On Thursday, the Cleveland Browns’ take on the Cincinnati Bengals. To help preview a few topics from the Bengals’ perspective, we reached out to Patrick Judis from Cincy Jungle and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “Joe Burrow made his NFL debut against the Los Angeles Chargers this past Sunday, and came up just short of victory. Tell us about Burrow’s performance.”
Patrick: “It was hard to really get a good impression of Burrow early as the Chargers’ pass rush ate the Bengals’ offensive line up in the first half. One of the best moments was him calling an audible to the play where he ran in for the touchdown. Also he looked like a seasoned vet running the two minute drill that set them up for a chance to win.
He still did have some rookie moments where he underestimated a defensive lineman’s quickness and ended up shovel passing it right to him. He also is still getting in sync with his receivers as there were a few misses on the day.
Overall, he looked good for it being his first actual time playing another team in the NFL.”
Chris: “The Bengals’ offensive line wasn’t projected to play well this season, and from the sound of things, Week 1 didn’t do anything to change that. Which areas are the biggest concerns up front for Cincinnati?”
Patrick: “Right tackle Bobby Hart. I could probably end the answer right there, but it really is maddening how this coaching staff is willing to die on this hill of starting him.
Last year’s first round tackle, Jonah Williams, also took a little bit to get his feet under him as well. The Bengals did a better job in the second half giving them some help on holding off the pass rush with extra blockers. For Burrow’s sake, I hope it doesn’t take them another half to figure out to do that again.”
Chris: “What is Cincinnati’s biggest vulnerability on defense?”
Patrick: “This defense is SO different from its 2019 counterpart. They came up big stuffing two fourth and short attempts last week on top of a few other big plays on third down. Guys like defensive tackle D.J. Reader, safety Vonn Bell and linebacker Josh Bynes all looked good in their debuts.
The one area that can still be pointed to (for now) is some inexperience at linebacker. The Bengals did roll with Germaine Pratt and Bynes for most of the game, but they also rolled out rookies Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaithers quite a bit on third downs and in certain passing situations.
Also cornerback Darius Phillips is a pretty aggressive player who can be beat deep if he is trying to make a play.”
Chris: “Cleveland had a terrible Week 1 performance, but have a lot of big names on offense. How are Bengals fans viewing this Thursday’s game in terms of expectations against the Browns?”
Patrick: “Well if you talk to a run of the mill fan they are probably pretty confident heading into Week 2. The opinion of Baker Mayfield is lower than it should be, but I think the win late last season makes fans feel like these teams are pretty close.
Personally, I see an underachieving team with their backs against the wall after a disappointing Week 1 after another offseason of high expectations. I’m waiting to see how they respond on a short week where they get to play at home.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player on offense and one player on defense who Browns fans might not be familiar with, but who could make a nice contribution for this week’s game.”
Patrick: “Offensively, I wouldn’t count out the tight ends C.J. Uzomah or Drew Sample. Uzomah is the more dynamic playmaker, but he and Burrow caught a little fire at the end of the game last week.
Defensively, I really think safety Jessie Bates is going to become more of a household name this year. He has been really good since being drafted a two years ago, but he seems to finally be part of a defense where he doesn’t have to worry about making 100 tackles a season because the Bengals finally have some component linebackers playing.
He had a few penalties last week, but he really showed off his closing speed from the center field a number of times. Browns fans should see his blur come from out of nowhere a few times on Thursday night.”
Thanks again to Patrick for taking the time to answer my questions.