Negative Takeaways from Friday
The run defense was not stellar. At all. The Bengals running backs seemed to have no issue running against the first and second team lines – which isn’t exactly comforting. The addition of Chris Baker was supposed to not only help in the run defense, but help pass rush as well – neither of which were all that impressive.
Joe Mixon put on a little bit of a show for the Bengals, breaking tackle after tackle and consistently getting to the second level – something that needs to be cleaned up in practice for sure. Granted, it’s hard to clean it up when there hasn’t been any tackling during practice. There’s something to be said for ensuring players aren’t getting hurt in practice, but they can’t get better at tackling when they aren’t practicing it.
The quarterback competition for Jameis’ backup may have been decided by injury rather than performance. Ryan Griffin – who admittedly didn’t look all that great and certainly didn’t look better than Ryan Fitzpatrick – left with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for quite a few weeks. Fitzpatrick had the team’s only touchdown but also had an interception in Bengals territory after his target slipped and fell.
For as good as Griffin has looked in camp and as much as people have claimed he looks better than Fitzpatrick, when it came to game action Fitz was the better player. It’s unfortunate to see any player go down in a preseason game, but Griffin’s play wasn’t impressive enough – in my opinion – to cement himself further in the number two quarterback role.
Finally, the kicking game (or lack there of) brings us to…