With training camp just around the corner, the Cincinnati Bengals have a few battles to eye on special teams. Special teams is an underrated aspect of the game and can certainly be the determining factor in a close game.
The Bengals have Austin Seibert on their roster from a season ago and he’ll compete with rookie Evan McPherson for the kicker’s job. McPherson might be the favorite but the Bengals could be scarred by former kicker draft picks and a poor showing from McPherson this preseason could force them to go with Seibert.
At punter, Kevin Huber is the go-to guy but he’s only signed to a one-year deal. The Bengals brought in Drue Chrisman out of Ohio State as a UDFA and clearly liked what they saw from the local product. He’ll compete with Huber for the punter’s job but it’s probably Huber’s to lose considering his history with the organization.
Here’s the Cincinnati Bengals’ special teams depth chart entering training camp.
- Evan McPherson
- Austin Seibert
- Kevin Huber
- Drue Chrisman
- Clark Harris
- Brandon Wilson
- Darius Phillips
- Darius Phillips
- Trent Taylor
- Tyler Boyd
We mentioned the kicker and punter position battles briefly but let’s dive in a little more.
The Bengals took McPherson in the fifth round of this year’s draft and he was the only kicker selected, oddly enough. He nailed every extra-point attempt last year, going a perfect 52-of-52 for the Gators last year. He had a field goal percentage of 77.3, going 17-of-22, so there’s definitely some improvement to be made there.
Seibert has only spent time in the AFC North, kicking for the Browns for a year and a half before ending up in the Queen City in 2020. He went a perfect 8-of-8 on extra-point attempts and finished the season with a 75% completion mark on field-goal attempts. He was a fine kicker but the Bengals covered their tracks by bringing in competition for him.
Punting-wise, I mentioned Huber is the favorite to win the job. He’s entering his 13th year with the organization and there’s a reason he’s held onto the job for as long as he has. It’ll be tough for Chrisman to steal the job from him but the Bengals likely brought him in with the intent on rolling with him in 2022.
Harris will be the long snapper, as Dan Godsil — the only other long snapper on the roster — retired earlier this offseason. Harris is entering year No. 13 with the Bengals and year No. 14 overall.
The Bengals were dealt a nasty blow with the loss of Alex Erikson in free agency but they hope that Trent Taylor can fill that void on special teams as the return specialist. Wilson and Phillips will likely hold down the fort as the kick returners while Phillips, Taylor, and Tyler Boyd could handle the punt returning duties.
It’s always fun to watch the special teams’ battles unfold in training camp and this year will be no different for the Bengals. Who will come out on top?