Hard Knocks – Reviewing Episodes 2-3

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So we’re coming up to the penultimate episode of Hard Knocks with the Cincinnati Bengals and there is a lot to look forward to, but first let’s recap the past two episodes.

Everyone seems to be settling into camp quite nicely. Tyler Eifert is crashing on offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth’s couch – not where I’d like to call home during camp, but hey it’s a place to sleep.  Eifert’s sleeping arrangements don’t seem to bother his play. During the first few preseason games, Jermaine Gresham and Eifert were on the field together a lot in the Bengal’s two tight end package. They seem to be Tight end 1a and 1b.

Gio Bernard is looking better and better in practice, but during the first preseason game against the Falcons, we saw a pretty average performance by Bernard in his NFL debut. He rushed 10 times for 28 yards and a goal line touchdown. It’s great to see him get a chance to cap a one-yard touchdown because that seems to be the only area where Benjarvus Green-Ellis has the edge over him. Bernard also had three catches for 16 yards.

During the second preseason game against the Titans, Bernard flashed glimpses of the playmaker he was drafted to be. Bernard finished with seven carries for 37 yards including another goal line touchdown. We need to see some improvement from the Bengals O-line on pass plays, otherwise we’ll be PrePlaying a lot of long runs this season.

I am now convinced that the top NFL defenses this year will be:

  1. Seahawks
  2. 49ers
  3. Bengals

In the second and third episode we saw Geno Atkins dominate, James Harrison look scary, and middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict go toe to toe with Steven Jackson and Chris Johnson. He made two premiere veteran tailbacks run into a wall, and Steven Jackson looked mad… This front seven is getting most of recognition and hype but the hidden gem this year is their experience at cornerback. Against the Titans, Adam “Pacman” Jones and Terrence Newman showed up to play and blocked a few passes that would have gone for touchdowns. They are also hilarious when they talk to each other in practice. Once again, unless it’s a prolific offense playing the Bengals, you shouldn’t pick too many scoring drives against this D.

Pay attention to the fight for backup quarterback slot during this series and camp between John Skelton and Josh Johnson. Neither player is showing much confidence or promise at this point, but the bottom line is that if Andy Dalton ever goes down due to injury, this team is in trouble and that would drastically change the way you pick on PrePlay.

A new face emerged on the second episode, an Estonian giant by the name of Margus Hunt quickly became the camera’s favorite player. The camera mostly caught him talking about his motherland Estonia and discerning Rocky III from Rocky IV and he even dropped the famous Ivan Drago line: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lu8n51M0DJ1qkh90vo1_500.gif

What makes this show great is its ability to make you feel for these players and experience first hand the grit of the gridiron, but it also has its fair share of laughs. This week was the famed rookie show, and it was the best I’ve seen in Hard Knocks history.

The rookie show had everything great from impressions of A.J Green, and a very odd fake video of defensive back Taylor May’s workout. My boy Margus Hunt highlighted the show with a creative interpretation of practice film. Check it out for yourself.

Those weren’t the only entertaining rookie moments. During a full team meeting, Coach Marvin Lewis forced rookie defensive tackle Terrence Stephens to sing a song for the class. It was legendary.  It even proved that below that terrifying exterior, outside linebacker James Harrison has a heart.

This song sounded very familiar to me… Oh right!

See you guys next week.

 

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