Final cuts looming after preseason ends for Bengals
AUG 29, 2013 11:33p ET
It’s been a completely different story for Lamur this preseason, who has only enhanced his role in the defense playing at SAM and in the nickel package. There was no danger of Lamur not being on the 53-man roster because of his play.
Lamur status is uncertain after he left Thursday’s 27-10 win against Indianapolis in the preseason finale with a right shoulder injury. Lamur made a tackle on Colts’ running back Donald Brown with a little more than five minutes left in the first quarter. It was a third-and-11 play. Lamur stopped Brown for a two-yard gain but stayed on the ground, kneeling and bent over in anguish.
That anguish remained as he was taken off the field on a cart, a trainer holding his arm and shoulder in place as they headed to the locker room.
“It slipped out,” said head coach Marvin Lewis of Lamur’s shoulder, “and they slipped it back in place. But that’s about all we know… We’ll have to see how he responds.”
Lamur’s injury, plus the loss of Brandon Joiner to injury last week, gave extended playing time to backups J.K. Schaffer, Jayson DiManche and Bruce Taylor, all of whom are in the spot Lamur was facing last season.
The Bengals and every other NFL team have to cut their rosters to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday. That means 22 player transactions will be needed for the Bengals. Thursday night was all about players making that final case for themselves to the coaches and powers that be.
“I think I had a pretty solid preseason,” said Schaffer, a first-year player from the University of Cincinnati and a Cincinnati native who played at La Salle High School. “There are still some things that I need to get cleaned up, get better at and keep learning, but I played hard and left it all out there. Now, it’s out of my hands.”
Schaffer had a sack, one tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and picked off a pass by Colts’ rookie Chandler Harnish in the third quarter to go along with six tackles. DiManche, an undrafted rookie from Southern Illinois, was credited with a team-high seven tackles, while Taylor had four tackles. Taylor is also a rookie college free agent, from Virginia Tech.
The next two days, waiting for that final roster announcement, are the toughest for any player.
“E-man (Lamur) is like a cousin,” said DiManche, who noted both are of Haitian decent. “That boy is a good kid. To see that happen to him, that hurt me. He works so hard. He does everything right and to see him go down like that, you never want to see a guy go down like that. I know he’s going to get through it. He’s as strong as they come.
“It shows that you’ve got to be ready. I didn’t think I was going to go in the first half of this game. I thought I was going to be strictly special teams in the first half. E-man goes down and now I’ve got double duty. That’s how it happens. That’s how the game is.”
Taylor echoed DiManche’s words about having to be ready at any moment.
“Guys who thought they weren’t going to be in until the third or fourth quarter are now going to be in the first and second quarter,” said Taylor. “I feel for the most part it wasn’t a drop-off when E-man got hurt. Jayson came in and did a great job in the nickel. I came in at WILL in the second half and feel like I played pretty well myself.
“I felt more comfortable in this fourth game and was able to make plays. I was able to control my nerves and let the game come to me a little bit more.”
*First team offense sharp – Quarterback Andy Dalton and the first teamers played just one drive and made the most of it. They scored a touchdown on a seven-play, 46-yard drive. They called just two pass plays – one completed by Dalton for 18 yards to Mohamed Sanu, who broke a tackle to pick up a good chunk of the yardage, and another to A.J. Green that resulted in a pass interference penalty and set up Giovani Bernard’s one-yard touchdown run.
“We came out tonight and did what we wanted to do,” said Dalton. “We moved the ball with the first offense, especially running the ball, and we scored a TD. As far as the season, I feel like we’re ready to go. We’ve played together well, I like the new elements we have, and I’m looking forward to going to Chicago.”
*Special teams – Darrin Simmons’ units finished off a strong preseason. Brandon Tate returned a kickoff 51 yards to set up the offense’s opening touchdown drive. Giovani Bernard and Dane Sanzenbacher each had positive punt returns, taking the ball and going straight upfield. Kevin Huber’s lone punt in the first half was perfectly placed and forced a fair catch at the 10-yard line. Mike Nugent converted (both) of his field goal attempts and had (two) touchbacks. The Colts didn’t start any of their drives following
kickoffs better than at their own 20.
*Team depth – The talent level at the backup positions showed in the preseason opener at Atlanta and was evident throughout this game. The Bengals’ first units were on the field for just the first series of the game. Those the Bengals end up keeping on the final roster will provide them the best depth they’ve had in the Marvin Lewis era. Those that get cut will find jobs elsewhere in the league.
*Missing men – Fourth preseason games usually don’t feature a lot of the starters and key players but it is one thing to hold players out for safety and another for them not to be available to play because of injury.
Cornerbacks Brandon Ghee and Dre Kirkpatrick both are dealing with concussions, while left tackle Andrew Whitworth, right tackle Andre Smith, defensive end Carlos Dunlap also didn’t play due to injuries of one degree or another. Smith had a knee issue last week at Dallas but is expected to be ready for the opener at Chicago. Whitworth is the most iffy of the group. He hasn’t played this entire preseason as he rehabs from offseason knee surgery.
First-round draft choice Tyler Eifert did not play for the second game in a row. He’s had a wrist injury but there has been no mention of how bad it is.
*Turnovers – Running back Cedric Peerman lost a fumble in the second quarter after a short gain. It was the fifth lost fumble of the preseason and the seventh turnover overall by the Bengals. Just as disconcerting is the lack of turnovers created by the defense. Schaffer’s interception was just the second takeaway for the defense this preseason. The Bengals end the preseason with a minus-5 turnover ratio.
*Late TD – There wasn’t much wrong with this game for the Bengals, but they did have a chance to limit the Colts to a single field goal. Indy finally got into the end zone with 11:41 left in the game on a seven-yard pass by Harnish to fullback Dominique Jones. A
couple of defenders got caught in a coverage mix-up and Jones was all alone for the reception.
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