When the Bengals invade FirstEnergy Stadium, they’ll be looking for win number one. But, the return of Vontaze Burfict will make things easier.
The Bengals’ defense has been playing like a championship unit. So far, they have managed to land in the top 10 (No.9) for total defense. That ranking is for the NFL. For the AFC, they chime in at No. 6. To be honest, the Bengals have put together a really decent defensive presence. And this has been accomplished without the man who comes back for Week 4. Vontaze Burfict will be ready to terrorize the Cleveland Browns, after serving a three-game suspension. But, Tez is causing problems before he takes a snap.
Burfict’s reputation goes two ways. Either he’s looked upon as one of the best linebackers in the league or he’s considered dirty. Actually, Burfict has a passion for the game that goes unequaled at times. He’s able to put a spark in the Bengals defense and cause them to perform above and beyond capabilities. If that sounds like hype for a Gatorade commercial. It may as well be. Vontaze is able to spur his teammates into action.
The Word On The Street
Hue Jackson knows that Burfict will be back with an attitude. He’ll be ready to take out that frustration on the Browns. Jackson is ready for the “cement truck” hits on his players but wants his anger to boil over slightly.
"“I hope he gets penalized in our game. I’m going to say it again and Vontaze knows how I feel about him as a player: he’s as fine a linebacker as I’ve been around. He’s a tremendous football player, a heck of a person and a heck of a teammate. That’s just what he is and he plays the game the way you would want any linebacker in this league to play it.”"
That’s respect and envy all rolled into one. A small pocket of Bengals fans would like to see Burfict shipped out of the ‘Nati. But, Jackson’s words reflect what would have happened if Cincinnati didn’t lock up their talented linebacker with a three-year $39 million deal. Any team would have tossed the cash at his feet.
Browns’ tight end David Njoku understands he has to be on the lookout for a huge hit.
"“He’s not necessarily a dirty player, but he does a couple of cheap shots here and there. So, you try to keep your head on a swivel and not jogging without looking. You have to make sure that you know where he is at all times and that’s pretty much it.”"
Teams have been treating the Bengals like crap and saying mean things. In other words, Burfict’s back and teams are gonna be in trouble. He’s kinda big and awfully strong. That tune by The Angels says it nicely. But, linebackers coach Jim Haslett really puts it into perspective.
"“He’s smart, he’s instinctive, and he gives us a lift.”"
Moreover, it’s time to get stingy on D.