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elaine95
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Going in-depth and breaking down the Cincinnati Bengalslinebacking corps.The Cincinnati Bengals have seen big-time production from linebackers over their string of playoff berths to start this decade (prior to 2016 Color Rush Deshaun Davis Jersey , of course). However, the play of the unit was inconsistent a year ago. Thus, the team made moves to try and improve in that regard.Stuck in the quagmire of the NFL offseason, it’s the perfect moment to look at the roster and assess what’s at each position, how the unit came about and where they could go from here. We’ve gone through quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen and defensive linemen already.Article continues below ...We continue on the defensive side of the ball with the linebackers.Linebackers*Vontaze Burfict(101 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 INTs, 8 passes defensed)*Vincent Rey (86 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1INT, 7passes defensed)*Kevin Minter(81 tackles,3.5 sacks, 2passes defensed)Nick Vigil(21 tackles, 1 pass defensed)Marquis Flowers(7 tackles)Hardy Nickerson(N/A)Paul Dawson(N/A)Bryson Albright(N/A)Jordan Evans(N/A)Brandon Bell(N/A)<em>* = expected starter | 2016 statistics in parenthesis</em>In my eyes, there is no position group better on the Bengals roster this year than the linebacking corps. High praise to be sure, especially with the moves made to fix the wide receiver and defensive line groups. But while those groups could soon become better this area sets itself apart with thealready-proven abilities of its top players.Start with the leader of the pack.For all the character troubles a player like Burfict brings into the fold, his on-field accomplishments are inscrutable. Since being picked up as an undrafted free agent (almost exclusively because of those aforementioned character concerns) by these Bengals in 2012, he’s consistently been one of the league’s best linebackers.More from NFL Spin ZoneBuffalo Bills: Who will back up LeSean McCoy in 2017?17m agoDallas Cowboys: 5 Most important offensive players for 201713h agoKansas City Chiefs: Stat prediction for defensive stars16h agoPittsburgh Steelers: Keion Adams hopes to find a place on defense17h agoNew York Giants: Davis Webb will be backup before the end of 201718h agoThree of his five seasons have seen him rack up 100+ tackles, including leading the NFL in that measure in 2013. Across 58 regular season games, he’s garnered eight-or-more tackles in37 of them. In 22 of them, he reached double digits. He’s broken up at least five passes three different times, and been directly responsible for recovering 10 turnovers (five fumble recoveries, five interceptions) in that time. This is someone offenses must plan around busting up their plays.Rey hasn’t been on Burfict’s level, but he’s had some good seasons with the team. His play in 2013 gave them reason enough to keep him around long-term, and 2016 made it clear to them he could manage fairly well in a bigrole. Per Pro Football Focus’ grading metrics Ryan Glasgow Jersey , his coverage grade last year was the best not only among Cincinnati’s linebackers but on their entire roster. In fact, when considering all defensive players with 500+ snaps in the league, hewas in the top 30 for coverage grade last season.Minter is the one to watch most, however. He is what gives this group hope for taking things to another level. While Burfict and Rey are the established players at the position, what they had been getting from their other starter in the past was abysmal.Rey Maualuga was an entrenched starter here since this decade began, but his performances didn’t exactly make him a good choice for the job. While some of his seasons were on the high end of average, many were deep in the depths of terrible. Four times he rated under 50 in PFF’s overall grading (twice he was below 40). His 2012 was one of the worst graded for any player at any position ever in their database (28.4), and 2016 was nearly as bad for him (38.2). He was a spotlighted weakness every single snap, and held onto a spot with the team for far too long.Minter doesn’t have a long track record of success himself (2016 was his first positively-graded yearin fourtotal seasons), but part of that comes from lack of opportunity. The Cardinals defense he left was stacked during his career there, so there often wasn’t much of a role for him.2015 was his first time with significant action, and though he struggled that year the experience gained in the starting lineup clearly helped last year. After PFF graded his 2015 season with a 40.5, he rose all the way up to an 81.0 in about the same number of snaps.Assuming that was the beginning of a trend for him, the Burfict/Rey/Minter combination looks to be as good as any starting linebacker group the NFL has to offer.This isn’t a perfect position group by any means, however.Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) reacts after sacking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the third quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsA big reason why is their best player. Burfict’scharacter problems that concerned so many have shown up way too often unfortunately, keeping him from being as highly regarded as his play itself should allow.He’s lost significant money and games to fines and suspensions for ugly, unnecessary plays in every year outside his rookie season. Just look at this list:2013: spears the Jet’s Stephen Hill; $21,000fine2014: caught twisting the ankles of both Cam Newton and Greg Olsen versus the Carolina Panthers; $25,000 fine2015: multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in a regular season game against Pittsburgh; $69,454 fine2016: defenseless receiver helmet-to-helmet hit on Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown in the 2015 playoffs; three-game suspension to start 2016 ($502,941 in lost salary)2016: Purposefully steps on New England’s LeGarrette Blount; $75,000 fine2016: Flips off the Buffalo crowd; $12,154 fineThat’s three games and $693,395 lost due to his infractions. One or maybe two of the lesser penalties over a four-year stretch would be one thing, but this is a clear pattern of terrible decision-making (and often downright dirty play) over his entire career. Spearing a guy in a split-second decision is one thing. Stepping on guys, twisting ankles, and picking up numerous unsportsmanlike penalties in a single game take an actual concerted amount of thought and time — and he’s done all of that and more.He’s more than earned the dirty label that’s stuck on him Cheap Deshaun Davis Jersey , and it hurts not only his wallet and personal reputation, but his team too. Multiple times there’s beenfree yardage given away in games because of his actions, and at the least it has costhis team a playoff win in that time. That hit on Brown made me question if I can even keep watching this sport, and I know I wasn’t alone in that sentiment.More from NFL