What Practice Squad Expansion means for the Bengals
Jul 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Cobi Hamilton (87) takes a drink on the sidelines during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday the NFL chose to expand its practice squad rules and allow two extra players to join the squad, even if they’ve accrued two years in the NFL. This is especially important to the Bengals whose roster is loaded with talent. Fringe players such as Dontay Moch, Sam Montgomery, Christo Bilukidi, and Chris Lewis-Harris will have a better chance at assuring themselves a job while the Bengals can retain more of its talent. These players would’ve typically been picked up by another team, but in light of this change, opposing teams may be more willing to retain their own talent rather than sign someone from another team, and system, directly to their 53-man roster. The Bengals could also choose to keep more of the youth they’ve acquired such as Isaiah Lewis, Victor Hampton, LaKendrick Ross, etc. This expansion also makes it much easier on the team and its fans to utilize a practice squad spot for a third quarterback; a concept that, thus far, may make fans’ stomachs turn a la Matt Scott as none of the reserves have done much to earn a spot.
The Bengals are loaded with talent and have to entirely release a player like Bilukidi, after his strong preseason performance, would’ve been difficult to swallow. It’s particularly encouraging to know that uber-talented and gifted players such Moch and Montgomery can still be retained and trained within the Bengals system, which allows the team to be further prepared for any unforeseen injuries. The Bengals have had a great eye for talent in recent years and have done a great job developing players who were willingly passed over by the rest of the league. This expansion is a big win for the Bengals, and its penchant for finding “diamonds in the rough,” and should ease the coaches’ decision-making process prior to final cuts at the end of the month.