With Nate Clements in a walking boot, Leon Hall nursing a hammy, Jason Allen down-again! and Dre Kirkpatrick still out, the Bengals had an alarming lack of depth in the secondary. The only healthy corners as of this writing are Adam Jones and Terence Newman.
So, when considering the alternatives (none), the Bengals brought back safety Chris Crocker. They made room for him by cutting another guy that’s been healthy for an hour and a half this year, TE Donald Lee.
I don’t know about you, but I have serious mixed feelings on this one. Letting go of Crocker was the right move in January. The guy whiffed big time in the playoffs, and he has some chronically bad knees. Nonetheless, he is experienced, healthy (right now), and knows Zimmer’s system. In all actuality, he may even start this Sunday opposite Reggie Nelson at strong safety.
And it may not be the worst thing in the world. The middle of the Bengals defense has been the problem. Everything behind Geno Atkins has been ugly. Maualuga’s struggles at the Mike Backer are well-publicized at this point, and Taylor Mays and Jeromy Miles have been hot and cold at best behind him. Crocker, though mediocre, may supply some much-needed stability in the back end until Clements can get back on the field. The fact that he hasn’t been placed on IR yet seems to indicate he’ll be back soon.
As for Lee, it’s a shame he’s gone. He made some solid plays when he was healthy. It’s been speculated by some already though, that the Bengals could bring him back once these other positions stabilize.
With BJGE now wearing number 42, Crocker will don the #33 jersey.