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Bengals Bye Week Report Card: Defense/Special Teams

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Corner Backs: B+

Like the defensive line, the Bengals are very deep at corner back as well, and like the defensive line, a lot of the credit for the Bengals 6th ranked passing defense also has to go to the corner backs. Even with Hall out, this group has performed well. There aren’t a lot of big plays made by the group, but there also aren’t a lot of big plays given up either. Kirkpatrick and Ghee have finally gotten healthy and been able to contribute as well.

Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals free safety Reggie Nelson (20) during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Safeties: A

While the safeties have played well, this grade, more than any other, is largely a product of expectations. Going into the year, I was very concerned with who would play opposite Nelson. I wanted the Bengals to take a safety high in the draft and they held off until taking Williams in the 4th round. Fortunately for the Bengals, Iloka has played well enough that Williams hasn’t seen the field. Much like the cornerbacks, the Bengals safeties haven’t made a ton of big plays, but I have rarely found myself cursing the Bengals safeties in 2013…something I couldn’t say in past years and something I did not think I would be saying 11 weeks into 2013.

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