The Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Chicago Bears in Week 2 by a score of 20-17. While it was a frustrating loss, three players showed that they’re heading in the right direction. On the other hand, three players had a rough game and saw their stock taking a hit as a result.
Let’s jump right in to the players trending up and the players who find themselves trending down.
Trending Up: D.J. Reader
Shortly after the 2020 season concluded, Stripe Hype’s Alex Austin wrote about how the Bengals could expect to see their run defense improve with a healthy D.J. Reader in the lineup. Jack Lane of Stripe Hype discussed the role that Reader could play this year and mentioned how effective he’d be in the run game.
The Bengals run defense was putrid last year but Reader was injured for a large portion of the season. This year, however, he’s been healthy through two games and showed what kind of impact he can make.
To this point, Reader has totaled six tackles and a sack while also making his presence felt upfront. It’s hard not to be impressed with Reader and what he’s brought to the defense through just the first two games.
Trending Down: Joe Burrow
It’s difficult to put too much blame on Joe Burrow considering how badly his offensive line has looked and how conservative the play-calling has been through two games. But, at the end of the day, when a quarterback doesn’t get the job done, the blame falls on his shoulders and that’s the nature of the position.
Burrow has thrown for 468 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions in the first two weeks of the season. All three of those interceptions came in the loss to the Bears and not only that but they happened on back-to-back-to-back throws. Yeah, not a great day for Burrow.
In Burrow’s defense, he hasn’t had much protection upfront to make those big throws that Bengals fans have been clamoring for. While I understand Zac Taylor’s hesistance in calling plays that could result in a hard hit on Burrow, it’s going to be hard to win games if he’s not able to do what made him a No. 1 overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner.