Five Bengals to Watch vs. The Ravens

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Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (59) at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Lamur

The third year linebacker may be the most interesting Bengals’ player to watch on Sunday.  Lamur received much praise from the Bengals’ coaches both at the end of his rookie season and in last year’s preseason.  Unfortunately Lamur suffered a shoulder injury which sidelined him for all of last year.  But the excitement and praise has continued this off-season as defensive coordinator Paul Guenther pointed out the importance of Lamur earlier this off-season.

"“There’s a lot of things you can do with him. He can play safety, he can cover tight ends. And as we all know now in the league there are a lot of pass-receiving tight ends that we’re going to face, particularly probably in the first ball game.”"

Guenther’s acknowledgement of Lamur’s importance in this game means we should also.  Ravens’ tight end Dennis Pitta did not play in the teams’ first meeting last year due to injury.  In the second game, Pitta accounted for eight catches and 63 yards.  He’s exactly the type of player that has hurt the Bengals to many times the past few years, but Lamur may be able to curb that deficiency.

Lamur will also help the Bengals when dealing with the Ravens potentially potent running game.  Although the Ravens will miss running back Ray Rice in the teams’ first meeting (due to suspension), they still may rely on dumping the ball off to the backs in the flat when Flacco needs a release valve.  Lamur can keep up with these backs with speed that allows him to go from sideline to sideline.  Look for Lamur to have a big impact on this game.  His presence will address the Bengals’ seemingly lone defensive deficiency (dealing with pass-catching tight ends) and will allow Vontaze Burfict more freedom to make plays.