How Devin Asiasi and Trey Hendrickson can lead Bengals to victory in Week 3

Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots tight end Devin Asiasi (86)
Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots tight end Devin Asiasi (86) / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After an 0-2 start to the season, the Cincinnati Bengals need several people to step up. Devin Asiasi and Trey Hendrickson are two of the most important names to watch for Week 3's matchup against the Jets.

How Devin Asiasi can lead Bengals to victory

An under-the-radar breakout player on the offense is Devin Asiasi. The Bengals, specifically Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan, still insist on blocking defensive ends with tight ends. It would help if they did so with guys who can or have shown that they are consistently capable of doing so. Asiasi might be their best option for this. 

Unfortunately, he has been dealing with a quad injury but if he is healthy and available to play, he will get to show off all parts of his game. Pass-blocking versus defensive ends is particularly interesting for the coaching staff and the fanbase. 

Drew Sample’s ability to block is largely overstated regarding what this incarnation of the Bengals needs from their tight ends. A lot of guys can look good on Twitter run blocking. However, it is another animal for pass-blocking NFL pass rushers one-on-one. Cincinnati’s tight ends have struggled mightily in this area for four years. 

Asiasi, coming out of college in the 2020 draft, was a great blend of receiving and blocking. Perhaps the best in that particular class. If he can offer a bit of an upgrade in just this one area, that would more than justify the Bengals claiming him off waivers. Throw in a catch or two, and the team has found gold. 

You should not expect Asiasi to have 11 catches for 115 yards. It is not sexy, but he can significantly affect the game and the Bengals' offense by simply being a better pass blocker from the tight end position than we have seen over the past four years. Unfortunately, we do not always notice when it goes right, be we know the consequences for when it goes wrong can be game-changing. 

Trey Hendrickson 

Trey Hendrickson is a worthy breakout candidate on the defensive side of the ball but this is not just for the narrative reason of “he’s due.” That is one reason. Hendrickson is sackless in the first two games. The third time is a charm. If he is going to get back to his 14 sacks of a year ago, this would be an excellent week to go off. 

However, on the field, we should expect Hendrickson to have a decided advantage over Jets left tackle George Fant. Fant was limited in practice this week. Even at 100%, it would be challenging for him to hold up an entire game against Hendrickson. New York did a lot of double-teaming with the tight end on his side last week. They will have to do more of the same if they want to keep Hendrickson away from Joe Flacco. 

Furthermore, the Jets’ right tackle, rookie fourth-round pick Max Mitchell was also far from perfect against the Browns. Sam Hubbard should be able to take advantage of that matchup as well. Towards the end of the game against Cleveland, the Jets spent most of the time helping both tackles. 

Yes, the Jets came back to win in spectacular fashion against the Browns. But there are advantages to be gained versus their offensive line. 

If Fant does not play, the Hendrickson will have an even more considerable decided advantage over whoever the Jets’ third-string left tackle is.

New York also had their share of issues in their Week 1 contest against the Ravens when they gave up three sacks and 19 pressures.

The duress Flacco was under obviously played a big role in their defeat to Baltimore. 

If the Bengals can get pressure on Flacco early, that will open up a lot of things for everyone on defense. But it is going to start with Hendrickson. Pressure is also necessary because even with shaky pass protection, Flacco is putting up good numbers overall even with shaky pass protection.

Hopefully, the game against the Jets is a breakout game for both Asiasi and Hendrickson and the win column. 

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