The blow of losing Boyd was lessened by John Ross making his NFL debut, but it was still strange to see Boyd’s name pop up.
Before the game Ian Rapoport shines a possible reason for the move:
Boyd has a tight hamstring, I'm told. Came real late in the process. https://t.co/GfyKHZjsxX— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 14, 2017
However, following the soul crushing loss, Marvin Lewis said that was not the case.
Marvin says Tyler Boyd wasn't inactive for health reasons. #Bengals— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) September 15, 2017
Lewis added that “I can only suit up so many players,” so he made it seem that Boyd was simply a healthy scratch and there was no other issue. This still raises plenty of questions. If Boyd wasn’t scratched for health reasons why would the Bengals inactivate their second-round pick from two years ago?
It could have been a matter of Ross playing meant it came down to Boyd not being a contributor on special teams like Alex Erickson and Cody Core cost him his spot on the active roster, but if the Bengals didn’t feel confident enough in Ross to play him after a fumble then why would they not keep Boyd active just in case? Because that exact situation arose, and the Bengals ended up not having their two highly drafted receivers.
Another possible explanation is that Boyd simply broke a team rule of some sort, and the team decided to send a message by scratching the young receiver.
Boyd spent last season as the Bengals slot receiver. He racked up 603 yards on 54 catches. He saw a major uptick in his snaps and production after A.J. Green went down with a hamstring injury that kept him from finishing the season. Boyd only caught one pass on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens for 11 yards.
Boyd’s absence opened the door for a player like Ross to get some playing time, but his early fumble caused him to get benched. Instead Erickson got most of the snaps as the third receiver.
Erickson had four catches for 62 yards and was only second to Green who finished with 67 yards. It is hard to tell if Erickson was an improvement over Boyd who struggled against Baltimore, but we may find out next week if Boyd doesn’t get scratched again.