4 significant questions for the Bengals tight ends this season

  • What to expect
  • Third-stringer
  • Pass-protection
  • Passing on draft prospects

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tanner Hudson (87) completes a catch as Green Bay Packers safety
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tanner Hudson (87) completes a catch as Green Bay Packers safety / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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What to expect in pass protection

Much to our and Joe Burrow’s chagrin, Zac Taylor’s offense sometimes leaves a tight end one-on-one versus an edge rusher in pass protection. This is not ideal, but it happens. 

Keeping Burrow upright is a major concern. There is a lot of consternation out of the Bengals’ training camp regarding the pass-protection abilities of the running backs. This is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of a tight end’s game, especially for a team with a history of attempting to block edge rushers with a tight end. 

This subject is a hot topic when discussing running backs, whereas it should be just as vigorously debated for tight ends. 

Is there a guy on the roster who can be relied on in that area? Nick Bowers performed well in that department in his limited snaps in the preseason opener. Maybe more snaps are in store for him in the next game.

We might not see Smith play in the preseason, so we will not know how well he will perform in that area. Sample showed the potential to do well in that role, but can he do it consistently?

Excellent pass blockers like Brayden Willis and Darnell Washington were passed on in the draft. Let’s hope that if the offense is put in a position to have a tight end pass block a defensive end, Smith and Sample will be up to that particular task.