Even though the Green Bay Packers have the second worst passing defense in the NFL, they have picked off more passes (23) than any other team in the league. The Bengals are almost the exact opposite. They have the 10th best pass defense in the league but they are tied with the Vikings and Browns with the second least amount of interceptions (six) in the league.
That's not good enough for Mike Zimmer and during practice on Thursday, the Bengals defensive coordinator threatened to start benching people if they don't start creating more turnovers.
"I’m going to start changing out guys if they don’t start doing it," Zimmer said. "I’m going to tell them that today. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of guys getting balls caught on us. No interceptions. Instead of not seeing anything, I’ll just change out guys. I’m just tired of guys getting balls caught on them."
Last year the Bengals intercepted 16 passes (14th in the league), in 2009 the they intercepted 19 (ninth in the league), and in 2008 they intercepted 12 (21st in the league). This year they're on pace for a franchise low eight interceptions.
Losing Johnathan Joseph to the Texans in free agency and Leon Hall to Injured Reserve hasn't helped the Bengals accumulate more interceptions, and now that Nate Clements is missing games and practices with a hamstring injury, the team's secondary is even weaker. Luckily Adam Jones seems to be healthy again.
Zimmer is going to have to find the right combination of players in the secondary to help create more turnovers. Maybe this is an empty threat and maybe it means that players like Brandon Ghee, Taylor Mays and Gibril Wilson will see more playing time.
Either way, it's clear that the Bengals are going to have to figure out a way to shore up their secondary before the 2012 season kicks off.