Cincinnati Bengals: Winners and Losers vs. Colts
Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon Tate (19) returns a punt during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Brandon Tate
Brandon Tate didn’t play in last night’s game, which initially indicated to me that he would be selected to the final roster this Saturday; my thinking being that if he was on the “bubble,” then the team would give him every opportunity to work himself off of it. But after seeing Dane Sanzenbacher return a punt for a touchdown for the second straight preseason…
…the thought occurred to me: maybe the team has seen all it needs to from him. Without a doubt, Tate has been a solid returner for the Bengals. He’s done well as a receiver in practice and in preseasons, but has never been able to transfer this success to game days (I wrote an article regarding this about a month ago).
In the meantime, Sanzenbacher has excelled in the return game (other than his lone fumble against the Jets) and Adam Jones has done well returning punts in the past. The Bengals also posses a veteran kick returner in Danieal Manning and could carry one player on its practice squad who possess talent in this area as well. With the league trying to downplay the existence of the kick return, which happens to be Tate’s strong point as he’s an average punt returner at best, the need for Tate is becoming increasingly negligible. The Bengals love versatility and Tate possesses none, so his role is more easily nullified than others. Tate’s spot on this roster looks to be more in jeopardy than every after last night. At this point his best shot to make this roster may lie in the Bengals’ steadfast loyalty to its players rather than Tate’s talent for this team.