Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Scott

Most significant move: Few of the Cincinnati Bengals' cuts were very surprising, but quarterback Matt Scott's release might have been the most significant because he had been viewed as the No. 3 quarterback on the roster behind Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell. Tyler Wilson, fresh off concussion protocol, reverts into that role. When Wilson was signed after an injury to Campbell two weeks ago, it appeared the writing was on the wall for Scott, a mobile quarterback who doesn't fit the Bengals' scheme as well as the others. Although he played well during the Week 1 loss at Kansas City, Scott completed only 45.5 percent of his passes and was sacked five times in the three games he played.

Sharp should find a home: Kicker Quinn Sharp's release had been expected after he was signed in the offseason to help keep starter Mike Nugent's leg fresh throughout training camp and offseason workouts. While Nugent is the starter and has the more accurate leg of the two, Sharp's power is one of his more impressive traits. In Sunday night's preseason game, hours before he was cut by the Bengals, Sharp went 2-for-2 on field goals with one of them a 51-yarder. The Oklahoma State product should help someone's team this season desperate for a kicker.

What's next? The Bengals aren't technically done with this round of moves. They could end up sending two of their Tuesday cuts, J.K. Schaffer and Lavelle Westbrooks, to injured reserve Wednesday. Both were cut via the waived/injured designation and have until Wednesday to be claimed by another team. If neither is claimed and they clear waivers, they will be added to Cincinnati's IR. It's also worth keeping an eye on safety Taylor Mays, rookie linebacker Marquis Flowers, stand-up defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Dontay Moch, receivers Cobi Hamilton and James Wright and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the Bengals cut to 53 on Saturday.

Bengals' cuts: QB Matt Scott, DT Larry Black, S Isaiah Lewis, K Quinn Sharp, WR Ryan Whalen, CB R.J. Stanford, TE Kevin Brock, WR Jasper Collins, LB J.K. Schaffer, CB Lavelle Westbrooks, LB James Davidson, WR Alex Neutz, WR Jeremy Johnson, OT Curtis Feigt, WR Conner Vernon, P T.J. Conley, DT Zach Minter, OG Chandler Burden.

Projecting Bengals practice squad

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
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CINCINNATI -- Two more jobs just came open for the Cincinnati Bengals.

On Tuesday afternoon the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to expand practice squad rosters for this season and next season from eight players to 10. Though the 53-man roster remains unchanged and still holds the highest value, the Bengals and every other team now have space to keep additional players when the preseason officially ends.

Practice squad eligibility also was tweaked under the new agreement. In order to qualify for accruing a practice squad season, a player must have a minimum of six games on the practice squad instead of three games, extending the amount of playing time a player can have and still be eligible for the practice squad.

Additionally, teams are now permitted to sign a maximum of two practice squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free-agency credit. Absent that exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a practice squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a team's 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons. That means third-year players could qualify for the practice squad.

Here are 10 Bengals I'd consider for the practice squad:

Scott
QB Matt Scott
It seems evident the Bengals are trying to put AJ McCarron on an injury-list to keep him off the practice squad where he could be claimed by another team. If that is the case, and the Bengals enter the season with just two quarterbacks -- Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell -- I could see them keeping a third who could be called off the practice squad.

RB James Wilder Jr.
The Bengals view Wilder as a project right now with physical tools any team would love to use. He won't make the 53-man roster, but I expect the Bengals to keep him around this way.

WR Colin Lockett
Lockett has so many special teams intangibles as a returner and special teamer that the Bengals have reasons to keep him around and evaluate him further. He won't make the 53-man roster because of the depth at receiver, but he could be a solid addition to help the defense prepare this season for speedy and shifty slot receivers like former Bengal Andrew Hawkins.

Hamilton
WR Cobi Hamilton
Cincinnati didn't enter this season with plans of putting Hamilton on practice squad for a second-straight season, but his play has warranted it. He has not dominated the position battle he is in with James Wright and Ryan Whalen, among others. Consistency and drops have been the issue. When he has looked good, though, he has looked really good. He will be beaten out for a job on the 53-man roster, but should still be part of the club.

OL Trey Hopkins
I've still got Hopkins pegged as a bubble player, but I'm thinking he ultimately makes the 53-man roster. He has too many intangibles as an undrafted rookie to be put on the practice squad, but in the event there isn't enough room for him on the 53-man, he could go here.

DE Will Clarke
Like Hopkins, I believe Clarke ends up making the 53-man roster, but in the event the Bengals want to eat one of their defensive line positions to open up an opportunity elsewhere on the roster, I could see Clarke going to the practice squad. He could be like McCarron, though, in the sense that you don't want someone poaching the talented rookie away.

