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Thread: 3 players the Bengals need to step up in a big way in 2018

  1. #1

    3 players the Bengals need to step up in a big way in 2018

    3 players the Bengals need to step up in a big way in 2018


    John Ross continues to receive all the attention as we discuss Bengals who need to step up in 2018.

    By John Sheeran@John__Sheeran Jun 22, 2018, 7:00am EDT



    Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    In June, every NFL team is primed for a playoff run. No franchise is innocent from typical tropes pertaining to how much better their roster looks. And
    any player that hasn’t lived up to their draft status? Guess what, this is their year. They’re in much better shape than they were at this time last year.
    They’ve taken the new coaching well, you can count on that. Those distractions they had last season? Gone. Oh, they were injured for most of the
    season? Don’t fret, those ailments have completely healed.


    Every team has these stories with some of their players and the Bengals are no exception. The draft classes of 2016 and 2017 have looked more
    promising than the classes of 2014 and 2015 for Cincinnati. But there’s still a good amount of early-round selections who need to produce. Hopefully
    with past excuses and troubles behind them, here are three players who the Bengals most need to breakout this season.


    John Ross





    I’ve grown tired writing so much about John Ross not playing football last year. Rookie struggles almost always have to do with nagging injuries, or
    simply not impressing the coaching staff to get on the field. For Ross, it was both. Having dealt with a labrum injury suffered in the preseason, to then
    re-aggravating that same labrum a month later, Ross was never entirely healthy to kick off his career. He was shut down in December when it was
    revealed he was concealing the injury from never properly healing.


    Ross is the second-highest draft pick on the Bengals’ roster, behind only fellow receiver A.J. Green; there’s a couple reasons for that. For one, he has
    an elite trait in speed that is essentially unmatched in the league and was successful at a major college program because of more than just that. For
    another, the Bengals had a severe lack of verticality in their offense before Ross and they still were inept in that area without him last year.


    For the Bengals offense to progress from the deep rut they’ve been in for two years, getting faster and quicker on the boundary is paramount.
    Defenses can too easily game-plan to take away Green because they have nobody else at wide receiver who safeties have to fear. And when Green
    is being bracketed by a safety overtop, the Bengals’ entire passing game is strained. Ross’ presence can open defenses up and if he gets going, the
    narrative about how to contain the Bengals offense starts to shift.





    Expectations for rookie receivers are normally ambitious, as most first-year
    players don’t start their careers like Odell Beckham Jr. or JuJu Smith-Schuster unless the situation fits perfectly. But Ross has to be an even bigger
    long-term outlier
    if he wants to prove worthy of his draft slot having not recorded a single reception in his rookie year. Maintaining his health is the first
    big step for Ross; once he advances over that physical and mental hurdle, talent can begin manufacturing production and impact.


    Jake Fisher




    Perhaps the unluckiest player on the roster, Fisher’s career arc has been anything but traditional. Primarily a goal-line blocker in 2015, he was also
    used as an extra blocker aligned as a tight end and actually received five targets in his rookie year. Late that year, he was asked to change his
    number to 44 so he could be listed as a half-back and be a lead blocker in the backfield. A lot of the things Fisher was asked to do had little to do with
    being an offensive tackle.


    Things started to normalize in his second season as he was the designated swing-tackle behind Andrew Whitworth and Cedric Ogbuehi, and he was
    upgraded to starting right tackle when Ogbuehi mightily struggled. The first game where he received significant snaps at right tackle, he was used as
    a receiver and was the recipient of a 12-yard pass, but he fumbled right after it and injured himself, taking him out of the game.


    Fisher’s development had been stunted mightily and entering year three, he was expected to make the leap into full-time starter, but predictably was
    extremely inconsistent. To make matters worse, he developed an irregular heartbeat that eventually took him out of commission for the season and
    required surgery to repair.


