Around the NFL  

 

What to watch: Bengals-Bucs cap preseason Week 2

Print

The second week of the preseason wraps up on Monday night in Tampa, where the Buccaneers and Bengals will face off. Here's what to watch for:

» Bucs coach Lovie Smith labeled Jameis Winston's preseason debut against the Vikings a "typical Jameis Winston day." Winston led the team on a touchdown drive in his final series, but also threw an interception and fumbled once -- and that was without Geno Atkins trying to turn him into a human pancake. Perhaps Winston will draw some inspiration from Marcus Mariota, who thrived in his second preseason appearance. For what it's worth, Winston is coming off a strong week of practice.

Every game, all season

» Keep an eye out for Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones, who could be an under-the-radar difference-maker after losing all of last season to injury. He's back to working with the first-team offense, and should get some work with Andy Dalton tonight. Jones played 25 snaps last week against the Giants with Josh Johnson behind center.

» AJ McCarron hasn't thrown a pass in a football game in 599 days. That was way back on Jan. 2, 2014, when McCarron connected with running back Derrick Henry on a 61-yard touchdown in a Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma. A shoulder injury cost McCarron all of his rookie season with the Bengals, and he was held out of last week's preseason opener with a rib issue. If McCarron is ever going to push Dalton for the starting job -- as has been floated by some in the vast Anti-Dalton contingent -- he's going to have to show something on the field first.

» New year, same problem for the Bucs, who have major offensive line issues. A bad situation got worse last week when starting right tackle Demar Dotson suffered a knee injury in the preseason opener that could keep him out for several weeks. The Bucs recently signed Colts castoff Gosder Cherilus, who should get some work tonight. Winston needs help up front if he's going to have a chance.

» Watch Geno Atkins tonight. The buzz around the Bengals' defensive tackle has been universally positive this summer, with many predicting Atkins will return to dominance after his career momentum was slowed by a torn ACL in 2013. If Atkins regains his old form, the Bengals defense is totally different.

» Speaking of bounce-back seasons, a lot of people are talking up Doug Martin as a running back capable of regaining his rookie form. We have our doubts. Let's see if he stands out in a crowded backfield running behind a makeshift offensive line.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Jordy Nelson's knee injury and gives its winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.

Print

Fan Discussion