DT LaKendrick Ross
The Bengals liked the young and little-known Ross enough to sign him, so I'm not expecting him to get cut this year. He's a completely raw and unpolished product who had FBS offers, but ended up at tiny Virginia-Lynchburg, where he used his size to completely overpower opposing offensive lines. He only had one college season, so a year on the practice squad could benefit him.

LB James Davidson
You haven't heard much about Davidson from camp, but he's been a fairly consistent contributor on special teams and defense. He also has been receptive to coaching from both coaches and his teammates. If he survives waivers, the undrafted rookie could end up here.

CB Chris Lewis-Harris
Lewis-Harris has had a fairly impressive preseason, even after getting suspended during it for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. He will be unavailable for the first two regular-season games, but still can be on the overall roster. He would be one of those third-year eligible players. A crowded cornerback room might land him back on the practice squad.

CB Lavelle Westbrooks
This final spot was a tough determination. It came down to choosing Westbrooks over Isaiah Lewis, the undrafted rookie safety from Michigan State. It seems to me that Westbrooks has had a better preseason. Still, the Bengals might want a safety instead of two cornerbacks, making Lewis would be a better fit for the practice squad.
CINCINNATI -- It was rather surprising to me that on Tuesday, some four days after the Cincinnati Bengals' backup offenses first took blitz after first-team New York Jets blitz, we were still discussing the issue.

Scott
Was it really that big of a deal? Did the blitzes that came long after starting quarterback Andy Dalton was out of the game help fluster third-string-turned-second-string quarterback Matt Scott? Is it possible they played a big role in the Bengals' lack of offensive firepower after Dalton's departure and the eventual 25-17 loss Saturday night?

No, yes and most definitely yes.

I mean, this is the NFL. Teams blitz. Teams try to win by exploiting opposing teams' weakest links. Teams also talk trash -- even in the preseason -- and play extremely physical -- even in the preseason. It happens. So why then did this storyline take on such a life of its own early this week?

The answer to that question is unclear, but what is evident is the fact Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander didn't like the continued blitzing on his reserve-filled offensive line after the first quarter. It's also clear Jets head coach Rex Ryan isn't too apologetic for bum-rushing the Bengals' young backup quarterback and trying to intimidate Cincinnati's overall offense.

"We weren't going to be a punching bag," Ryan told reporters in New York on Monday.

Ryan's defenses have long been known for their physicality and probably had a point to prove after last October's 49-9 loss in Cincinnati. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson even said the week before he and his teammates "owed" the Bengals for the blowout. He vowed aggressive play from his team when it visited Paul Brown Stadium for the preseason game.

The Jets did just that. They were flagged 12 times for 133 yards, including a whopping six penalties that were the result of personal fouls. The most egregious came when the Jets were on offense after offensive lineman Willie Colon roughed up Bengals cornerback Terence Newman after Newman intercepted a pass. Colon contended he didn't hear a whistle and wanted to make sure Newman was down after he got up off the turf possibly untouched. Newman's helmet came off with Colon's shove, resulting in Bengals defensive end Margus Hunt violently shoving away another Jets lineman.

The two New York linemen were tagged with personal foul penalties early in a game that was filled with them.

When the Bengals were on offense, they were given similar rough treatment by a blitz assault that annoyed Alexander.

"Notice he didn't bring that stuff when our starters were out there," Alexander said Monday. "We'd have scored quicker. If he wants to put his starting defense out there and blitz all that garbage against our third-stringers, if he feels good about it, then all the power to him."

Jets defensive starters remained in the game well into the second quarter, and kept coming after Scott. Dalton and the starting offense left the field after just three series and an 8-for-8 performance from Dalton that included a 21-yard pass to A.J. Green in the flat as the Jets brought one blitz. As injured backup Jason Campbell pointed out Monday, once the Bengals beat that blitz, the Jets didn't bring another one on Dalton's crew.

The Bengals also shouldn't worry about the blitzing because it did nothing but prepare the line for what's coming in less than three weeks. Even if rookie center Russell Bodine wasn't on the field for the most intense rushes, other backups such as Mike Pollak, Trey Hopkins and Tanner Hawkinson were. On the off-chance that something happens to Cincinnati's starting linemen this season, the reserves need to be ready to communicate through such blitzes together.

