You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

live video

Donald Trump addresses crowd at Lincoln Memorial

Bengals looking for fast start tonight against Titans


The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a preseason opener in Atlanta in which nearly every facet of the team excelled at every level for a 34-10 victory.

The lone exception was the first-team offense, which ran 10 plays that produced 51 yards, three first downs and zero points. The unit also got flagged for a pair of key, drive-killing penalties.

Asked if there was anything specific he would be looking for Saturday when the Bengals face the Tennessee Titans at 7 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said, “Yeah, less penalties.”

“I just want them to come out there and play with good fundamentals and pad level and good tempo,” Gruden continued. “That’s the big thing we want to preach, get in and out of the huddle quickly, get set, come out with a purpose and make plays. I’m not looking for three drives and three touchdowns. Well, I am, but I just mainly want to see good pad level, good tempo, good energy.”

In addition to not scoring last week, the first-team offense only managed one touchdown drive during the entire 2012 preseason.

“We don’t want any penalties, any stupid mistakes, and we want to move the ball and score,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said. “That’s what it comes down to. We want to be fluid out there. We want to move the ball, and turn it into points.”

Tennessee ranked 27th in the league last year in total defense (24th in rushing, 26th in passing), and even though Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green is not expected to play after just returning to full action in practice Thursday, Dalton will have the rest of his targets available.

One of those targets, rookie tight end Tyler Eifert, was singled out by Gruden for his struggles last week. Gruden admitted he was surprised by how well Eifert played in the run game and how poorly he fared in the passing game. He said he expects to see more than incremental improvement from the team’s first-round pick in the game tonight.

“I think he can make a big leap,” Gruden said. “I think he was just a little excited to make plays and was speeding everything up. In practice he’s bent on working the guy and working the route and being patient. Then in the game he just sped everything up because he was so excited to make a play that he just got a little out of control. But he’ll be fine. He’ll make a major improvement.”

The main position battle to watch on offense is at fullback, where four-year veteran John Conner and second-year converted tight end Orson Charles are in a tight battle. Charles struggled in Atlanta, but he is still listed as the starter.

“Looking at the (Tennessee) defensive front, it’s a strong group, explosive and athletic,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “It’ll be a great challenge for us, so we’re looking forward to going out and having our guys play fundamentally sound and really go through and execute the things that are important to us.”

Defensively, the Bengals will get a challenge from running back Chris Johnson, who struggled somewhat in 2012 but looked to be back in Pro Bowl form last week with a 58-yard touchdown run on one of his two carries. As a team, the Titans averaged 5.0 yards per carry in a 22-21 loss to Washington.

“The thing that will be great is that they are a very effective team running the football,” Lewis said. “They seem athletic, and they execute well in the offensive front group. They obviously have a great back in Chris Johnson. Their quarterback (Jake Locker) will move and extend plays, so that will be great work for us.”

In the key position battle on defense, starting safety George Iloka sat out Thursday’s practice with a wrist injury. If he is unable to play, it could provide a great opportunity for rookie Shawn Williams, who has had a strong week of practice with a couple of interceptions. The Bengals already know what Taylor Mays can do, so Williams could be in for an extended look tonight.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Kyle Davis won’t play Thursday for Dayton Flyers
Kyle Davis won’t play Thursday for Dayton Flyers

Dayton Flyers senior guard Kyle Davis won’t play Thursday against Richmond at UD Arena. He sprained his ankle and bruised his foot Saturday in the second half of a victory at Duquesne, and Archie Miller said Tuesday he would be a game-time decision. Davis has played in Dayton’s last 93 games. He hasn’t missed a game since his freshman...
Shawnee bounces back after slow start
Shawnee bounces back after slow start

What may have depressed Shawnee’s boys basketball team a month ago now serves as motivation. The Braves struggled to a 1-7 start and had a couple of close losses. Shawnee coach Chris McGuire saw his players look dejected a number of times during that stretch, but after a two-point loss to Fairborn last Saturday, he saw something different. &ldquo...
Reds trade starting pitcher: 5 things to know
Reds trade starting pitcher: 5 things to know

Two surprising things happened Thursday in baseball. The Reds traded away a starting pitcher, and their general manager admitted it was something of a risk. Here are five things to know about Cincinnati’s decision to send Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins for three prospects. 1. GM Dick Williams said the trade had been percolating for quite some...
5 reasons the Bengals should believe they’re close to contending again
5 reasons the Bengals should believe they’re close to contending again

The Bengals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010, but coach Marvin Lewis has indicated he feels the team is not in need of a total reboot. Here are five reasons he’s right: 1. With the ninth pick in the draft, they should get an impact player. The Bengals haven’t gotten a lot out of the draft in the past couple of years, in...
College Basketball: Mitchell making things happen for Wright State
College Basketball: Mitchell making things happen for Wright State

When Wright State coach Scott Nagy scoured the boxscore after his team rallied from 11 points down to beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 70-67 Saturday, there were a couple of numbers that caught him by surprise. Not only did junior guard Justin Mitchell have a double-double, and not only were his 21 points and 12 rebounds game highs, they were career highs...
More Stories