By Marquita Quinones //@Latinlove729
Cincinnati Bengals have started the season off on a positive note, with two games behind them and a win for each. That being said, their next move was a little puzzling as the Bengals release safety George Iloka and now list rookie Jessie Bates as the starter at free safety.
George Iloka was a fifth-round selection by the Bengals in the 2012 NFL Draft. Iloka had become a very important piece to the franchise and a leader on the Bengals defense since starting in 2013. Iloka’s performance included 227 tackles, 32 blocked passes, 9 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles since joining the Bengals. I am sure this will have big ramifications for the team moving forward.
The offensive line will remain a huge question for the Bengals as they get ready to meet up against the Buffalo Bills in their 3rd preseason game. During the Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys, the offensive unit seem to struggle throughout the game. Frank Pollack, the new offensive line coach, will have a lot to consider before this next game.
Coach Pollack seems to favor the right side as he continues to make adjustments to that side. Trey Hopkins has been getting more looks at the right guard. Christian Westerman is competing against Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond for the starting right guard position. Currently, he is listed as the backup left guard behind Clint Boling, but could see a lot of action as the right guard. Although it has been pretty competitive throughout camp, as Westerman has shown to be the more athletic. Let’s see if Coach Pollack sees it too. Bobby Hart, who had the right tackle position on lockdown, didn’t look too impressive week 2. It didn’t help that neither Jake Fisher nor Cedric Ogbuehi, looked any better. Definitely see Coach Pollack making more changes before the regular season.
Heading into this next game there are a few Bengals that are in desperate need of a big game. Wide receiver Auden Tate is one of those individuals. He has been a big focus all camp long. He had a great start, from catching the game-winning touchdown in week 1 to receiving praise from receivers A.J Green and John Ross. Still to consider is the return of WR Cody Core and how that will affect whether or not Tate will even make the roster.
Brandon Wilson at safety will need a few things to happen in order to be considered on the roster, although the release of George Iloka this past week does increase his chances. Listed as the third strong safety behind Shawn Williams and Clayton Fejedelem, there is still an opportunity for him especially if the Bengals go with 10 DBs.
Jonathan Brown is another talented, but raw kicking prospect. He made both of his FG attempts last week during the Cowboys game. His longest being 55 yards which definitely makes him a stand out. Unfortunately, he has never kicked in an organized game until this preseason and this may influence Bengals to stick to Randy Bullock as the starting kicker.
Bengals have managed to get it done this preseason. Let’s see if the changes that need to be made will be enough to make this a successful season.
Follow Marquita on Twitter at @Latinlove729