The Secondary Could Be Primary
The Bengals defense is familiar with having a reliable, solid front seven, but not a secondary that has question marks. Even with a healthy William Jackson III, this secondary would be the only true question mark on a top-5 defense. However, WJ3 is injured and Leon Hall isn’t walking through the door. So, the Bengals are forced to rely on an ever-older and unpredictable Jones on the outside along with a few promising, young CB’s. If Jones can keep his emotions in check and continue to be stout on the outside in run support, getting big plays against the D could be difficult.
Darqueze Dennard, Chris Lewis-Harris, and Josh Shaw all have chances to make noise alongside Dre Kirkpatrick who needs to step up or get out this year. Kirkpatrick has tons of talent and ability but in many ways has underperformed when compared to league averages. Without Leon Hall to lean on, the improvement of Kirkpatrick is paramount to this season for the Bengals. The good news is that there should be a solid rotation in this secondary. That leads to fresh legs come playoff time.
If the 2016 Bengals cornerback squad can limit surrendering negative big plays the Bengals safeties will have chances to make positive big plays. Shawn Williams has the experience and development to make him ready as a Starter at SS. On the other side, George Iloka and his long arms will have plenty chances to make big hits and break up passes. With no true shutdown cornerback this year, Iloka will be trusted to make good decisions and get his body in position to break up passes.
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