Earning Their Stripes: James Wright


Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver

James Wright

(86) runs with the ball as Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback

Johnthan Banks

(27) defends during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go, live from Tampa, the still mathematically alive 2-9 Buccaneers hosting the Cincinnati Bengals who finish their current three-game road trip in Tampa Bay.  First play from scrimmage, Andy Dalton interception, followed by two more picks and a defense that is bending,  but not breaking.  Throw in 23 penalties, a botched onside kick, and 12 men on the field to complete the trifecta of weird that was Sunday.  Shining through all of this was rookie wide receiver James Wright.

Wright, a seventh round pick out of LSU, made several big plays for the Bengals on Sunday including a huge 30-yard catch on third and 11 with 2:37 left in the game.  Not bad for a guy who never caught a pass as a senior at LSU.  Yes, read that again, never caught a single pass as a senior at LSU.  Wright has been a positive spark late in the year with Marvin Jones sidelined all season and recently signed Greg Little out the past two games.

Wright may not be the most skilled receiver the Bengals have ever drafted, but he is that big bodied guy, 6’2” and over 200 pounds.  This seems to be the mold the Bengals are looking for.  AJ Green is 6’4”, Mohamed Sanu is 6’2”, Marvin Jones is 6’2” and even going back to 2012 with Armon Binns, who was 6’3”.  The Bengals certainly know what they are looking for with big bodied wide receivers who can block, run routes, and catch the ball when called upon at a moment’s notice, hence James Wright.

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As the Bengals go into their final four games, having a sure-handed guy like Wright can make all of the difference.  At the beginning of the season everyone said “defenses can’t cover everyone,” but as the injuries piled up, fans quickly saw that opposing teams can cover everyone.  Wright’s contribution along with possibly Greg Little, and maybe even Tyler Eifert will make this task difficult for opposing defenses going forward.  Also of note, Andy Dalton is 10-4 in December, so this really could be a magical ride to the end of the season.  What is his last loss in December?  At Pittsburgh of course, a night Kevin Huber is hoping to forget.  Until then, James Wright, way to “earn your stripes.”