Imperfect and Irreplaceable: The Vontaze Burfict Conundrum

esnyder
Oct 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) argues with Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) after the during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) argues with Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) after the during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports /
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Vontaze Burfict
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Vontaze Burfict couldn’t jump over a phone book during his draft combine and overall didn’t perform well.  But as a Pro, he has proven to be a great tackler and stout run stopper.

The Run Stopper

At 6’1 and 248 pounds, Vontaze Burfict is bad news for opposing offensive lines and running backs.  His intensity and love for hitting other people (before, during and after the whistle) makes him feared in both one-on-one and gang tackle situations.  The fearlessness Burfict shows in open field tackling along with the pure power of his hits has made it difficult to take him off the field.  Looking purely at legitimate Football plays in both College and the NFL shows that Burfict also has a nose for the ball and for ball carriers.  Not only does he have great tackling form paired with a high motor; he does not get tired of putting people on the ground.

Vontaze Burfict
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Forget not that Vontaze Burfict was a Pro Bowl LB in 2013 and was 2nd team All-Pro that same year.  With 114 solo tackles, 57 assisted tackles along, 3 sacks, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble Burfict proved he could be an irreplaceable asset to the Bengals.  Since then both he and Bengals management have been chasing the ghost of Burfict past.  The first two years saw 16 games played for Burfict while he only played 15 games total over the last two years.  For him to regain the form of years past is important for both him and his team.  The run he was on was stopped by his own actions and must be restarted if he wants to remain in the League.

What Needs To Happen

First things first, Vontaze Burfict needs to decide who he wants to be.  Does he want to be a WWE villain or does he want to be an NFL Linebacker?  He cannot be both.  Over the last year, Burfict has destroyed any goodness in his reputation by continuing to rack up penalty yards and fines.

For the betterment of the team and for him as a person the Bengals need to Cut Vontaze Burfict immediately.

The playoff loss to the Steelers last year was squarely on the shoulders of Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones.  For Burfict, his time in the NFL could be drawing short.  With a reputation for dirty play and verifiable video proof thereof Burfict has one foot out of the NFL whether he knows it or not.  For the betterment of the team and for him as a person the Bengals need to Cut Vontaze Burfict immediately.

Marvin Lewis Too

However, it appears that Lewis has chosen N0. 55 as his ride-or-die and there won’t be any cutting or benching.  Truth is, it may be time for BOTH Lewis and Burfict to be let go before the Bengals become a laughing stock yet again.  It may be unfair to lump both men together since Marvin Lewis has a great reputation among NFL players and coaches.  Yet, by doing nothing and even defending Burfict, Marvin Lewis has chosen to lump himself in with the troubled defender.  The sad truth of the NFL is that if Vontaze plays like an All-Pro again he will suddenly be described as edgy and old school instead of dirty and disposable.

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