Injuries are a part of the NFL season and the Cincinnati Bengals know this all too well. Every team has to deal with this part of football but as a fan, it always sucks when you see a major part of your team go down with an apparent injury. When these injuries happen, teams must adapt to remain successful on all fronts. The Bengals lost D.J. Reader in the game against the Jets this past Sunday and Kelsey Conway reported that he'll be out for a while.
The loss of Reader should cause some concern across fans as he is one of the best-run stuffers in the NFL, but at the same time, it gives other guys such as Zachary Carter, B.J Hill, and Josh Tupou to get more snaps at the defensive tackle position. This should also excite fans as guys like Carter have so much potential being first-year players. I'm positive he will make the most of this opportunity and show why he was selected when he was in the draft this off-season.
Losing Reader also means that the Bengals will likely become more creative in their defensive schemes sending blitzes from the secondary players and linebackers. The defense will likely look very different without the big body of Reader stuffing the middle as he does best but that doesn't mean it won't still be effective against the opposing team.
D.J. Reader will be hard for Bengals to replace
Expect the outside pass rushers to step up in a big way also as they know as a unit that the loss of Reader isn't something that can be overlooked. Look for Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard to step up in a big way also. The NFL is and has always been a next-man-up mentality so the Bengals players are prepared for this already.
Players such as Logan Wilson, Jessie Bates III, Von Bell, and Germaine Pratt will all have to step up in a big way to contain the run while also remaining dominant in coverage every snap. The fact that they have a short week before playing Miami on Thursday means limited time to practice without having Reader in the lineup.
Lou Anarumo said in a press conference after the game that they are focusing on not letting them be explosive and "we can't let these guys get over our heads". so it seems he is more worried about the combination of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle down the field. This means that Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, and Eli Apple will have their work cut out for them during this Thursday's game. The Bengals will be looking to keep the Dolphins out of the end zone which they have been doing pretty well this year only allowing 55 points, good for the seventh-fewest in the NFL.
The Bengals are not lacking depth in his position either so there is no real need for him to rush back until he is deemed fully healthy once again. As all Bengal fans know, D.J. Reader at full health is a scary sight for all opposing players.