The Cincinnati Bengals are enjoying a resurgence, winning five of their last eight games to get back into the playoff hunt. However, they’ve still got some major issues they need to correct to become a true playoff contender.
Even before his injury, Vigil was having a nightmarish day. He had two missed tackles and zero solo tackles on the day, getting exposed against both run and pass.
Vigil left the game after giving up a huge gain to Seth Devalve on a seem route. Vigil tweaked his ankle chasing down the tight end, and then he limped off the field and didn’t return.
The Bengals’ linebackers struggling against the pass isn’t anything new. They have struggled against running backs out of the backfield and athletic tight ends for awhile. Vigil, Vontaze Burfict and Jordan Evans were constant targets for DeShone Kizer on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus.
Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer was very efficient when targeting Bengals linebackers (Vontaze Burfict, Jordan Evans, and Nick Vigil), he threw for 145 yards, 54 percent of his total yards, and 9 completions, 50 percent of his completions, on 10 targets.
What was more surprising is how much he struggled in the run. The last time these two teams met in Week 4 Vigil had seven solo tackles, a sack and three tackles for a loss. His only tackle this game came after an 11 yard run where he needed help to bring down the ball carrier.
This has seem to become a trend for Vigil over the past few weeks. His tackling form has been great, and it is weird that he missed two tackle against the Browns, because that isn’t like him. His real issue is actually getting to the play soon enough. Especially on passing downs where the player will catch the ball, and then have plenty of room to get to the first down marker before Vigil even gets there.
It isn’t just on passing down either. He has a real issue getting to running backs in a timely manner either. He often allows the running back to get several yards up field before he even gets there. Whether it is an issue of over running the play, getting caught up in traffic or just plain not being fast enough Vigil has shown some concerning issues.
Pro Football Focus has not been kind to Vigil. On the season he has a 35.5 overall grade, which ranks 82nd among strong side linebackers. He is also the lowest graded starter among the Bengals’ starting line up. The only player who is even close in Andrew Billings with a 48.7 overall grade, and he has only recently become a starter. They are the only two with grades under 60 among the starters on defense.
Vigil has had his moments, but it seems like this second year player may have some more issues he needs to overcome. If he can’t start making strides then the Bengals should definitely consider taking another athletic linebacker in this upcoming draft.