College: North Carolina
Hometown: Burlington, NC
Brandon Tate is an often debated player for the Cincinnati Bengals. There are groups of fans that are happy with what Tate Brings to the field. Our very own Nick Seuberling loves the fact that Tate is consistent in the return game and vary rarely will cough up the football.
Other fans think the Bengals need more explosion from the Bengals returner and want someone back there that is more of a threat to break a big play.
This debate is a double edged sword. The Bengals have relied on a defense that has kept the team in the game over the past three seasons. At times, the return game would come through and allow for the offense to have a very short field, but this is not a phase of the game that the Bengals have been able to rely on.
One of the biggest factors in a game is starting field position. A strong return game can really give the offense shorter fields and that in turn creates more points.
It will be tough for the number 3 defense in the NFL last season to do much more in that aspect of the game. So it makes sense that the Bengals focus on improving the other two phases of the game. This could mean a change in the return game.
Brandon Tate may need to shine this offseason to keep his job. The Bengals have depth at receiver and Tate has not been much of a contributor in that aspect. The team also has several guys on the roster that could pick up return duties if the Bengals decide to make a move. Adam Jones and Dane Sanzenbacher have seen action catching punts and there is some fresh meat that looks promising as well.
I am for making a change at the position to add more of a threat. But, that threat should not include someone that may have an issue holding on to the ball. A 7 yd punt return is always better than a 35 yd return with a fumble.