Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
Television: Live coverage on the Bengals Preseason Network with broadcasters Mike Watts (play-by-play), Anthony Munoz (analyst) and Marisa Contipelli (sideline reporter). The network is led by flagship WKRC-TV (CBS Channel 12) in Cincinnati. Also on the network are WKEF-TV (ABC Ch. 22) in Dayton, WSYX-TV (ABC Ch. 6) in Columbus, WLIO-TV (FOX Ch. 8.2) in Lima, WDKY-TV FOX Ch. 56) in Lexington, Ky. and WDRB-TV (FOX Ch. 41) in Louisville, Ky.
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Setting the scene: The Cincinnati Bengals take the field for their second preseason game on Thursday night when they travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the Redskins at FedExField. The Redskins are led by sixth-year head coach Jay Gruden, who, prior to taking the head job in Washington, was Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator from 2011-13. Gruden played a significant role in the early success of QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green, who both entered the NFL in 2011 and helped lead the Bengals to playoff berths in each of Gruden’s three seasons in Cincinnati.
Dalton and Green, now nine-year veterans, are considered key components to the Bengals’ transition to a new head coach this season. Saturday’s debut of Bengals first-year head coach Zac Taylor resulted in a 38-17 loss at Kansas City, however most observers came away encouraged after the first-team offense, led by Dalton, scored on a 14-play, 75-yard drive in its only action.
The Bengals were without several key players on both sides of the ball in Kansas City, and more of the same is expected on Thursday in Washington. Among the notable missing players against the Chiefs were Green, WR John Ross, CB Darqueze Dennard, CB William Jackson, HB Giovani Bernard, HB Joe Mixon, TE Tyler Eifert, DT Geno Atkins and LB Carl Lawson. But despite the potential absence of several of those key players again against the Redskins, there are plenty of storylines playing out as roster battles continue to take shape.
Chief among those storylines is the competition for the Bengals No.1 LG position, between Trey Hopkins, John Jerry, Christian Westerman and rookie Michael Jordan. The backup QB competition between incumbent Jeff Driskel and rookie Ryan Finley is also heating up. Finley, who is listed as the Bengals’ No. 3 QB behind Driskel on the preseason depth chart, had a strong debut on Saturday, completing his first 10 passes on the way to 13 of 18 passing for 109 yards, one TD and one INT (82.9 rating).
Injuries to Green and Ross this preseason have meant more opportunity for the Bengals’ young wide receivers, with many even rotating in with the first-team offense. That experience showed on Saturday night in Kansas City, as eight of Cincinnati’s nine receivers to see action caught a pass. Among the most talked about new receivers this camp have been rookie college free agents Stanley Morgan and Damion Willis, who both figure to see extended action for the remainder of preseason play as they battle for roster spots.
On defense, all eyes will be on the the Bengals’ young linebackers. Rookie third-round pick Germaine Pratt is expected to see extensive action as he continues his climb toward a likely large role on the Bengals’ defense in the regular season. And with veteran pass-rushers like Lawson and Atkins likely being held out for much of preseason, opportunity knocks for young passrushers like DEs Andrew Brown and Jordan Willis, who combined for four QB hits and a sack on Saturday against the Chiefs.
Washington enters this Thursday’s contest 0-1 in preseason after a 30-10 loss at Cleveland last week. Another storyline to watch on Thursday centers on Redskins assistant head coach/offensive line coach Bill Callahan. Bill is the father of Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan and was head coach at the University of Nebraska while Bengals head coach Zac Taylor played QB for the Cornhuskers (2005-06).
The series: The Bengals lead the preseason series with the Redskins 5-3-1, including victories in three of their last four meetings. The teams last met in preseason in 2017, a 23-17 Redskins win at FedExField that was Washington’s first victory in the preseason series since 1983.
Of the nine preseason meetings between the two, five have come in Washington, three in Cincinnati and one in Canton, Ohio. The meeting in Canton occurred on Aug. 2, 1975, and was the Bengals’ first appearance in the Hall of Fame Game. The game is famous — or infamous — in Bengals lore, as it was in 105-degree heat. It’s believed to be the hottest game conditions ever for any Bengals game. The Redskins won that matchup, 17-9.
In regular-season play, the Bengals lead the series 5-4-1. The last meeting was played in London, England, on Oct. 30, 2016, with the teams battling to a 27-27 tie. Prior to that meeting, the Bengals had won the last three matchups. The Redskins’ last regular-season series win was a 34-27 decision at Cincinnati in 1991.
Bengals-Redskins connections: Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was offensive coordinator for the Bengals from 2011-13. Gruden is also from Tiffin, Ohio, and played (1985-88) and coached (’89-91) at the University of Louisville ... Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan is the son of Redskins assistant head coach/offensive line coach Bill Callahan. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor also played quarterback at the University of Nebraska under Bill Callahan, who was the Cornhuskers’ head coach from 2004-07 ... Redskins defensive backs coach Ray Horton was a second-round draft pick (53rd overall) of the Bengals in 1983, and was with Cincinnati through the ’88 season. Horton also coached for the Bengals from 1997-2001 ... Bengals senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner was head coach at the University of Maryland from 1992-96. Duffner is also from Annandale, Va., and played at the College of William & Mary from 1972-74 ... Redskins LB Marquis Flowers was a sixth-round pick (212th overall) of the Bengals in 2014, and was with Cincinnati through the ’16 season ... Bengals CB Anthony Chesley is from Temple Hills, Md. (Gwynn Park High School) ... Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins played at Ohio State University ... Bengals DE Andrew Brown is from Chesapeake, Va. (Oscar Smith High School) and played at the University of Virginia ... Redskins G Wes Martin is from West Milton, Ohio (Milton-Union High School) ... Bengals HB Jordan Ellis played at the University of Virginia ... Bengals CB B.W. Webb is from Newport News, Va. (Warwick High School), and played at the College of William & Mary ... Bengals DE Kerry Wynn is from Louisa, Va. (Louisa County High School) and played at the University of Richmond ... Redskins WR Terry McLaurin played at Ohio State University ... Redskins LB Josh Harvey-Clemons played at the University of Louisville ... Redskins G Zac Kerin is from Delaware, Ohio (Olentangy High School) and played at the University of Toledo ... Bengals DT Niles Scott (Reserve/Injured) played at Frostburg State University ... Redskins LB Marcus Smith II played at the University of Louisville ... Bengals secondary/cornerbacks coach Daronte Jones is from Annapolis, Md. ... Bengals secondary/safeties coach Robert Livingston played at the College of William & Mary from 2007-09 ... Redskins inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan coached at Ohio State University in 1988 ... Redskins defensive quality control coach Cannon Matthews attended Ohio University.