Bengals 2016 Defense: Is There A Character Flaw?

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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talks to outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talks to outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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2016 Bengals Defense
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Back That Thing Up

Love him or hate him for the immature, self-centered play, Vontaze Burfict is a force of nature in the Bengals linebacker core.  If Burfict can stay healthy and on the field there is no limit to the stats and impact he can have this year.

When teamed up with Karlos Dansby and Rey Maualuga, the Bengals have a solid core of Linebackers.  So, if the Defensive Line holds blocks and pushes up field the skill and athleticism of Dansby, Maualuga and Burfict will be on full display.

Maualuga isn’t necessarily spectacular in any one area but he is overall reliable and consistent in effort and energy.  Dansby sometimes will disappear in the Run game but Burfict more than makes up for any liability Dansby may have.  Yet, it is in Pass Coverage where Dansby excels.  He covers Running Backs and Tight Ends with ease and is athletic enough to cover Wide Receivers in short bursts.

Guys like rookie Nick Vigil and veteran Vincent Rey will have to step up while Burfict is suspended. If they can prove worthy, both could be key to a fresh rotation as the playoff push comes down the wire.

Next: The Secondary Could Be Primary

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