Cincinnati Bengals: Hakeem Adeniji should still be starting

Hakeem Adeniji #77 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Hakeem Adeniji #77 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Rookie offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji should still be getting starter reps with the Cincinnati Bengals for the remainder of the season.

Reports indicate the Cincinnati Bengals will return to Bobby Hart as the starter at right tackle, seemingly putting an end to Hakeem Adeniji getting a look amongst the starters. Perhaps the shift back to Hart would be the correct move if Joe Burrow was still the guy under center, but with his season cut short, Zac Taylor and co. should’ve stuck with Adeniji.

Of course, there is a chance the coaching staff gives the former sixth-round pick a chance along the interior at one of the guard positions, but at this point, that seems unlikely. With the team opting to return to Hart, the most likely outcome down the stretch is that Adeniji will remain on the bench.

That’s a mistake, considering the way the season has turned out. Perhaps Hart gives the Bengals the best chance at winning in the present, but even that assessment is questionable. Regardless, this season is no longer about getting an extra win or even about “building momentum”. The focus should shift towards evaluating the roster and determining what the front office needs to do to make a serious push towards the postseason a year from now.

The schedule allows the Bengals to see what they have in Hakeem Adeniji

It’s difficult to get a read on Hakeem Adeniji at the moment. He’s had flashes of brilliance, such as a performance against the Pittsburg Steelers, where he drew the attention of recent Hall of Fame nominee, Willie Anderson. But he’s also had his fair share of rookie struggles, such as the second half against The Washington Football Team, where he was benched.

The Bengals need to determine which end of the spectrum he can play on consistently. The schedule allows for them to do just that.

The club has another matchup against the Steelers on the horizon, giving the rookie another chance against the best pass-rushing unit in the league. Not to mention, a game against the Baltimore Ravens will surely test the young bookend as well.

Cincinnati simply can’t enter next season with Bobby Hart as their starting right tackle, despite his uptick in performances as of recently. Armed with that information, they might as well see if they have an answer in Hakeem Adeniji.

Fans should be pounding the table for the rookie to continue getting starter reps, as it will help the decision-makers determine exactly the course of action they need to take to ensure Burrow never suffers a gruesome injury like the one witnessed a week ago.

Next. Four-round mock draft to address Cincinnati’s biggest needs. dark