ignored on potentially a wide open play, when QB Josh Johnson tried to force the ball to the middle of the field from the 1o yard line. Bernard could’ve walked in if Johnson had seen it- but later they forced the ball to get him his TD rushing. He didn’t have a terrific day running the football (10 carries for 28 yards and the TD), but he was clearly a part of the Bengals gameplan. He even had 1 punt return for 10 yards.
For what it’s worth, and despite missing the look on Bernard in the redzone, backup QB Josh Johnson looked good in this one. He basically scrambled at will all over Atlanta and then did just enough passing (9 for 16 100 yards and a TD) to really move his offense most of the time he was out there. He’s not worth drafting or stashing in any type of league for 2013 – but in dynasty if he ever gets sent to a team with an unsure starter than maybe you look at him.
I loved RB Steven Jackson for many years floundering on a bad team in St Louis. So I hope, and I do believe that his 5 carries for 8 yards is just a result of the preseason and shouldn’t derail his RB1 potential for this season. “Soft” is not a word I’ve ever used to describe him in his 10 year career – but that was how he ran in this game. He was brought down by the 1st tackler nearly every time, and he looked like he wanted no part of contact. I thought maybe he had switched places with Shaun Alexander under that helmet. Again, it’s preseason he may just be “being smart” with himself – but it may be something to monitor going forward.
RB Ronnie Wingo may be someone to keep an eye on in dynasty circles. The undrafted rookie is 6’3 and 235 pounds and is better suited to an eventual contributor at RB than I think of RB Jacquizz Rodgers. Wingo came in late so he was facing competition of questionable variety, but he ran very hard with great vision. He could be a name we hear more about in 2014 or 2015.