Friday, August 10, 2012
Jets-Bengals: Pregame notes
By Rich Cimini
CINCINNATI -- Obviously, the pregame headline is Tim Tebow's debut, but the preseason opener also will afford us a chance to evaluate unheralded players who have flashed in training camp.
Some of those players include: WR Dexter Jackson, WR Raymond Webber, WR Royce Pollard, QB Matt Simms, NT Damon Harrison, S Antonio Allen, S D'Anton Lynn and LB Marcus Dowtin.
I'm also curious to see TE Hayden Smith, the former rugby player trying to make it in the NFL. Imagine what he'll be feeling before kickoff.
Lineup changes: As expected, RT Wayne Hunter (back) won't play. That opens the door for Austin Howard, a massive, run-blocking tackle who has impressed in camp. He'll probably see a lot of Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap.
Others out for the Jets are NT Sione Pouha (forehead) and WR Santonio Holmes (ribs). They will be replaced by Kenrick Ellis and Chaz Schilens, respectively.
Scout's eye: Preseason games always draw a lot of scouts from other teams. They have two primary purposes: They're evaluating "bubble" players who might become free in the coming weeks. If the scout works for a team on the Jets' schedule, the scout focuses on the team in general, noting information that could come in handy for their game. Scouts from the Steelers and Dolphins, the Jets' Week 2 and Week 3 opponents, respectively, are in attendance. Oddly, no one from the Bills, their opening-day opponent, is here.
Defense in the house. Rex Ryan's famous dad, Buddy Ryan, is in the house. The elder Ryan, who leaves in nearby Kentucky, spent time on the field during the pregame warmups. He and Rex spent several minutes on the Jets' bench, talking about -- just a guess here -- defense.