‘s year-ending forearm injury will be a significant hurdle for the Bengals’ special teams unit. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this week, the Bengals lost reserve linebacker Jayson DiManche for the remainder of the year due to a fractured forearm he sustained during the team’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many reports glossed over the loss of DiManche likely due to his lack of participation within the Bengals’ defensive unit (only 6.6% of snaps according to Sporting Charts). Yet, his impact goes beyond his defensive contributions.
Jayson DiManche has quickly become one of the Bengals’ key contributors on special teams. Last year during his rookie season, he became one of the team’s leading tacklers on special teams (12, according to the team’s website). This while playing 66% of the special teams snaps. He also had a blocked punt, which led to a touchdown. DiManche’s rookie season was a huge success considering he was an undrafted free agent who made the team during the final round of cuts.
This year, DiManche’s involvement within the unit has increased. He’s second on the team playing 78.5% of the snaps (behind only Shawn Williams (83%); for reference, the league leader, James Casey, is involved in 85% of the Eagles’ snaps. This means DiManche’s impact is huge as he ranks 19th in the league in special teams snaps. Despite only accounting for three tackles, the team obviously sees him as one of the key players within the unit.
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DiManche’s absence means the team will need to replace a significant number of snaps within several different phases of the unit. The Bengals will likely look to fellow linebackers Marquis Flowers and Nico Johnson to account for the snaps. Johnson has seen a solid number of the special teams snaps since joining the Bengals in Week Seven while Flowers has been involved in about 66% of the snaps this year.
Replacing a player as versatile and significant as Jayson DiManche has been for the last two years won’t be easy. Hopefully his fellow linebackers will be up to the task.