Last week, we had eight rookies dress for a Bengals game. This week, we reached the magic number nine, as undrafted rookie quarterback Jake Dolegala was essentially forced to suit up in order for the Bengals to have 46 active players for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.
Dolegala, Michael Jordan and Ryan Finley didn’t play any snaps, but there was a moment where it may’ve been appropriate for Finley to take over at quarterback. After Andy Dalton’s third interception of the game, fans began to wonder why No. 14 was trotting back onto the field to finish the inevitable loss. This was the first time where it really felt like Finley could get a chance to play, but he did not.
That’s the status quo for now. This is Dalton’s ship to sink, and until further notice, Finley is a clipboard holder and insurance policy. If things manage to get even worse—if that’s possible—we’ll regroup from there. For now, let’s focus on the rookies that did play.
The uneventful adventures of Germaine Pratt and Renell Wren
In fairness, uneventful isn’t necessarily a negative here. For example, Pratt had an eventful afternoon against the Ravens two weeks ago getting lost in coverage a couple of times. This week, he looked better in space and matched his coverages to routes more effectively. He and Preston Brown rotated in and out for the first handful of drives and looked comfortable playing to his fits.
Pratt finished with three tackles, but his best one way this stop on Leonard Fournette after he rocked the right tackle back a few yards.
Pratt ended up playing 22 snaps, while Wren was in for 21 snaps. Ryan Glasgow returned to the field after missing last week with a thigh injury and was eased back into the rotation, so Wren ended up with two more snaps than him. His impact, per usual, was minimal and playing mainly on the edge, he’s not going to produce much.
The Jaguars’ don’t have great offensive line talent, so Wren fared fine and wasn’t out of position nearly at all, but the lack of defensive end depth doesn’t help him or Andrew Brown.
Drew Sample gets welcomed into the NFL
Nearly halfway through the regular season, Sample hadn’t faced anyone more imposing on the edge as Calais Campbell. For the tight ends and the entire offensive line, it was a collective failure to run the ball, but Sample get handled easily the few times he faced the four-time Pro Bowl edge defender.
Since the offense is basically prejudiced against using their tight ends in the passing game, we have to highlight Sample the blocker. It’s all he’s being used for, and he’s struggling more times than not. He did haul in a three-yard reception, which went for four more yards than his one catch went for last week, if you’re feening for positives.
His three-yard catch ups his total yardage to 27 on the season.
Oh yeah, these guys exist too
It was Alex Erickson’s turn to pop off as a receiver this week, so while he, Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate took the lion’s share of the snaps on offense at receiver, Stanley Morgan and Damion Willis were relegated to special teams again. The two have played a combined 11 offensive snaps (Willis has 10 to Morgan’s one) from the last two weeks, and most of them have come in run blocking.
But Morgan at least came away with a highlight on special teams. Late in the first quarter, he downed Kevin Huber’s second punt of the game inside the three-yard line.
Morgan was also credited with a tackle on special teams, and Pro Football Focus graded him right behind Germaine Pratt as the second-best special teamer from this game for Cincinnati.
Willis and Morgan ended up with seven and 20 special teams snaps, respectively, while Trayveon Williams ended up in-between them with 15. Williams saw the field on offense once last week but stayed on the sidelines for this game. It’d be interesting to see how he fares running the ball, but with this offensive line, it could also be a waste of time.