The Cincinnati Bengals have had a rotating door at inside linebacker. Signing Preston Brown this offseason still has to be proven to be the answer.
The Cincinnati Bengals signed inside linebacker Preston Brown after spending his first four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. The Cincinnati native wanted to play for the team he grew up rooting for and ended up signing a one-year deal with the organization. With the revolving door at inside linebacker in recent years, will he be the answer finally is the question?
We can sit here and talk about how Preston Brown had over 100 total tackles in each of his first four seasons in Buffalo. While that number is great and all, it doesn’t make a player great considering that all teams count their own tackles as well. Looking at where the tackles are being made is the first thing you need to look at. Is the player getting into the backfield and making stops or is he tackling the ball carrier after they’ve already picked up yards?
Considering the fact that Buffalo has struggled to stop the run in recent years as well, it was interesting bringing in Brown. Buffalo ranked 29th last year against the run game which is a big indicator that tackles aren’t everything. Even having the 2017 league leader in tackles was not enough to even slow down the run game for the Bills.
However, Brown did improve in his final season with the Bills. There was a clear distinction when watching in 2016 film and watching 2017 games. Playing multiple positions for numerous coordinators during his time in Buffalo could have some effect on his struggles in some areas so coming to Cincinnati will be another transition.
One thing that Brown does bring in consistency and reliability. Every season with the Bills he was able to haul in more than 100 tackles. He also started every game over the last three seasons on defense. Cincinnati has struggled with either suspensions or injuries to their linebacker core. The Bengals also will give credit to struggling play if they can be a consistent player on the field as we saw with Russell Bodine at center.
Will Brown show more improvement for Cincinnati in 2018? If so, I could see them giving him a long-term contract next offseason. For now, he will play under a one-year prove it deal like the rest of the linebackers that have stopped in for a season. If Brown can show some improvement in his coverage abilities especially, I see him sticking around. Versatility is the key when it comes to the Bengals new defense.