Spin Zone5/31 – Buffalo Bills: Who will back up LeSean McCoy in 2017?5/30 – Dallas Cowboys: 5 Most important offensive players for 20175/30 – Kansas City Chiefs: Stat prediction for defensive stars5/30 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Keion Adams hopes to find a place on defense5/30 – New York Giants: Davis Webb will be backup before the end of 2017Unless he cleans up his act (which, based on picking up $87,154 in fines last year, doesn’t seem likely), these antics will eventually push the team too far and be subsequently removed.For different reasons, the long-term isn’t set for either of the other projected starters.Though they are coming off strong 2016 performances, neitherRey norMinter have a long history of good play. Per PFF, Rey has only graded out well twice in six years; Minter just one in four.Looking at just years with a larger sample size doesn’t help either much at all. In three years with at least half the team’s defensive snaps, Rey has only one positively graded outcome. In two years for Minter, he’s got just one.That’s risky on its own, butthen you look at the contract situations. Neither is onerous this season (Rey: $3.25 million; Minter: $4.25 million), but that will immediately begin to change after this year. Minter is on a one-year deal, and a good year will push the currently26-year old’s contract into a higher bracket as he enters his prime. Meanwhile, Rey is under contract for next year as of now, but it has a potential out.Though that may sound promising, there are multiple bad paths for this to follow. If he does poorly in 2017, the team can move on from him seamlessly, but that leaves a starter spot vacated. If he does well, he’s just a season away from definitely hitting free agency. That leaves the Bengals needing to eitherletting him go with possibly no replacement anyway, or having to pony up a sizablechunk of money for the31-year old. To this point, Rey has shown to be inconsistent from season to season, so the prospect of committing significant cash on him doesn’t sound appealing even before you account for his advancing age.On a positive note, moves made already could help dash those worries as the team moves forward.Vigil didn’t produce well in limited 2016 snaps, but his NFL.com draft profile showed a player who piled up production (267 total tackles, including 30 tackles for loss) and was quality in coverage. As he continues to add weight and power to his body, he could prove himself worth a bigger role.Flowers was formerly a safety in college, and his speed and movement in space make for another capable coverage guy if things work in his favor. He’s another guy who projected as needing additional bulkcoming in and offered little outside his abilities in space Hardy Nickerson Jersey , but if his weaknesses were deemed to hefty to overcome the team likely would’ve moved on from him by now.Dawson’s character concerns from college seem to have followed him into the league, and have already gotten him cut from the roster once. Still, that high-end production he showed is hard to turn away from (hence why he eventually was brought back). As with the others, coverage ability is a strength, and purely based on skill-set he may be the best of these current backups. If he ever gets his head on straight, he could easily snare a starting role — and deservedly so.Should none of these previous guys pan out, this year’s draft pick Evans profiles much the same athletically and skill-set wise. His play speed and coverage chops should keep him around while he works on fixing his issues (namely: play strength and consistency as a tackler).Next: Cincinnati Bengals: Why they aren’t an elite franchiseThere may not be many concrete answers beyond this season for the Bengals linebacking corps, but the now is set up for success while future is rife with numerous intriguing possibilities.Realistically, you can’t ask for much more.This article originally appeared on It’s official: The Bengals want McCoy." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteCincy Junglea Cincinnati Bengals communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsSectionsLibraryBengalsOddsAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections #BITESIZEFilm RoomRoster Transactions and ContractsOrange & Black InsiderSalary Cap And CBAFiled under:NFL NewsBengals NewsReport: Bengals have interest in DT Gerald McCoyNew,76commentsIt’s official: The Bengals want McCoy.EDTShareTweetShareShareReport: Bengals have interest in DT Gerald McCoyKim Klement-USA TODAY SportsAfter mutual parting ways with the Buccaneers, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has recently hit the open market, and has reportedly interest a good amount of teams.Apparently, the Bengals are one of them. However, without much free agency activity over the years, the Bengals certainly aren’t the favorite for McCoy.ESPN’s Dianna Russini first broke the news of the Bengals’ plans to target McCoy.McCoy, the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, has already put together an illustrious career. With 54.5 sacks, McCoy still likely has a few good years left in him. He turned 31-years-old just a few months ago. On the open market, McCoy will likely be overvaluing himself. He won’t be getting the $13 million that he was supposed to receive in Tampa Bay. But, being an above average option at the all-important 3-technique position, he’ll certainly draw interest from all over the league. The Bengals are just one of the teams that may consider McCoy. He’s reportedly also intrigued by the Browns and may visit Cleveland prior to making a decision. That said, it’d already be difficult for Cincinnati to compete with the AFC North’s favorite Cleveland.With Geno Atkins on one side of the line along with five others defensive tackles under contract, all with under five years of experience, the Bengals could use the experience of McCoy. Being in the league nine seasons, McCoy has been on a winning team just two times. Playing all his years in Tampa Bay, the Bucs haven’t proven to be a successful franchise, so maybe it’s a good thing they cut McCoy. The Bengals may not be a better option for McCoy in terms of potential success, but he’ll definitely be valued on a defense that allowed the second-most yards and points last season. Among other things, they could use the help on the line. Much of the Bengals interest will ultimately depend on the price tag.

20-01-2020 20:29
   
PhillipAbram
Illuminatian Vacuumist

Registered: 28-09-2019
Posts: 462
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06-01-2021 09:18
   
PhillipAbram
Illuminatian Vacuumist

Registered: 28-09-2019
Posts: 462
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PhillipAbram
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Registered: 28-09-2019
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PhillipAbram
Illuminatian Vacuumist

Registered: 28-09-2019
Posts: 462
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19-01-2021 06:39
   
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