Jessie Bates will need to lead the defensive unit
In their primetime showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati’s defense got off to a slow start. In the first half, the defense did not look the same as in previous weeks and it was noticeable that the Bengals were without their best defender in Jessie Bates, the star safety.
Bates’ absence was clear since the defense did not look as cohesive and together as usual. Good adjustments were made by Lou Anarumo and the defensive staff at halftime, which played a part in the Bengals’ come-from-behind win.
Against Rodgers, the defense cannot get off to a slow start again. Fortunately, Bates seems on track to return from the neck injury that held him out Thursday night. This will help Cincinnati’s run support and playmaking in the secondary of course with Bates being one of the NFL’s elite safeties. It was simply evident the defense missed Bates’ leadership against Jacksonville.
Rodgers and a potent passing attack led by Davante Adams is always tough for any defense. Just like Burrow has his opportunity, the defense can prove to any doubters they are a top ten defense in the NFL. If that’s to happen, Rodgers will have to be slowed down.
Bates as a player is fantastic, consistently flying around the field and making plays. However, this week could be more telling about him as a leader and getting this unit ready for a huge game defending their home field. He can prove again, the Bengals must extend Bates this offseason.