"You try to think all preseason is going to be so vanilla, and then you get in a game like that where you really have to make sure you know who you're responsible for and who the other guys are going to," Pollak said. "It's just a good awakening experience to see those younger guys go through."
CINCINNATI -- Just two preseason games in and already Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has identified an issue so problematic that it had him seething Saturday night.

Jackson
Jackson
It's the turnover issue, one that has plagued the Bengals early this season, primarily on the second- and third-string teams. Still, regardless of experience level or depth-chart status, Jackson believes the turnover problem is one that affects his entire offense.

He can't stand for that.

"I've got to get this solved," Jackson said minutes after Cincinnati's 25-17 loss to the New York Jets in the home preseason opener.

Against the Kansas City Chiefs in their opening preseason game, the Bengals were intercepted twice. Against the Jets, they were only intercepted once, but also lost two of the four fumbles they had in the game. When it came to retaining possession, the Bengals struggled, and the scoreboard reflected that.

Both of the lost fumbles resulted in Jets touchdowns on New York's ensuing drives. Backup quarterback Matt Scott was unable to hold on to the ball at the midpoint of the second quarter when he got blitzed and blindsided on a sack. Five plays later, Jets running back Bilal Powell scored on a 2-yard touchdown run that cut the once-wide 14-point lead in half.

Running back Cedric Peerman's late-third quarter fumble immediately preceded another Jets touchdown that put the visitors ahead 23-17. With a safety tacked on following a punt blocked into the back of the end zone, the Jets had all the room they needed for the win.

"We keep turning the ball over and we keep putting the defense in a tough situation," Jackson said. "This turnover thing is not what we should be doing. That's my responsibility and we've got to get it fixed."

He's got eight days to work on it. The Bengals are next in action next Sunday for a night game at the Arizona Cardinals.
CINCINNATI -- In no particular order, the following are five Cincinnati Bengals you'll want to pay attention to on the offensive side of the ball during Saturday night's preseason home opener against the New York Jets (7 ET).

Be on the lookout for five defensive players to watch in the Bengals' second preseason game, coming soon.

Scott
1. QB Matt Scott. One week after dominating the headlines in the Bengals' Week 1 preseason loss at Kansas City, Scott has a chance to turn more heads this weekend when he likely receives more playing time. With No. 2 backup Jason Campbell still nursing an elbow bruise, the Bengals will turn to Scott a little earlier than they did last week. Against the Chiefs, Scott jogged onto the field midway through the third quarter after Campbell's throwing arm was struck by a defender's helmet. Scott went on to pass for 66 yards and two touchdowns, and rush for a game-high 68 yards. It was what he considered the combination of a pre-game sinus infection, high humidity and exhaustion that turned him into an unexpected Internet star last week. On multiple occasions during a fourth-quarter drive, he vomited a la Willie Beamen, the fictional quarterback in the movie "Any Given Sunday." The clip made its rounds on the Web in the days that followed. Scott, who will be playing through a sore shoulder, hopes he'll be remembered more for his play this week.

2. QB Tyler Wilson. Since Scott does have a minor injury that could affect his throwing, the Bengals might have to turn to Wilson a little earlier than perhaps they would have anticipated, too. Starter Andy Dalton probably won't go any deeper than the two first-quarter series before Scott enters the game. From there, Scott probably won't make it all the way to the fourth quarter. Whenever Wilson does come in, watch for how well he connects with the existing receivers still in the game. If Cobi Hamilton is still playing, the two could be a good combination to watch. Hamilton was one of Wilson's top targets in college when they both played at Arkansas. Otherwise, Wilson will be intriguing to watch because he's playing after only one week of practices with the Bengals, and he's playing for his professional career.

Burkhead
3. RB Rex Burkhead. You may be noticing a trend here. We're focusing on reserve players in this week's "Bengals to watch," primarily because we are arriving at that point in camp when players down on the depth chart are truly fighting for roster spots. Burkhead is among those running backs involved in arguably the team's most interesting position battle. He's gotten his share of touches with the second-team offense in recent weeks and probably will see some opportunities with a mix of that group Saturday night. Be on the lookout for how often Burkhead carries the ball in what could be a ground-and-pound kind of preseason contest. The Jets have already said they expect a physical game. With the Bengals in a bit of a quarterback quandary, there are compelling reasons for them to give New York the physical showdown it is anticipating.

