Bengals’ Winners and Losers vs. Ravens
Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry (95) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Winner: Wallace Gilberry
I really feel the need to give this unfairly, unheralded player some love. To this point, and based on the Bengals rotation along the defensive line, Gilberry has been a “reserve” defensive lineman for the Bengals. I use the word “reserve” loosely as the Bengals rotate players all over the line and Gilberry can play anywhere along it with his skill set. After signing with the Bengals in 2012, Gilberry accumulated 14 sacks during his first two seasons (6.5 and 7.5 in 2012 and 2013 respectively), yet he gets very little press and because of it, his name is unknown by many. After yesterday’s game I couldn’t even find a decent picture of him for this section of the article. But Gilberry just keeps doing what he does. He’s one of the players who will be taking on a larger role this year following the departure of Michael Johnson to Tampa Bay over the off-season. Yesterday Gilberry stepped up and started the season off in strong fashion. He produced four tackles (three solo), 1.5 sacks, one TFL, one pass deflection (PD), and two QB hits; Gilberry even came up with the game-sealing sack of Joe Flacco.
There was a continent of fans coming into this season who were skeptical about the team’s ability to account for the loss of Johnson. The Bengals will need to sure up their run defense in the future, after letting Justin Forsett rush for 70 yards and a TD on just 11 carries yesterday. But if Gilberry plays at this level throughout the year, the Bengals should have few worries regarding Johnson’s loss.