You can only learn so much from the first preseason game of the year, but it still matters to plenty of players on the field. Here are a few things we’ll be looking for Sunday night while Florio liveblogs the proceedings.
1. Reborn Barber: Marion Barber has received a lot of praise during training camp for improving his burst. He probably won’t get more than a few carries, but will his practices translate? As always, Felix Jones should also be fun to check out.
2. Carson Palmer’s arm didn’t look right at the end of last season. Is his arm strength back? He won’t play much Sunday night, but it will be good to see him and Terrell Owens on the field together.
3. Bengals receiver battle: Antonio Bryant is out, and Terrell Owens won’t stay on the field for long. That leaves Andre Caldwell, Jordan Shipley, Jerome Simpson, Maurice Purify, Matt Jones, and Dezmon Briscoe to battle for snaps. Simpson has the most to lose. (And gain.)
4. Pacman is back! Bengals cornerback Adam Jones has a good chance to earn a decent-sized role this year. (Think nickel or dime back, with some return duties.) First he has to prove he can handle game speed.
5. Cowboys left tackle Doug Free looks entrenched as a starter, but his game action will matter more than his impressive practices thus far.
6. Bengals first-round pick Jermaine Gresham has received mixed reviews since arriving to training camp late. This will be our first look at him.
7. The Bengals converted 6’7, 260-pound defensive end Michael Johnson to linebacker. We’re curious to see how that plays out.
8. Kevin Ogletree and Sam Hurd are battling for a receiver spot on the Cowboys. Patrick Crayton also gets a chance to remind the team how good he can be with Dez Bryant out.
9. T.O. vs. his old team. He still has some hurt feelings about his departure. Maybe, just maybe, he has something special planned for them.