4. WR Dane Sanzenbacher. The position battle at receiver is another one to keep an eye on. Much like running back where the first two positions appear set, the top three spots are squared away on the Bengals' depth chart at receiver. Sanzenbacher is among a group of wideouts trying to crack the bottom portion of the pass-catching roster. With his versatility and wealth of playmaking opportunities both on offense and special teams, he will have his share of chances to prove he belongs in these next three games. After having a few long punt and kick returns in last week's game and catching a 26-yard touchdown pass that ended when he dove for a pylon, Sanzenbacher made a strong case for being included on the 53-man roster. Watch to see if he impresses Saturday.

5. H-back Ryan Hewitt. This will be the second straight week we've listed Hewitt among the Bengals to watch, and with good reason. Earlier this week, coach Marvin Lewis lauded the undrafted rookie free agent for how well he has played throughout this camp. Hewitt has brought his own measure of versatility to the backfield by being used as a blocker, flanking off the line as a tight end and catching passes. It certainly appears he has won the position battle over Orson Charles, the former tight end who was converted to H-back last preseason. Hewitt caught two passes last week. Look for how much he gets involved in the passing game this week.
CINCINNATI -- As the Cincinnati Bengals get going with Day 16 of training camp, here are three items we are going to be watching:

Closing out camp. That's right, the Bengals are officially ending the training camp portion of their preseason with Wednesday's late-morning practice. That means this 16th session marks the last time this season that a Bengals practice will be open to the public and reporters. Starting Monday, media will only be permitted to watch the first half hour of practices through the end of the season as the team's in-season practice policies are implemented.

Walk-through speed. Because the Bengals have a game Saturday and will have Friday off, they will mostly treat this final training-camp practice as if it were the traditional Friday practice they'll have throughout the regular season when Sunday games dot the schedule. So we won't be expecting many high-speed, high-intensity drills during this workout. Walk-through speed should dominate this session as the Bengals try to get into the game as healthy as possible.

Using Matt Scott. I'll be interested to see how the Bengals use backup quarterback Matt Scott in practice after his Wednesday workout was shortened because of shoulder soreness. At one point in the middle of Wednesday's practice he was wearing an ice pack on his throwing shoulder. Coach Marvin Lewis said later that afternoon that Scott should be OK to play Saturday, along with reserve Tyler Wilson. Both Scott and Wilson could see their share of action against the Jets on Saturday since starting quarterback Andy Dalton is only expected to see between 15-25 plays. Dalton played just one series last week at Kansas City. Don't be surprised if he's out there for two this week. The Bengals still haven't ruled out the possibility of Jason Campbell getting behind center for a few snaps, but since he has yet to practice this week, it appears unlikely that he will play because of an elbow bruise he got last week against the Chiefs.
CINCINNATI -- Very rarely does the third-string quarterback create more buzz in a game than the starting quarterback -- even in the preseason.

But that's exactly what happened all day Friday as websites from the most obscure to the most read turned Cincinnati Bengals backup Matt Scott into an Internet star.

He wished they focused on his 66 yards passing and 68 yards rushing, but he knew from the moment cameras caught him vomiting three times while walking on the field late in Thursday night's preseason opener at Kansas City that he was going to be remembered this weekend for a far different reason.

"The way social media is nowadays, it's kind of expected, I guess," Scott said Saturday.

Technically, this isn't the first time he's gotten attention for having what his teammates instantly began calling a "Willie Beamen moment." Beamen was the fictitious star quarterback in the football movie "Any Given Sunday" who threw up inside a huddle because of first-game nerves.

[+] EnlargeMarvin Lewis and Matt Scott
AP Photo/Colin E. BraleyCincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis praised the effort of quarterback Matt Scott against the Chiefs.
Scott has thrown up on the field before, but for what seem to be much more serious reasons. The Bengals certainly hope Scott's pattern of potential concussion-related college instances of vomiting have nothing to do with this latest episode.

This incident came during a hopeful comeback drive against the Chiefs that ultimately resulted in a touchdown and two-point conversion that Scott ran in himself. The drive cut a double-digit lead to two, and had the Bengals feeling inspired late.

"We wanted to come back in that game. That's the objective," Scott said. "Especially going in with the threes at the end of the game with the team down. That's what you want to show the coaches, that you're willing to get in there and claw your way back up."

Coach Marvin Lewis said Saturday that the sequence was one all his players ought to pay attention to.

"He taught the whole football team a very valuable lesson of a guy busting his tail to make a football team," Lewis said. "When you get an opportunity to go out there, you've got to play your tail off, play your very best football every chance you get, because that earns the next opportunity. He proved that."

Exactly how did he?

One play after the Bengals were forced into taking a timeout to see about Scott's condition, he settled under center and fired a strike to the since-waived Conner Vernon on a 12-yard touchdown pass that preceded the two-point conversion. The vomiting seemed to barely faze Scott.

