Bengals’ Emmanuel Lamur Needs to Emerge in 2015


Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Emmanuel Lamu (59) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cincinnati Bengals take the field in 2015, Emmanuel Lamur will need to be amongst those in stripes who are most ready to hit the field running, so to speak.  Lamur will need to have a big year in the coming season or risk being marginalized.

Emmanuel Lamur’s first two years in the league were unimpressive.  After flashing his potential back in 2012, Lamur suffered a shoulder injury in 2013 that forced him to miss the entire season.  He returned to the Bengals last year, yet the injury didn’t dissuade the team from having great expectations for him.

During the 2014 preseason, Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther spoke about nearly “fainting” when Lamur got hurt; a sign of how much faith Guenther placed in his third-year linebacker (at the time).  Guenther boasted about Emmanuel Lamur’s versatility on the field, as well as his ability to improve the Bengals’ defense of tight ends, which has been particularly poor in recent years.  Guenther also lauded Lamur for his intelligence.

"“He gives you great ability to change the look of the fronts,” Guenther said. “He’s a smart player. He’s a player who knows the defense. Maybe not as much as Burfict because he was out last year, but he’s that kind of guy that understands the big picture. Having him back is a big advantage for us.”"

Although Guenther makes it clear that Vontaze Burfict is of superior intelligence when compared to Lamur, but to even compare the two says a lot about what Guenther thinks of Lamur.

When actually on the field this past season, Emmanuel Lamur underwhelmed. Given he was thrust into a leadership role prematurely when Burfict went down with injuries, nonetheless, Lamur struggled greatly when attempting to lead the defense.  He looked frazzled at times and was fooled numerous times over the course of the year.

When playing in coverage, Lamur also proved to be less than advertised.  He was unable to cover tight ends effectively and was burned by running backs on occasion.  His 2014 performance earned him a -12.5 grade (in 905 snaps) overall despite accounting for 92 combine tackles, two interceptions and seven pass deflections.

Emmanuel Lamur is now heading into his fourth season in the NFL.  He has little to show for his first three seasons and returns to the Queen City on a one-year deal after signing his restricted free agent tender this offseason.  The Bengals tagged him with a second round tender this offseason, which is evidence that they wanted to keep him, and so, continue to think highly of him.  But these thoughts may not last past this year.

If Emmanuel Lamur wants to stay in stripes, wants to retain a significant role in the defense, and if he wants to sign a respectable contract in 2016, he must step up in 2015 and finally live up to some of his coaches’ and organization’s expectations.

Next: Will Andrew Whitworth Be in Stripes Past 2015?