September 23, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) fumbles after being hit by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) during the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dunlap has a lot of big expectations entering the 2012 season, but after a knee sprain in the preseason sidelined Dunlap for nearly the entire preseason, as well as the Bengals’ first two games, the durability of Dunlap once again reared its ugly head.
In his game back last year vs. thee Washington Redskins, Dunlap finished with one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and put a severe beating on Robert Griffin III. The forced fumble came on a devastating hit he put on RGIII deep in the Redskins’ territory that resulted in a Bengals TD and subsequent 24-7 lead in a game they went on to win 38-31.
Despite Dunlap’s lack of durability and being liability in run-support, when he doesn’t play, its painfully evident that he should be on the field more, as he is clearly the teams’ most efficient pass rusher, but he needs to be able to stay on the field to prove that.
The team signed Dunlap to a five-year extension worth $40 million in mid-July, and now it’s time for him to start playing like a player being paid $8 million per year, and with the Chicago Bears and their offensive line woes up first on the schedule, he’ll have a good chance to make an impact in Week 1.