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The NFL preseason kicked off last night with the Hall of Fame game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys in less than exciting fashion.
Hey, I’m happy as anyone that the NFL is back but that game…phew, a real coma inducer if you weren’t careful once it got to the second half.
Anyhow, there are lessons to be learned from preseason games. The sports talk maniacs that claim “preseason is meaningless” are half-right. The records are nonsense for a variety of reasons.
For example, as New York Newsday’s Bob Glauber pointed out last night on Twitter, Browning Nagle led the ’92 Jets to a 5-0 preseason mark. The Jets went on to finish 4-12 that season.
But I digress.
Last night did show us a few things:
1. Between Cedric Benson, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ochocinco, someone is going to be very unhappy following the 2010 season:
When you have Owens and Ochocinco in the same lineup, one of them is probably not going to be happy about the number looks headed their way. Last night, Ochocinco wasn’t a factor while the first team offense was on the field. Meanwhile, Owens got plenty of attention. After the game, both Owens and Palmer stated they were ironing out their timing together.
In order to keep the both of them happy and in the mix, the Bengals will have to get away from their running game a bit in my opinion. Only three teams ran the ball more than Cincy’s 505 in ’09 (Jets, Panthers, Dolphins) . With Batman and Robin running patterns for Palmer, that number will likely be reduced. That means, it will may impact Cedric Benson more so than any player.
2. Doug Free is going to be Dallas’s starting left tackle when their season opens in Washington:
I’m not completely sold on the Dallas line with or without Free. Alex Barron, who Dallas traded for during the off-season was a revolving door at times last night. I think they’ll stay with Free, who looked a bit more stable.
3. Jason Garrett is a little pass happy:
Well, any time a back fumbles at the goalline, a team seems to panic (and perhaps, rightfully so). Felix Jones fumbled into the endzone during the first quarter and the Bengals recovered. However, an offsides penalty on the Bengals negated the turnover.
Dallas followed up their good fortune by dialing up three straight passing plays from the two. All three failed and the Cowboys settled for a field goal.
Why is Marion Barber still on this team?
4. The Bengals defense is very good:
They played well last night and have a very underrated group. In Mike Zimmer I trust.
5. The Dallas secondary is very good:
Mike Jenkins is the guy at cornerback for Dallas and not Terence Newman but they still comprise a good tandem. Also, Ken Hamlin’s replacement, safety Alan Ball has drawn positive reviews to date.