It was safe to say that the Bengals needed a day like they had on Sunday. Not everything went right, but there were more positives than negatives for the first time in a while during the team’s win over the Cleveland Browns at home. The rookies however, seem more in neutral than anything else. Here’s our Bengals rookie report for Week 7:
- Tyler Boyd
- Alex Erickson
- Clayton Fejedelem
- Nick Vigil
- Cody Core
- Jeff Driskel
- KeiVarae Russell
- Christian Westerman
The good news is Boyd has reached the 20 catch mark for the year. We like to compare Boyd’s production to former Bengals wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, and they both never reached the 20 catch mark in their first year, so take that for what you will. The less than good news, his 20th catch of the year was his only catch of the day, and it went for three yards:
Boyd was targeted two other times, one on a contested seam route where he was overthrown by Dalton, on a fake hitch where he created nice separation, but the throw from Dalton led him more horizontally while Boyd went further upfield:
The common denominator in both of these targets is that Dalton is being pressured mid-throw and none of them are particularly on target; one of them was barely catchable and the other simply wasn’t catchable at all. Sometimes you only get so many targets and they don’t work out. It didn’t matter in the end though for the Bengals.
There’s no need to over-evaluate his day, as the offense was far from struggling, racking up over 550 yards and 31 points specifically. More than half of the targets went to A.J. Green and Brandon Lafell, as they went after their most favorable matchups of the season, meanwhile Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard ran wild. Boyd wasn’t needed, and the final stats illustrate that.
Please Erickson, give me something positive to write man.
After two fair catches to start the day, Erickson’s first attempt at a return ended when he muffed the punt and quickly recovered, gaining three yards in the process:
His second and final return also started off rocky. As he prepared to let the ball bounce in front of him, he had to corral it one-handed as it was on its way out of bounds inside the five yard line, and gained zero yards trying to make something out of his usual nothing:
Through seven games, Erickson has returned 10 punts for 57 yards, his longest going for 15. There’s plenty of context to his underwhelming numbers. The fact that a vast majority of his returns have started from inside his own 20-yard line doesn’t help him, and opposing gunners have had it relatively easy getting down to him quickly.
But at this point, there’s no hiding it. The Bengals offense has received next to nothing in terms of support from Erickson’s returning. I still believe he has a big one in him this year, maybe when he isn’t backed up against his own endzone and on a line drive of a punt.
All it takes is one.
Clayton Fejedelem and Nick Vigil
At this point, the less you hear about these two, the better. The status quo hasn’t changed, only injuries will get Clayton Fejedelem and Nick Vigil playing time greater than an occasional rotation snap deep in the game, which Vigil did receive against the Browns. Both did their usual jobs on special teams. Life goes on.
I guess it would be pretty cool to play your eighth game in the pros in another continent, which is what is happening with these guys this week as the Redskins play the Bengals in London. The London games usually have some whacky things happen, so let’s see if the rookies continue to play disciplined ball.