The door has been opened for rookie Cordell Volson to try to hold down the starting left guard spot with Jackson Carman due to Covid, and Sunday’s game will be an important test.
It’s never guaranteed that starting a preseason game will put a player against the opponent’s best competition because often teams value those snaps differently. But, regardless of whether the Giants use starters on their defensive line or second-string players, Volson will see tougher competition than he did entering the game in the second half against Arizona.
Volson is expected to start after a strong debut last week, which helped push him into the first-team offense this week while Carman was out or limited. He has been out since Thursday but was getting first-team snaps earlier in the week.
“He’s hungry, the right kind of guy,” right tackle Lael Collins said of Volson. “He’s got all the right stuff. He’s physical, he’s tough. He shows all the great qualities and loves to learn. Definitely one of the great rookies I’ve been around. I knew from day one, I mean, he’s what he wants to be. May be, it all depends on him.
2. The offensive line is over
The Bengals have just three offensive tackles available to play Sunday, as right tackle LaLel Collins and left tackle Jonah Williams are expected to be among the players who will not participate. Isaiah Prince was carted off Thursday with a biceps injury and is week-to-week, Taylor said, but D’Ante Smith returned from a back injury this week and should be among the three available.
Hakeem Adeniji and Devin Cochran are the other two tackles who will get playing time – and Taylor noted that all three available guys will get plenty of opportunities.
Injuries aside, offensive line depth remains a concern anyway as the unit struggled in the opener.
3. Progress to Dax Hill
With veteran Jesse Bates not yet in training camp, the Bengals are preparing for rookie safety Dax Hill to take his place, but it’s a difficult balance to protect a potential starter and also give the first-year player the reps he needs to get ready for the NFL. .
Hill looked impressive in his preseason debut last week with two near-interceptions, but asked before Week 1 what’s the best way for him to progress, Taylor said it’s not necessarily about extending him more in preseason games. The Bengals still have time to get him ready for a full game if needed.
“Practice with the Rams next week is helpful,” Taylor said. “…It’s going to be a big deal for a lot of these young players, to see different types of players that they’re going against, different schemes. I think it’s exciting for a guy like Dax to be able to see a different group. This weekend with the Giants and next with the Rams, his There are good opportunities to accelerate growth.
4. Special Team Battles
Special teams continue to be an area to watch in these preseason games. In the opener, neither punter Kevin Huber nor Drew Chrisman stood out, and they rolled over Evan McPherson’s field goals with no problem. Clark Harris still looks ahead in the long snapping competition with Cal Adomitis.
Puca Williams was cut this week after muffing a punt. The Bengals struggled with drop punt/kick returns last year, and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons wants to make sure whoever handles those duties has enough hands to catch the ball. Trent Taylor has the punt return job until someone else can show better, and Chris Evans looks like a solid option at kick return.
5. Other injuries of note
Defensive end Khalid Kareem is expected to make his preseason debut after dealing with a shoulder injury earlier in camp.
Taylor said edge rusher Joseph Osai won’t play many more snaps than he did in the preseason opener (four) as he settles back from 2021 knee and wrist surgery, but he will see some special teams and defensive ends. Snaps.
“It’s just coming off of his past injuries,” Taylor said. “He’s a guy that goes really hard, every single rep, and so we’re going to limit him in this game. He’s got a lot of reps. It’s just a matter of easing him into the game. We plan on a guy who’s been key for us this year, so you have those Want to manage boys in games.”
Other players working through injuries include cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (core muscle), tight end Drew Sample (knee) and linebacker Marcus Bailey (hamstring). Neither of them will play on Sunday, although Bailey should be good to go after that. Taylor-Britt is out for the rest of camp after surgery Monday, but Taylor said he’s optimistic about those results.
Bengals at Giants, 7 p.m., NFL Network, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7