"The thing I like about him was he was calm; he was cool," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. "Even in the midst of all the throwing up and all that, he never wavered. He just looked at me like, 'OK, coach, what's the next play?' And I gave it to him and he executed it."

Scott attributed his sick stomach to the combination of a sinus infection he had throughout the week, his lifelong asthma, humid conditions that night and being worn out after playing parts of the last two quarters at a high tempo. The Bengals were in a no-huddle pace as they were playing catch-up in those final minutes. Twice on the drive Scott scrambled, including once on a 19-yard run that picked up a first down.

Those are all plausible reasons for the vomiting.

In his senior season for the Arizona Wildcats, he threw up in three different games. Some thought those instances stemmed from concussions that came after hits he took while showcasing his wild, kind of reckless style of running. He exposed himself to hard tackles often and was known to take blows to the upper body even when he did slide.

Scott was only formally diagnosed with one concussion after those three games, in November 2012 against UCLA. The week before, he didn't receive a concussion diagnosis after he threw up on the sidelines in a game against conference-rival Southern Cal. That incident came during a timeout that followed an apparent double helmet-to-helmet hit at the end of a scramble. Three plays out of the timeout, he threw a touchdown pass. That score helped Arizona hold on for a big upset of the nationally-ranked Trojans.

Arizona's training staff was later criticized for not taking Scott out of the game. Some thought he was exhibiting concussion-like symptoms.

Scott still believes those criticisms were off base. Of exhibiting purported concussion-like symptoms, he said Saturday, "I didn't think [that] was the case."

Thursday's incident might not have been the product of a blow to the head, but it still could bear monitoring.

Take the concussion history out of the equation and the Bengals think the "Willie Beamen moment" taught them a valuable lesson about Scott: He's a relentless competitor, even if he ranks low on the depth chart.

"The guy has true guts," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. "It got a little rough, but he's a tough guy. I appreciate what he did. He played extremely well. Guy had a heck of a game."

Defensive end Wallace Gilberry took the praise a step further.

"He left it all out there -- literally," Gilberry said.
CINCINNATI -- At least one Bengals quarterback is under contract through the 2015 season.

When Cincinnati claimed backup Matt Scott off waivers Friday, they signed him to a two-year deal, making him the only quarterback on the roster with a contract that is scheduled to last beyond 2014. Starter Andy Dalton and No. 2 quarterback Jason Campbell are currently inked to deals that expire after this season. Recently drafted backup AJ McCarron hasn't signed a contract yet with the club.

Dalton's representatives are in talks with the Bengals to extend his rookie deal. If he doesn't receive that extension this offseason, Dalton could end up playing the year in contract limbo.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Scott will make $420,000 for the 2014 season and $510,000 in 2015. Those figures equate to his base salary. He has no bonuses coming. None of his money is guaranteed. If he gets cut this season, he'll provide the Bengals a cap savings of $420,000. If he gets cut next year, he could provide a $510,000 cap savings.

With Dalton, Campbell and McCarron ahead of him, Scott likely is headed to the practice squad if he isn't cut by the end of training camp. At the very least, he was signed to give the Bengals another arm during voluntary offseason workouts and training camp.

Scott was added to Cincinnati's roster after clearing waivers following a release from Jacksonville. He was on the Jaguars' practice squad last year.
CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals claimed quarterback Matt Scott off waivers from Jacksonville on Friday, bringing their quarterback total to four.

The Jaguars' practice-squad quarterback last season, Scott is expected to give the Bengals an additional arm. Scott could be a potential practice-squad quarterback this season, too.

His addition comes after the Bengals released backup Josh Johnson this week. Johnson's departure came just two days after former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was drafted in the fifth round.

McCarron still figures to enter the organized team activities this month as the No. 3 quarterback, behind starter Andy Dalton and backup Jason Campbell. The Bengals are still working through a contract extension for Dalton, their fourth-year starter who has led them to three straight postseasons to open his career. He has yet to win a playoff game.

Along with Johnson's release, the Bengals also released fellow backup Zac Robinson this month. Several weeks before his departure, practice-squad quarterback Greg McElroy also left. He decided to retire after three seasons. McElroy now works for ESPN as an analyst for the SEC Network.

Scott spent all of last season with the Jaguars after signing with them last May as an undrafted free agent. During his preseason appearances last August he completed 18 of 40 passes for 170 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He started 17 games in college at Arizona where he was named second-team All-Pac 12 as a senior. He posted six 300-yard passing games that year.

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