Bengals News

Cincinnati Bengals: Worse in 2019? Not by a Long Shot

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LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 15: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on against the Washington Redskins during the first half of a preseason game at FedExField on August 15, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 15: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on against the Washington Redskins during the first half of a preseason game at FedExField on August 15, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 10: Germaine Pratt #57 of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Deon Yelder #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter during a preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 10: Germaine Pratt #57 of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Deon Yelder #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter during a preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /

Linebackers

Vontaze Burfict was just plain bad last year. You may not have liked Burfict, and that’s fine, but there are a lot of 55 jerseys walking around Paul Brown Stadium who were hoping that Burfict would return to his former peak. Last season, even the most passionate Burfict supporter had to concede that he wasn’t getting the job done anymore.

I can remember the exact moment that it became clear Burfict’s time with the Bengals had seen better days. It was right about the 50 yard line of this Philip Lindsay run from last season. Perhaps you remember this as well.

Removing Burfict from the field  just gives more opportunity for the Bengals promising rookie Germaine Pratt to develop into the player who can provide the type of positive impact the unit needs.

In 2017, Preston Brown helped the Buffalo Bills reach the postseason for the first time since 1999 by being one of the most consistent tacklers who hardly ever missed a play. In 2018, he hardly saw the field in his first season with the Bengals due to injury.

No one can predict injuries, but having a league leading tackler healthy for more games is going to help the entire position group. As long as either the team’s most athletic linebacker Nick Vigil or Preston Brown can stay on the field to lead the defense, and Pratt has at least a respectable rookie season, we will see improvement.

Maybe I haven’t completely sold you that the linebackers are going to be fixed just because they’re a little bit healthier and a good rookie has been added to the mix. That’s fair, but there are rumblings that the team might still be looking around the league to see who can help this unit. Also, most people don’t truly understand quite how injured the Bengals were last year. That covers a lot of the offensive weapons as well. So…

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