Clements came into Cincinnati with a need to redeem himself. Now over the age of 30, he wasn’t as fast as he once was, and would need to rely on intelligence and experience to get it done. Playing across from Hall, Clements stepped in and did what he does best. The Bengals defense as a whole played very well, and was a very large reason the team made the playoffs for the 2nd time in three years. The defense overall ranked 7th in the league in yards per game, while the passing defense was top ten as well, ranking 9th at 211 yards per game. The Bengals had issues at safety all season, so the cornerbacks were especially important. He also continued to show that willingness to tackle, which has been a staple of his game his whole career.
Going into the 2012 season, the Bengals have lots of depth at CB, including first round selection Dre Kirkpatrick. With the rookie as well as some of the other players on the roster at CB, Clements will need to step things up once again. His contract expires after this season, and he will be auditioning all year for a job next season. He has even taken some snaps at safety in training camp, making himself more versatile, and it could extend his career by a few seasons if he can make the transition. With the Bengals having questions at safety still, he could see some game action there sooner rather than later. The 2013 season will most likely find Nate Clements playing somewhere else, for some other team, with his stint in orange and black lasting just two seasons. If he can hold down the fort at CB this year, and help lead the defense to another top ten ranking, he’ll earn himself one more good payday, and I’ll call his time here a success.