WEATHER ALERT

Ice Storm Warning issued for entire Miami Valley

Cincinnati Bengals: 5 things to know about battle to make the team


The Cincinnati Bengals made some surprise moves on Saturday in trying to get their roster down to the 53-man limit set by the league.

The release of 10th-year defensive end Michael Johnson was one of them, as the Bengals decided to go with only eight up front instead of the usual nine or 10 for a 4-3 defense.

»RELATED: Bengals youth movement continues

However, other decisions seemed tied to specific battles between two players. Here is a look at some of the decisions that were made and why:

1. Schreck over Hewitt

The Bengals released veteran Ryan Hewitt, terminating his contract that ran through 2019, and it seems as though that decision is a case of Bill Lazor’s new offense being more tailored more toward tight ends than H-backs. Cincinnati kept second-year tight end Mason Schreck, a more athletic player, and Cethan Carter (shoulder) was put on season-ending injured reserve.

»RELATED: 5 takeaways from preseason finale vs. Colts

“This is how the numbers played out,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “I think as Mason has developed, we have kind of a comfort level of how things have been going with him. He just has to hold onto the football.”

Schreck quietly led the team in receiving this preseason with nine receptions for 118 yards, but also fumbled twice.

2. Tupou over Brown

Cincinnati opted for a No. 2 nose tackle in Josh Tupou rather than keeping another three-technique player in fifth-round pick Andrew Brown. Ryan Glasgow can play both positions inside, so it seemed there could have been room for Brown instead of Tupou, but the rookie loses out to the second-year nose tackle that got some playing time late last year.

“Josh is coming back off his injury and that gives us a backup with some girth,” Lewis said. “At this point, we felt that’s a good fit for us.”

Tupou, at 345 pounds, is about 50 pounds heavier than Brown.

3. Tate in for now

Cincinnati went with a seventh receiver and kept seventh-round pick Auden Tate, a 6-foot-5, 228-pound target from Florida State, but Lewis indicated that decision had something to do with Cody Core’s status being unknown for now.

Core has been battling an undisclosed injury and appears to be making progress, but Lewis said it’s still unclear if the Bengals can carry him for a couple weeks or if they need to move him to Injured/Reserve-return.

“I don’t think you can worry about whether you’re going to lose a guy or not, but we do have Cody here with his status up in the air a little bit,” Lewis said. “He seems to be on the mend, so at this point that’s where we’re headed.”

4. Carson over Hill

Brian Hill had a solid preseason, leading the team with 87 yards on 17 carries, but Tra Carson also was impressive and apparently a little moreso.

Lewis said it was a “close call” between the two. Fourth-round pick Mark Walton wasn’t as productive but earned the right for more consideration based on potential indicated by his draft position.

“Tra has been very productive,” Lewis said. “He’s worked hard. He’s done a good job showing up on special teams. With Brian, it was a close call between those guys, but we right now have obviously given the nod to Tra. But Brian has done a nice job for us as well.”

5. Secondary concerns

The secondary is looking a little thin, so it was surprising the Bengals waived cornerback KeiVarae Russell and versatile defensive back Josh Shaw and kept Tony McRae, who has been dealing with an ankle injury. Lewis had given some praise to McRae earlier in the week.

“KeiVarae has had some good plays, but he’s had some plays we need to do better,” Lewis said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Gentry’s career night helps WSU knock off Toledo
Gentry’s career night helps WSU knock off Toledo

Cole Gentry scored a career-high 30 points, and Louden Love had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Wright State to an 84-74 win over visiting Toledo on Wednesday. Bill Wampler chipped in 17 points and Skyelar Potter 13 as the team bounced back from a 19-point drubbing at Murray State. The Raiders (2-1) pulled away early in the second...
Signing period: Area seniors who will play at the next level
Signing period: Area seniors who will play at the next level

The week-long early signing period for basketball and the regular signing period for all NCAA Division I and II sports but football began on Wednesday, Nov. 14. NCAA D-I football will have an early signing period from Dec. 19-21. The traditional regular signing period for football is Feb. 6-April 1 of 2019. The following are area high school seniors...
Ohio State looking to extend noon dominance
Ohio State looking to extend noon dominance

Ohio State and Maryland are set to kick off at noon Saturday — the perfect time for the Buckeyes so far in the Urban Meyer era.  Perfect as in they haven’t lost a noon kickoff yet since he took over as the coach in Columbus.  The Ohio State sports information department produced that eye-opening stat this week: 29-0 in games that...
Signing day: UC lands Xenia basketball standout
Signing day: UC lands Xenia basketball standout

Samari Curtis drew more attention than he was expecting following a breakout freshman season of basketball at Xenia High School. The following season, Curtis always drew an opponent’s most dogged defender. Double-teams and go-to pressure by other defenders became the defensive norm against the high flyer. “At first, I couldn’t handle...
Hue Jackson on return to Bengals: ‘Excited to join a team in playoff contention’
Hue Jackson on return to Bengals: ‘Excited to join a team in playoff contention’

Hue Jackson was hoping he could make his way back to the Cincinnati Bengals when the Cleveland Browns fired him as their head coach three weeks ago, but he said he has no regrets about leaving Cincinnati in the first place. The Bengals named Jackson a special assistant to the head coach Tuesday to help Marvin Lewis as he assumes the role of defensive...
More Stories