It’s not unusual for a Rex Ryan-coached team to do a lot of talking leading up to a game, but it is a bit surprising to hear it in advance of a preseason contest.
Obviously there won’t be much on the line tonight when the New York Jets come to Paul Brown Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals in the second preseason game for both teams. But that’s not stopping New York defensive end Sheldon Richardson from playing the revenge card after the Bengals thrashed the Jets 49-9 last October.
“We owe them one,” Richardson told the Jets website. “We owe them one big time. That was pretty much the only team that dog-walked this defense like that.”
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and threw for 325 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in that Week 8 victory, with four of the scoring strikes going to Marvin Jones, who also posted career-best numbers with eight receptions and 122 yards.
Jones is out with a broken foot and will not play tonight, and Dalton is likely to be in for only a few series. But that isn’t tempering the tenor out of Jets camp any.
“You know, did we get our tails kicked last time we were up there? We absolutely did,” Ryan said. “I think the competitor in you – from a coach, from a player – you don’t like that. The fact that we have a lot of guys, however many guys are playing, it’s a little different feel. Obviously, preseason guys are trying to win jobs. It’s not just about the team or whatever. I mean, I don’t know if it is more motivation, but you certainly want to account for yourself better than we did the last time.”
Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth said he is aware of Richardson’s comments, and he likes what he heard.
“That’s good. We want their best,” he said. “Sometimes for older guys – especially myself, who have played as much as I have – it’s kind of disheartening when you go out there and guys are playing but not really playing. You want people to bring their best. You want to get better. That’s what it’s for. You want to be able to make mistakes so that you can learn from them and have guys playing at their best.”
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he expects Dalton to play between 15 and 25 snaps, depending on how the game goes. After Dalton exits the game it will be up to third-stringer Matt Scott and newly-signed Tyler Wilson to direct the offense.
Backup quarterback Jason Campbell injured his right arm in the preseason opener and is not expected to play.
In addition to Scott, who made a splash with his performance in the 41-39 loss at Kansas City last week, and Wilson, a fourth-round pick of the Raiders last year who is on this third team in 16 months, other players to watch include:
• Dane Sanzenbacher: Little used a year ago but effective when called upon, Sanzenbacher’s role as a slot receiver is expected to increase with Jones’ injury as Mohamed Sanu moves from the slot to the other starting spot opposite A.J. Green.
• Ryan Hewitt: The Bengals coaches have been raving about how the undrafted free agent has played at tight end, H-back, fullback and on special teams. He has been taking first-team snaps when the formation calls for a fullback and appears to have surpassed Orson Charles as the leading candidate to win that hybrid spot.
• Christo Bilukidi: The Bengals have more defensive lineman capable of making roster than they have spots available. Bilukidi had one of the team’s six sacks last week and is one of those bubble players fighting hard for a chance to either be on this 53-man roster, or another team’s.
• Michael Vick: He’s not in stripes, obviously, but the Jets backup quarterback certainly is a talent worth keeping an eye on, especially in the second half when there are not many familiar names on the field. His last visit to PBS was in 2008 when he threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 55 yards to lead the Falcons to a 29-27 victory against the Bengals.
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