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

Wittenberg’s new athletic facility, opening in 2019, has a catchy name
Wittenberg’s new athletic facility, opening in 2019, has a catchy name

The new $40 million indoor athletic facility rising on the campus of Wittenberg University will be known simply as  “The Steemer,” Wittenberg Athletic Director Gary Williams said Tuesday. “It’s just the Steemer,” Williams said. “That’s what Wes wanted to call it. It’s kind of catch.” Wes...
Wittenberg offering free admission to all athletic events
Wittenberg offering free admission to all athletic events

Wittenberg University will stop charging admission for regular-season football and men’s and women’s basketball games, athletic director Gary Williams said Tuesday. The athletic department already had stopped selling tickets for other sporting events. Fans got in free for a football game Saturday for the first time when Wittenberg played...
Hal McCoy: Barry Larkin turns down interview for Cincinnati Reds manager post
Hal McCoy: Barry Larkin turns down interview for Cincinnati Reds manager post

For those hoping and wishing and praying that Barry Larkin will be the next manager of the Cincinnati Reds, well, your hopes, wishes and prayers won’t be answered. Larkin doesn’t want it. Not at this time. Maybe down the road, but not now. This startling information comes from President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams, who indicated...
Cincinnati Bengals: First look at Sunday’s game vs. Atlanta Falcons
Cincinnati Bengals: First look at Sunday’s game vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Cincinnati Bengals have some corrections to make on defense after suffering their first loss of the season Sunday at Carolina, but this week’s opponent likely is thinking the same thing. Cincinnati (2-1) travels to play a 1-2 Atlanta Falcons team that is coming off a 31-27 overtime loss to New Orleans and ranks 27th in the league in yards...
Five GWOC teams in Division I football playoff contention
Five GWOC teams in Division I football playoff contention

Five Greater Western Ohio Conference high school football teams are in Division I playoff contention at midseason and three other area teams were ranked No. 1 in their respective regions following the release of the second Ohio High School Athletic Association computer rankings on Tuesday. Springfield (No. 2), Fairmont (No. 3), Miamisburg (No. 4) and...
More Stories