Well Cincinnati you won’t be seeing any of Chris Crocker this year. The long-time on again, off again Bengal signed with the Minnesota Vikings yesterday. It’s an unsurprising move as Crocker has worked well within Mike Zimmer’s system in the past (he’s played for Zimmer since 2008). Crocker had a productive year in 2013 in spite of playing only 3/4 of the year and with limited snaps. He finished with 37 tackles, seven pass deflections, two interceptions, and one TD.
Mike Zimmer and the Bengals new defensive backs coach Vance Joseph must think alike. Zimmer trusts Crocker in his secondary as an established veteran who knows his system well and can mentor new players learning the system while bringing a positive presence to the locker room. Joseph promptly brought Danieal Manning to Cincinnati, following his release from the Texans this off-season, assumedly for similar reasons. Joseph coached Manning for the past few years while in Houston, so Manning knows him well and can bring that same veteran savvy to Joseph’s new secondary.
I can’t help but miss Crocker a little bit already (or at least his availability). He seems to always come along when the Bengals needed him most providing solid play and even making some big plays in key moments. I’m personally rooting for Zimmer to succeed in Minnesota (his hiring as a head coach was long overdue) and Crocker’s signing will be an unheralded albeit important one towards his success in Minnesota. Hopefully Manning will bring that timely play and veteran leadership to the Bengals this year as they won’t be able to lean on Crocker’s seemingly endless availability.