4 reasons the Bengals special teams unit will be top of the pack in 2022
By Ty Robbins
The Cincinnati Bengals’ special team unit improved mightily in 2021 and should be even better in 2022. In fact, it could be the best special teams unit in the entire league.
Special teams hugely impacted the Cincinnati Bengals‘ run to the Super Bowl last season. If not for the consistent play of the special team’s players, one could even argue that the Bengals would most likely be at home watching someone else play in the game.
Unlike most years, longtime special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons has some tough decisions to make during the preseason. Coach Simmons has been with the team for 19 years and has seen talent come and go, but this is slightly different. There will be longtime veterans challenged and pushed to be the best versions of themselves, or they could be on the outside looking in.
Let’s take a look at why this unit could be vying for the top spot in 2022.
All stats and rankings courtesy of ESPN
Shooter McPherson is a stud
Last year’s fifth-round draft pick, kicker Evan McPherson was a sensation at the kicking game. McPherson finished the regular season with an 85% field goal completion rate and a 96% extra point completion rate. If that wasn’t enough to impress you, he also made an extraordinary 12 field goals of 50-plus yards.
If that still wasn’t impressive enough, he did not miss a field goal attempt in the playoffs helping to lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance. What sets McPherson apart from others is his confidence level and ability to shake off a lousy kick and not let it affect the rest of the season.
At 22 years old, McPherson was the youngest player to win Special Teams Player of the week not once but twice during the season. On the Pat McAfee Show, McAfee explained that what makes McPherson so unique is his ability to get the ball through the net so fast and with such power that things do not affect the kick as much. He makes for an absolute weapon to have on the sidelines.
So, what now, considering he’s done so much as a rookie?
Honestly, McPherson just needs to tweak a few minor adjustments and rest that supersonic leg.