2014 Depth Chart: Cincinnati Bengals
[Chart last updated: 7/2/14… see update notes from 7/2/14]
• So just how average is Andy Dalton? The answer – not very average at all – in fact the only thing that is remotely average about him is where his grade finally settles at the end of the year after bouncing about like a rubber ball all season. Indeed, it’s been a trait with him since his rookie year and, if anything, the peaks and troughs are becoming more pronounced. This year his top four games netted him a +21.9 while his worst four graded -18.5.
• I’m just guessing here but I assume most people’s issue with this depth chart will be the lack of an “elite” grade for A.J. Green. As receivers go he’s as physically talented as anyone not named Calvin Johnson but he doesn’t always play to that level and his 11 dropped passes indicates a lack of concentration, not dodgy hands. Another thing to note is that no WR had as many passes thrown at him intercepted (12). Now some of that is clearly on Dalton, but all too often it’s easy to blame the quarterback when the receiver has run the wrong route. Just have a look back and see how you’d attribute blame on each.
• Khaled has a view that Danieal Manning has been brought in to start, but I’m not so sure. As much as I like Manning I think his best position is playing deep, not letting anything get behind him and making sure tackles. Last year, with the Texans ill-judged decision to bring in Ed Reed to play that role, it brought Manning much closer to the line of scrimmage and he looked far less comfortable. The Bengals (at least in Zimmer’s system) like to play both safeties interchangeably and the current incumbents (Reggie Nelson and George Iloka) both seem better suited to that than Manning.
With Kyle Cook now released, some feel Mike Pollack will be used as center but I feel he’s more guard cover, particularly with Clint Boling recovering from a late season ACL. Pollack has only played 14 snaps at center in the NFL and although Trevor Robinson has never done anything so far to win the job, it could well come down to him and fourth-round draftee Russell Bodine for the honour.
2. Strongside Linebacker
Although I’d like to see Vincent Rey given a chance to make the middle linebacker position his own I think the Bengals are too invested in Rey Maualuga (emotionally if not financially) to make so radical a change. However, they know what they have in Rey now so this position makes some sense. That said, Jayson DiManche will also be given a shot to compete but I think this is Rey’s to lose.
3. Left Cornerback
Since Dallas let Terence Newman go he’s played better than either of his replacements and his late season slump in 2011 with that team looks like something of a blip. However, playing better than both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne (on current form) doesn’t scream Pro Bowl and he is 35. Darqueze Dennard is the heir apparent and the only question now is will that be this year or next? Obviously training camp will be key and the need to avoid another Dre’ Kirkpatrick scenario paramount.
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