The Cincinnati Bengals' 2023 season has been a letdown. Fans came into the season expecting a Super Bowl championship and anything else would have been viewed as a disappointment.
Now that Joe Burrow is done for the year, this team isn't going anywhere meaningful this season. Sure, they can collect a high draft pick and get an easier schedule for next year but there won't be a Super Bowl parade in downtown Cincinnati this February and that's a massive bummer for these fans who felt like this was the year.
Even before Burrow got injured, however, there were just aspects of this team that felt off. These five players that I'm about to discuss have been pretty frustrating to watch this season. Full disclosure: This doesn't include players we were iffy about in the past that have performed poorly, so Cordell Volson will not be included. These are players we had somewhat high expectations for. Let's dive in.
5. Germaine Pratt
Germaine Pratt was a huge piece of the Bengals' defense last season, so it was a no-brainer decision for the team to try and keep him in the stripes for 2023 and beyond. Pratt signed a three-year deal with the Bengals worth $20.2 million with a potential out in 2024.
What made Pratt such an important member of the defense last year was his ability to force key turnovers and make big plays in critical moments of the game. In the Bengals' late regular-season win over the Patriots, the Bengals offense couldn't do anything in the second half but the defense continued to hold onto the lead and Pratt forced a huge fumble that cemented the win for Cincinnati.
While Pratt has forced turnovers this year, his missed tackles have been an issue and his overall numbers are down. In 2022, Pratt finished the season with an overall PFF grade of 80.6 with a coverage grade of 90.1. This year, those grades are down to 53.7 and 48.6 respectively.
Pratt was such a crucial member of this team a season ago so the decision to re-sign him was a wise one but he hasn't looked like the same player he was last year.