Offense drives interest in the NFL, but I find myself more and more intrigued by the defense that this team is putting together. I’m not completely sold on all parts of it yet, but I am more comfortable with it than I was a month ago. Plus, the strength of the line should help cover some of the flaws in the secondary.
Let’s take another stab at how the defensive roster might shape up.
|DEFENSIVE ROSTER PROJECTION #2|
|Pos||Starter||Backup||Practice Squad||Miss The Team|
|CB1||Leon Hall||Dre Kirkpatrick||Shaun Prater||Nate Clements|
|CB2||Jason Allen||Brandon Ghee|
|CB3||Adam Jones||Terence Newman|
|FS||Reggie Nelson||Jeromy Miles||Tony Dye||Robert Sands|
|SS||Taylor Mays||George Iloka|
|SLB||Manny Lawson||Dan Skuta||Dontay Moch||Vincent Rey
|MLB||Rey Maualuga||Vontaze Burfict|
|WLB||Thomas Howard||Roddrick Muckelroy||Emmanuel Lamur|
|LDE||Carlos Dunlap||Robert Geathers||Derrick Harvey|
|LDT||Domata Peko||Pat Sims
|RDT||Geno Atkins||Devon Still||Nick Hayden|
|RDE||Michael Johnson||Jamaal Anderson|
Some thoughts and questions:
DL: The Bengals usually carry 8 DL. Unless they are willing to go with just 3 DEs (not happening), they will be forced to carry 9 this year. I don’t see a hybrid DE/DT, and the only two PS candidates (Still and Thompson) would be signed off of the PS in a hot minute by another team. I think they will see enough from Anderson once he is allowed to hit at camp that they will want to keep him anyway.
LB: Keeping an extra DL forces the team to go a man light at another spot, and I’m guessing it is at LB. Skuta is reported to be giving Manny Lawson a real challenge to start at the SAM spot, and Emmanual Lamur’s name continues to pop up in interviews which makes him a strong PS candidate. How patient are you willing to be with Moch, given his now official 4-game suspension?
CB: I was skeptical of Clements not making the team because of concerns over salary or skills, as some speculated early in the offseason. But I have real concerns over his health. He was hardly available to participate in OTAs and minicamp. With Ghee slowly coming around, I envision him finally beginning to come around and pushing Clements for the last spot in the backfield.
Could you make up for the extra DL by going with one less man in the secondary, passing on both Clements and Ghee? How much better do you think the team has made its pass defense over last season in exchanging Kelly Jennings for Jason Allen and Terence Newman?
S: Mike Zimmer believes strongly in Taylor Mays. I trust Mike Zimmer. But boy do I hope he is right because I cannot help but wonder. If he is right, they will have an even tougher run defense to go with an improved pass defense. But if he is wrong, they are going to have a huge hole in the secondary for at least half of a season.