Preseason Game 2: Can Joe Mixon repeat last week's performance?

Running back Joe Mixon finished with six carries for 31 yards against Tampa Bay's defense. Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals will host their second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at 7 p.m. E.T on Saturday.

Here are a few things to watch:

Can Joe Mixon repeat last week?

Joe Mixon put on a performance last week, averaging 5.2 yards-per-carry against the Bucs' first and second-team defense and catching a pass for 11 yards in one half of game play.

Mixon was also lined up out wide on one play, which is an interesting possibility for the future.

How much can Mixon do? Only the rest of the preseason will tell.

"Joe did a very good job of what we asked him to do," said running backs coach Kyle Caskey. "[We kept] putting him in situations where he can pick up blitzes or run plays where we knew he needed to get a read against certain things ...

"He wasn't in there as long as probably he wanted to be, but we'll get him in there more as preseason goes."

Does Giovani Bernard play at all?

The Bengals are getting healthy after John Ross and George Iloka returned to practice last week, but they shouldn't expect to see playing time yet. Iloka is only doing individual drills and Ross just got medically cleared.

Bernard is a different story. He's been at practice since Day 1, but the team has taken it easy with him. They finally started letting him do some goal-line work, which is the only period in camp that they do 'live' tackling. At some point, they're going to have to completely test out his repaired knee. That probably either happens on Saturday or against the Redskins in the third preseason game.

What should they do with Michael Johnson and Jordan Willis?

Johnson has been with the Bengals for seven out of his eight years in the NFL. But in last week's game, working as the defensive end in base, he looked like he had slowed down, allowing himself to get knocked over twice by the offensive tackle.

Do the Bengals continue to put him in the same spot, or will they try to find another spot that could suit him better?

It's notable that coach Marvin Lewis said rookie third-rounder Jordan Willis stood out against the Buccaneers. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Willis get more time with the first-team in base defense on Saturday.

Is the Andre Smith experiment over?

At the beginning of the summer, it seemed like Andre Smith, T.J. Johnson and Christian Westerman were prime candidates to see a lot of playing time this season. But it still looked like a long shot for the Bengals to try to move Smith, a career tackle, to the starting guard position.

From the start it looked like this might not work, and they might have given up on the idea thisweek. Trey Hopkins was starting at right guard during this week's practice, with Smith at backup right tackle. Hopkins, now in his fourth year, has spent most of his time with the Bengals on the practice squad or on IR, but this could be his year.

Smith did not play in the first preseason game, so what they do in Saturday's game could be telling. With only a few weeks left before the regular season, they're running out of time to make a decision.

Do one of the kickers separate themselves?

Rookie Jake Elliott had his worst day of practice on Wednesday, going 1-for-4 at distances of 45, 53, 50 and 54 yards. He was good from 50 yards, while Bullock was 4-for-4. Randy Bullock made a 54-yarder and 49-yarder against the Bucs last week, and Elliott was good from 45 yards.

Although the kicking competition was fairly even all summer, Bullock has been more consistent. However, it's going to be hard for the Bengals to part ways with Elliott, a fifth-round pick. They may just try to get him on the practice squad.

What it will come down to is how both handle pressure situations in games. The Bengals ran a scenario in practice in which both had to make a "game-winning kick." Bullock was good, but Elliott badly missed both of his tries at 54 (the first was when they called a timeout to try to ice him). His last attempt was extremely wide right.