As the Bengals seek their first win of the season, tight end Drew Sample will have to make a big impact against the Eagles.
After an offseason full of optimism, the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves without a win through their first two weeks of play. On Sunday, they will have another chance to get rookie Joe Burrow his first career win over another winless team in the Philadelphia Eagles.
To come away with a win for the first time this year, the Bengals will need tight end Drew Sample to have a big day. The second-year tight end has already put together two solid performances, but will need to continue his upward trend in week three.
Going into the Bengals’ week two matchup against the Browns, Sample was not the starting tight end in Zac Taylor’s offense. However, after a devastating injury to C.J. Uzomah that took him out for the season, Sample will be Cincinnati’s top tight end for the rest of the year.
In Uzomah’s absence against the Browns, Sample had an impressive showing. With 7 receptions and 45 yards, the 2019 second-round pick was tied for a team-high in catches on the night.
Week three features favorable matchups for Drew Sample
Leading the team in receptions against the Browns, it is clear that Sample is a player that Burrow trusts. The two will need to continue having a solid connection to exploit the Eagles’ weakness against tight ends.
Through just two games, the Eagles’ defense has already given up four touchdowns to tight ends. Against Philly, Logan Thomas of the Washington Football Team found the end zone once in week one while Los Angeles Rams’ tight ends scored three times in week two.
The Bengals have not been strong in the red-zone so far this season. If they can utilize Drew Sample against the Eagles in the same way Philadelphia’s first two opponents have, it could be the key to turning things around in the money zone.
However, Sample won’t only be needed as a pass-catcher. He will also be needed as a blocker, which is considered by most to be his biggest strength.
According to Pro Football Focus, Sample has a run-blocking grade of 67.7 after two games. With star running back Joe Mixon struggling to get anything done on the ground so far this season, Sample will be crucial as a blocker if the Bengals want to get him going.
With an overall grade of 74.4, Sample is PFF’s #14 tight end after two games. In his first full game as a starter, he should be able to exploit the Eagles’ defense for the best game of his young career.
To avoid starting with an 0-3 record for their second straight season, the former second-round pick Sample is going to have to step up in a big way.