FanPost

Key to the game: Replacing MJ with Rucker

I had the privilege of going to the game at Jacksonville (which was 2/3 full at best and there may have been a hundred Bengals fans total) and came away with one major conclusion:  Michael Johnson is horrible against the run.  I don't know what was shown on TV, but during the Jags' first drive, I saw MJ get blown off the line at least three times as Jones-Drew ran all over them, primarily to our right side.

After that initial drive, we of course did a good job stopping the run.  And I can only think of one major reason, which was the move to play Rucker at DE in place of MJ for the remaining first and second downs of the game.  With Geathers on the opposite side, those two pretty much contained the Jags running attack and forced Gabbert to throw the ball.  Only on third downs did I see MJ come in.

Not that this was a surprise to me, since this is what I always thought of MJ as.  But I felt yesterday proved he is really only a third down pass-rushing specialist and will continue to be a liability as a starter (assuming he does).  I'm now actually interested in seeing who will be starting at right DE from now on.

The perplexing thing to me is Dunlap and why he doesn't play more.  He garners a lot of praise about his pass rushing ability, but I think he's equally as stout against the run.  With his long arms and size, he's able to create separation with offensive linemen which allows him to see the direction of the ball carrier without giving up ground.

To me, the ideal DE tandem would be Geathers and Dunlap with MJ replacing Geathers on third downs.  Then maybe replace Dunlap with Rucker on short yardage situations.  Only issue is Geathers and Dunlap are used to playing the left side, so one of them would have to make an adjustment.  In any case, I hope I don't see MJ on first and second downs anymore.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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