There is nothing more that’s needed to be said about Bengals defensive end Margus Hunt that hasn’t already been reiterated in the three disappointing and unproductive years he’s been in Cincinnati. Nothing has changed the narrative that is attached to him, and nothing has been done to halt all the doubt that surrounds him. In an industry where draft status means so much, Hunt has done very little.
One thing is certain though, he knows how to light it up in August.
Preseason football is nearing and this very well maybe the last year we see Hunt in a Bengals uniform, or any NFL uniform for that matter. So it feels right to take a look back at the plays where, ignoring situational context for a moment, Hunt seemed to be getting the hang of it. Will Hunt rise again in the 2016 preseason and prove he deserves more playing time? That remains to be seen, but for now, let’s take a look at Hunt’s preseason standout plays that have kept him in Cincinnati for this long.
1. First Career Sack Against the Cowboys - 2013
In the third Quarter of his third career appearance in a Bengals uniform, Hunt utilized a simple stunt around the 3-technique and grabbed the quarterback with an outstretched arm for his first sack of his professional career. You can also see the awful recognition and technique from the right tackle here, and a fair warning, it’s a common theme in these clips.
2. Right Hand Club Against the Chiefs - 2014
This can only be described as abysmal. Everything the right tackle could do wrong, he made sure to do here. From overstepping his kick slide, to the lateness of his punch, he set himself up for complete failure against a player who possesses a lot more brute strength. Hunt took advantage of these mistakes and opted with a club move to pressure the C-Gap, and made a shoe string sack on the quarterback.
3. Forearm Tackle For Loss Against the Jets - 2014
It’s pretty strange when you see Hunt be the only lineman able to get off a block, but sure enough here he is with quick inside penetration against a poor reach block by the right tackle. For the second time we are able to see just how Hunt’s enormous wingspan can help him make plays that others can not. While it is not advised to make a tackle with the backside of your arm, circumstances allowed this to work in his favor.
4. Speed to Power Conversion Against the Colts - 2014
Hunt usually saves his best preseason performance for the annual Week 4 Colts exhibition, and the third of his three sacks in the 2014 edition was the most impressive of the trio. The bull rush is the most common pass rush move for a defensive lineman and especially for Hunt. It is only effective if the player can convert his speed off the line into power to generate movement against the opposing lineman. Hunt’s hands stay active throughout the rush, stay low to apply effective leverage, and find a way to the quarterback.
5. Strip Sack Against the Buccaneers - 2015
I’m more than willing to give defensive tackle DeShawn Williams half a sack for his effort late on the play, but Hunt made his presence known first. Three years and nothing’s changed about his world class upper body power, remember, he’s not new to professional weight training like he is to football. Here he demonstrates the “one arm is longer than two” punch concept as the right tackle struggles with a subpar base. Causing turnovers is something that Hunt hasn’t been able to do nearly at all, so this was a pleasant surprise.
These types of plays are fun to observe and will get you more snaps as the season approaches. But when you earn those snaps from plays made against players who will not make their teams’ 53 man roster, it’s expected that you can replicate those performances against regular season competition. Hunt has yet to show that capability and in a “what have you done for me lately” NFL, his time to do otherwise is running out.
But, we’ll always have these plays against no name tackles. So at least there’s that.