Sunday’s game against the Broncos was not the way the Bengals rookie class of 2016 wanted to play at home for the first time in the regular season. Their impact was as little as their opportunities in a tough loss to the Denver Broncos. Here’s our Week 3 rookie report.
- Tyler Boyd
- Alex Erickson
- Clayton Fejedelem
- Nick Vigil
- Cody Core
- Jeff Driskel
- KeiVarae Russell
- Christian Westerman
After a productive effort last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Boyd took a step back in the offensive game plan, as he only saw the field for 24 snaps while the Bengals were in run heavy mode for the majority of the game. Boyd finished the game with three catches for 18 yards on four targets, his longest catch going for nine yards.
This dip in production shouldn’t be a red flag for Boyd, as the Broncos are one of, if not the best at limiting the passing game, so he wasn’t going to be featured as much as last week anyways. Boyd is still the 3rd receiver on an offense that regularly uses three of them, so his snaps will still be there more weeks than not.
It was not a day to remember for the Bengals’ return unit, as Adam Jones had one of his worst days taking back punts, and Erickson only got one chance in relief of Jones’ woes. His lone return went for 4 yards as he unknowingly stepped out of bounds whilst making a cut. It appeared as if Erickson didn’t earn an opportunity to return a kickoff, as Rex Burkhead was back there this week, taking back two of them for a total of 40 yards.
It makes you wonder if the coaches don’t trust Erickson so much after his lackluster performance in Week 2, after he made some questionable fair catches and has looked below average running punts back when he gets the chance. Jones will always get the punts when he isn’t tired from playing the possession prior, but Erickson needs to show something as returner sooner rather than later to get that trust back.
Clayton Fejedelem and Nick Vigil
The importance of special teams play has been mentioned so many times with Bengals rookies, and it showed this week as both Vigil and Fejedelem made impressive stops on two separate kickoffs.
One for Vigil:
One for Fejedelem:
As the only backup linebacker coming off the bench, Vigil took five snaps as apart of the defensive rotation. With Vontaze Burfict coming back from suspension, don’t expect him to see the field more often as he’ll be behind now presumed backup weakside linebacker Vincent Rey in terms of getting on the field and into the rotation. Fejedelem is still rightfully behind Derron Smith in terms of rotating on the field in 3 safety looks.
The Bengals have a quick turnaround as they play the Dolphins on Thursday night, and they’re going to need Boyd and Erickson to be more involved and effective in order to increase their chances of getting to 2-2. With Burfict coming back from his aforementioned suspension, it’ll be interesting to see who on the team is released from the 53 man roster, but it’s safe to say that neither Vigil nor Fejedelem will be the player who’s cut.