The Bengals now have one of the youngest rosters in the league, but a veteran presence still exists on both sides of the ball.
Most of those veterans were voted on by the team and announced as season-long team captains today, per Geoff Hobson.
Bengals captains for 18: Dalton Green Mike Johnson Shawn Williams Vinny Rey Clayton Fejedelem— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) September 3, 2018
Last season, the Bengals had weekly captains as opposed to season-long captains. Regardless, some of these names are no strangers to the honor.
Quarterback Andy Dalton is the oldest player on the offense, and wide receiver A.J. Green is only a year younger. The team’s identity has centered around the duo since they were drafted eight years ago one round apart, and they’ve carried the two highest cap hits on offense since they signed their second contracts.
We’ve seen Dalton wear the captain patch for years now, but it’s a new honor for Green. Since the release of Brandon LaFell, he became the de facto leader on age alone with the rest of the receiver’s room so incredibly young. Green has always been a lead-by-example kind of player, but his responsibility has increased as the true veteran in the room. We’re pretty confident he can handle it though.
If defensive end Michael Johnson was unsure if the Bengals would bring him back after he was cut, he must feel pretty good going from unemployment to becoming a captain again. Johnson has more experience in the league than anyone on the team who is not a specialist, and will start on defense this year as he did in the preseason. The distinction of captain status is nothing new to him, as he’s carried it with him for many games in the past.
Like Green, safety Shawn Williams had the torch handed to him by the release of a teammate. After George Iloka was let go two weeks ago, Williams became the most experienced safety the Bengals had, and only trails cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in games played in his career.
For years it was running back Cedric Peerman who represented the Bengals special teams unit. For the last two years, it’s been safety Clayton Fejedelem, as he’s asserted himself as a tremendous asset on kickoff and punt teams. There’s no one on either units as productive and consistent as him, and that’s why he was given captain status as the youngest captain on the team.
Then there’s fellow special teams captain Vincent Rey, who like Johnson and Dalton, is no stranger to the distinction. Rey will also be relied on for his leadership on special teams and veteran wisdom in a young linebacker’s room.