    Now it’s year four and we still don’t know what the Bengals have in Fisher. We do know he’s now healthy and ready to play and he’s in a three-way
    competition at the right tackle spot. The good news for him is that just looking at the positive plays of his career, he looks like the best choice for the
    Bengals at that spot. Based off what new offensive line coach Frank Pollack prefers in his scheme, Fisher is also the team’s best option. They haven’t
    had consistent quality play on the right edge of the offensive line in three years, so just an average full season from Fisher would bring noticeable
    stability to a group that’s improved everywhere else on paper.


    Nick Vigil




    When you separate the three levels of the Bengals defense, the strengths in personnel clearly occupy the defensive line and secondary. In between
    them, there are more questions than answers with the linebackers. The ever-polarizing Vontaze Burfict is the constant headliner of the group, but it’s
    his running-mate in their nickel sub-packages under the spotlight here.


    No player’s performance on the Bengals defense may be more important than Nick Vigil to start the season. One of the many Bengals linebackers
    plagued by injuries last year, Vigil missed five games due to an ankle injury that clearly limited him when he was playing through it. Even when he
    was fully healthy, Vigil was unimpressive taking on blockers and lacked discipline as a run-defender. His athleticism would help him maneuver
    through traffic and make plays from time to time, but not enough to make up for his lapses.


    Now a year older with starting experience under his belt, he’ll be counted on to pick up the slack from Burfict’s absence during his latest suspension.
    Putting together a full year of solid play would take pressure off Burfict when he returns, not force Preston Brown onto the field on third down, and
    give the Bengals a sign that they’ve finally drafted and developed a linebacker worthy of a second contract.





    https://www.cincyjungle.com/2018/6/22/17486184/3-players-bengals-need-to-step-up-in-a-big-way-in-2018











  2. #2
    Read the thread title and immediately thought about Vigil. Laughed out loud when his picture loaded. Why? Not funny at all.

    Clean slate?

    Might as well make it two because Vigil AND Evans didn't give the Bengals much. Both are fast. Agile. Awful in coverage.

    Fisher seems to be the favorite to start at ORT. Not sure why. He's played as badly as Ogbuehi. And IMO the Bengals aren't guilty of misusing or stunting his development, as hinted at. Could even argue the opposite is true. Bengals creatively made sure Fisher was given early playing time. Had they waited for him to earn the ORT job outright he might never have played at all.

    I think Ross needs to make at least 40 catches this season. Failure would practically cement his bust status.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    Read the thread title and immediately thought about Vigil. Laughed out loud when his picture loaded. Why? Not funny at all.

    Clean slate?

    Might as well make it two because Vigil AND Evans didn't give the Bengals much. Both are fast. Agile. Awful in coverage.

    Fisher seems to be the favorite to start at ORT. Not sure why. He's played as badly as Ogbuehi. And IMO the Bengals aren't guilty of misusing or stunting his development, as hinted at. Could even argue the opposite is true. Bengals creatively made sure Fisher was given early playing time. Had they waited for him to earn the ORT job outright he might never have played at all.

    I think Ross needs to make at least 40 catches this season. Failure would practically cement his bust status.
    Agree on Ross but I think Evans might have something. He did look lost at times in coverage but he was a rookie - and you can see the athleticism there. He’s gotta get better but I think he can develop. And for a guy who had the rep in college as not being physical, he showed a lot more of it than Vigil did. Save for an occasional play, I haven’t seen much from Vigil to get excited about.

    Fisher, big question mark for sure but they didn’t do him any favors early by moving him around as a jumbo TE and other spots. Like Ced, he’s athletic but he doesn’t anchor well. At this point I’d pencil Hart in at RT. Not a ringing endorsement for Fisher but Hart, in contrast, has quite a bit of starting experience and Fisher hasn’t received a clean bill of health yet.

  4. #4
       
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    I thought Vigil was drafted specifically because they liked his coverage ability in college. Am I mistaken, or has that skill vanished at the pro level?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    I thought Vigil was drafted specifically because they liked his coverage ability in college. Am I mistaken, or has that skill vanished at the pro level?

    I think it's tough to say on Vigil and Evans just yet. At points they looked bad last year, but we also later found out that much of it had to do with miscommunications with the safeties on the responsibilities. I thought Evans and Vigil looked much better down the stretch once some of those communication issues were reportedly cleared up.

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