Bengals coordinator has brutal remark toward players on roster bubble
As training camp gets underway, all eyes point towards players on the roster bubble. Cincinnati Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons didn’t mince his words when speaking about those who find themselves in that position.
Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have no shortage of storylines to look out for during the team’s ongoing training camp. Between the Jessie Bates III holdout, the right guard position battle, and Joe Burrow’s untimely appendix surgery, there’s plenty to keep an eye on. Thanks to a comment from special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, how the backend of the Bengals’ wide receiver room shakes out can be added to that list.
Simmons had this to say about wide receivers Pooka Williams and Kwamie Lassiter II during his media availability,
"“I told Pooka and I told Kwamie the same thing, the only way you’re going to be on this team is you’re going to be punt returner. That’s your only chance to be on the team. “"
That’s putting it bluntly, to say the least, but spending 19 years in Cincinnati and holding the title of the Bengals’ longest-tenured coach has earned Simmons the right to speak with some certainty, it appears.
Bengals ST coordinator Darrin Simmons doesn’t hold back
If you break down the roster numbers, Simmons’ comment makes a lot of sense. Typically, the Bengals keep around 6-7 wide receivers on the initial 53-man roster. The top three spots are already locked up, with arguably the most dynamic trio in the league, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd manning those positions.
One would think special teams standouts Stanley Morgan and Mike Thomas have the upper hand for the next two spots. Morgan has been praised by both his coaches and teammates on numerous occasions and it’s impossible to overlook his ability to block on the perimeter. Thomas has been an ace in his own right, having played in head coach Zac Taylor’s scheme for a number of years now and holding down one of the gunner spots on the punt team.
That leaves only one to two spots in the Bengals’ receiver room up for grabs. After a flurry of fumbled punts during the 2021 season, finding a viable punt returner will rank highly in terms of importance for the coaching staff. That leads us back to Simmons’ original comment. If either Williams or Lassiter want to be on the 53-man roster, they’ll need to prove they can return punts reliably.