The boys in stripes have been at it for about a week and a half now, and it is becoming more clear to the coaches who deserves a spot on the team and who just may not have what it takes to make it in the NFL. They have had some exciting returns, like Geno Atkins and Leon Hall on defense, but some minor setbacks, like tight end Jermaine Gresham and wide receiver Marvin Jones who have barely practiced because of injuries. The offense has shown a quicker pace to it under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.
This team is ready to get over the playoff hump and get out of the first round, and here are three players that could really help them accomplish that this year based off what they have shown in training camp this year.
1. Tyler Eifert– the tight end out of Notre Dame is going into his second NFL season, and with that comes more experience and knowledge of the game. Him and Andy Dalton have built more chemistry and it has shown on the field. In one practice this past week, Dalton his Eifert for three passes that would have gone for touchdowns in a real game situation, but were blown dead in the team’s scrimmage. Eifert adds to the already talent filled Bengals’ offense with AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Marvin Jones. Jackson likes the diversity of his offense and sees Eifert having a bigger impact in his second year.
2. Andy Dalton- Dalton has shown that the extra work he put in working on his mechanics in the off season has really paid off. He has shown better decision making skills and quicker releases, leading to more plays happening. He has continued to prove that despite what the critics say, he can throw the deep ball accurately. He also looked good making passes over the middle to receiver Mohamed Sanu or down the sidelines to Green. He has not been performing like he has a long term contract extension looming over his head, and hopefully he can continue that into the regular season.
3. Ryan Hewitt- Hewitt is a rookie fullback/tight end out of Stanford. Hewitt has impressed coaches with his ability to hold onto the ball over the middle, including when he takes hits from linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Hewitt’s performances have earned him some snaps with the first team offense. Hewitt could battle it out with Orson Charles for a roster spot when it comes time for the coaches to put the final roster together.
The Bengals have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. Jackson seems to be getting the offense to run at a more efficient level and if Dalton can turn down the turnovers and turn up the accuracy, this offense could be super dangerous. If training camp is any preview to what we can expect this season, Cincinnati has a lot of high expectations to live up to.