Bengals Still Have One of NFL's Best Secondaries

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

For the duration of Mike Zimmer's tenure in Cincinnati, the Bengals routinely had one of the NFL's best secondaries. Whether it was Leon Hall, Johnathan Joseph or Terence Newman shutting receivers down while Reggie Nelson, Roy Williams or Chris Crocker enforcing the middle of the field, Cincinnati's secondary was one opposing teams were never thrilled to face.

Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth ranked the best secondaries in the NFL. Trailing only the Seattle Seahawks in terms of the NFL's best secondary was the Bengals.

The Bengals finished third in the NFL at stopping No. 1 receivers, third against No. 2 receivers and sixth against Nos. 3-5 receivers. They did it with Geno Atkins hurt for much of the year, sapping some of their pass-rush capability. So the secondary was doing something right.

The Bengals played lots of man coverage last year, with Nelson sometimes blitzing or covering a tight end/slot guy and Iloka roving, so Bengals corners often faced difficult assignments. They kept plays in front of them well, tackled flat and screen receivers for minimal gains, shut down first reads and of course helped the defense intercept 20 passes.

Tanier believes the Bengals secondary will remain elite, thanks to the addition of Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

Dennard's arrival provides an additional boost. He is a natural cover corner who should step in as Newman finally runs out of Just for Men. Williams barely played last year but appeared to be coming around late in 2013 training camp. There is tons of depth here, and new coordinator Paul Guenther won't be making any major changes. The Bengals secondary does not pop out at you, but it doesn't let you complete many passes, either.

The Bengals were followed by the Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker