One of the greatest benefits of a new coaching regime for a NFL franchise is they do not have any attachment to the previous regime’s players.
While a coach may be hesitant to cut a player that he picked out himself, a new coach would have no such reservations. With that being the case, this is the perfect chance for the Bengals to build their roster based purely off talent and ignore draft status. This could lead to cutting of players that have been struggling in recent years.
Let’s take a look at some of the Bengals veterans who have the most on the line in this training camp.
1. Jeff Driskel
The Bengals took a quarterback with their first selection in the fourth round, and that had to make Driskel start working twice as hard. Backup quarterbacks are one of the most likely to be replaced positions with a coaching change, and Ryan Finley had a decent pick invested in him. If he shows well, there will be no reason for the Bengals to keep Driskel unless he really balls out in the preseason. If Driskel wants to stick with the team, he will need to do well himself and hope Finley doesn’t show enough for the Bengals to keep just two quarterbacks. Driskel does at least offer athleticism that the other two quarterbacks on the roster can’t.
2. Cody Core
Core has been one of the players who has stuck around more due to lucky circumstances than anything else. He had a solid first year for a sixth-round pick, but has failed to make an impact outside of special teams since. Now with the early injuries in training camp it is looking less and less likely he will be cut again. However, if the Bengals want more production, it may be a good idea to replace him as a receiver and find his special teams prowess elsewhere.
3. Christian Westerman
It seems like it would be perfectly safe after the Williams injury and Boling retirement that Westerman would make the team, but once again, it seems fans are bigger fans of his than the staff. John Jerry has been taking more of the first-team snaps at left guard instead of Westerman. While there is still plenty of time for this to change, it has become a pattern, and fans have to wonder if the team should even bother keeping him if they’re not going to use him. Good play throughout the rest of training camp and preseason could earn him a starting spot, or he could end up cut.
4. Jordan Willis
Willis is one of the better athletes at edge in the NFL, at least on paper. But thus far, he has failed to make any sort of impression on the NFL even with that great athleticism. It is not clear exactly what the cause is so maybe another coaching staff could get the best out of him. The Bengals didn’t add much defensive line talent, so there is still a good chance he can make the team, but the odds are against him being able to harness his athleticism and become the sack artist his athleticism suggests he should be able to.
5. Mason Schreck
With C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Eifert re-signed and Drew Sample drafted in the second round, the Bengals essentially have three locks at tight end for the roster. It will be tough for Mason Schreck to make the roster as he has to convince the Bengals he is worth keeping as a fourth tight end. With Ryan Hewitt off the roster, it does open up a spot for a fourth tight end to work in a hybrid H-back role. Schreck has shown decent talent before in the preseason, and if he can do so again, that would greatly help his roster chances, although first he just has to get through injury free.