Because the Cincinnati Bengals played last Thursday, they’ll get in an extra practice day this week to avoid a long layoff.
That extra session came Monday, though it’s hard to get too much info out of it, as it was a closed session to media. However, there was some news coming out of the open locker-room session after practice, where Tyler Boyd was among those who spoke to the media.
Boyd was a mysterious inactive for last Thursday’s game against the Houston Texans. There were reports that Boyd had a hamstring injury, but after the game, head coach Marvin Lewis made sure to note that Boyd was a healthy scratch.
In most cases, a player of Boyd’s status would be made aware of why he’s inactive. Whether it’s ineffective play, bad matchups, wanting to see what other players at said position can do, or perhaps disciplinary reasons, coaches tend to tell players why they’re inactive, especially a second-round pick in the previous year’s NFL Draft.
Not Boyd. No one told him why he wa a surprise scratch.
"It was just a numbers game," Boyd told local 12. "I guess they needed more roles on special teams or whatever they need, but I haven’t gotten a specific answer."
That same Local 12 report adds that “Two sources have said that the reason Boyd was inactive was due to his practice habits.” That makes sense, but why didn’t the Bengals tell him?
Whatever the case, Boyd disputed the notion that he doesn’t practice hard enough.
"Every day I go out there to prove myself to just go out there and compete, that’s the type of guy I am," said Boyd. "I don’t feel like what I was doing on offense was bad, because they haven’t really came and said anything negative about my performance or play. I think it was just a huge part of special teams emphasis and lack of depth there. That’s what I got from them, so I accepted it and there was nothing real made on how I perform."
Boyd’s numbers were inconsistent during his rookie season, but so too was the entire offense. He did step up and have a four-game stretch after A.J. Green’s injury, where Boyd caught 21 passes for 231 yards and his only touchdown of the season. Overall, he had 54 catches for 603 yards and one touchdown on the season.
This probably should be a non-story that’s been made into a story Lewis mismanaging how the decision to have Boyd inactive was made. Whatever the reason was, Lewis should have let Boyd know at the very least, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to let the media know either.
Regardless, Boyd did let something slip during Monday’s interview, though it was more based on the offense as a whole struggling, which may have been due to Ken Zampese overloading players.
"There were times where I just felt like he would overwhelm me with things to do out there in terms of details and what to do and what not to do - just making me think too much," said Boyd. "In certain plays I felt like I should just go out there and just play – get my route and get my depth and be the guy.”
Zampese wouldn’t be the first play-caller to overburden his players and make them ‘think’ more than ‘play,’ and he won’t be the last. It happens in all levels of football, but the good coordinators see this and adjust, not force players to conform to the system. It’s untelling if this was the issue with Zampese, but Boyd certainly makes it sound like it was.
Be sure to read the full interview, which also includes Boyd complementing Zampese and talking about how the Bengals move past their 0-2 start.