While the regular season isn't 100% over, we certainly know enough about the 2012 Bengals to see how things are different than a year ago. Using the participation data, there are a few interesting tidbits that I thought I'd share:
1. We've played way more corners than safeties this year (+57% CB, -53% S). This should be pretty obvious based on the unsuccessful starting career of Taylor Mays and the heavy influx of corners to the team.
2. Our "front 7" has not played as much as last year. LB play decreased slightly (-5%) as did DE (-10%), but our DT's have played more (+3%). The net is -11% which shows we've been in more nickel and dime coverages this year.
3. We play more WR (+16%) than RB/FB (-4%, -6% respectively). For 2012, we're averaging 227 yards passing and 120 yards rushing per game. In 2011, it was 209 yards passing and 111 yards rushing. That both went up is a little surprising, but obviously BJGE has been very productive over the last few weeks which has tilted these results.
As for individual players, it will be interested to see if Lawson is resigned again. He's been solid but unspectacular and his playing time has gone down 13%. WR Andrew Hawkins has obviously had his role increase dramatically (+33%) but hopefully that drops off again somewhat if we can find a more reliable #2 receiver opposite Green. Starting defensive ends Michael Johnson (+16%) and Robert Geathers (+14%) have both seen an increase in playing time. How their respective free agencies play out should have a big impact on the team, especially since we don't know how Jamaal Anderson is recovering from his torn quad.