The Cincinnati Bengals are now exiting their bye week after starting the year at 3-3. They have the second-toughest remaining schedule in the NFL, behind only the Miami Dolphins, and Cincinnati will see the 49ers this upcoming Sunday. They'll then follow that up with a Sunday night showdown against the Buffalo Bills.
It's time for the Bengals to start letting loose and removing the leashes off of some of the younger players. Many have started to show glimpses of consistent production in each of the first six weeks, but many are still seeing minimal usage.
So far, there have been many question marks across the board, and it may be time for some newer, more prominent players to receive more time than they've been. Between the overall numbers and visual production, there are some obvious glaring holes that could be fixed. Here are three Bengals who deserve more playing time after the bye week.
All player personnel courtesy of Pro Football Reference*
3. Jordan Battle
The former Alabama product was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The original intent would be that he would take minimal snaps behind newcomer Nick Scott and former first-round pick Daxton Hill while he learns and gets adjusted to the NFL style of play.
However, with some poor play by Scott, we've seen Battle's usage rate rise, and it should only continue to grow. Scott has already allowed 13 receptions in solo coverage and has one of the lowest PFF grades on the Bengals' defense at 40.5. Yet, Scott sees over 80% of the defensive snaps while Battle is still below 15%
Nick Scott has been targeted 18 times throughout the Bengals' first six games, and as I mentioned, has already given up 13 receptions. This means when in coverage, Scott is being beaten by the wide receiver more often than not.
It is important to note that the time and place of this reception matter. Are they checkdowns? Late in the game? Early in the game? Do they happen in crucial moments of the game? All of these things should be considered when reading deeply into certain statistics.
Battle was a long-time starter for Nick Saban and the Alabama defense where he racked up 251 total tackles and six interceptions, He produced at high volume and has shown moments of his experience and skillset for Cincinnati, but he just hasn't seen full-time role-splitting snaps with Scott, which needs to be altered moving forward.