The Cincinnati Bengals made waves when they opted to start undrafted free agent Damion Willis in place of the injured A.J. Green.
With Green still out and expected to be sitting for longer than his initial 6-8 week diagnosis, head coach Zac Taylor has been shifting around who is the team’s third-string receiver.
After two weeks of seeing the majority of offensive snaps, Willis gave the Bengals just four catches and notched just 36 yards. With a few similar-performing receivers on the roster, Taylor opted to head elsewhere, something the old Marvin Lewis-led Bengals didn’t do much of.
Willis didn’t see a single offensive snap in the team’s Week 3 loss to Buffalo. Even just last week, the former Troy Trojans standout was on the field for 64% of the offensive snaps. The lack of production sent Taylor to look elsewhere.
Willis’ replacement, Auden Tate, did more than double the production of Willis’ first two weeks combined. He ended Week 3 with six receptions on ten targets for a solid team-high 88 yards.
Following the game, Taylor explained this change, noting that the Bengals have multiple, interchangeable receivers.
“That was a change we did earlier in the week, so Auden has done a good job, he provides some stuff for us. Damion has done a good job. We feel like we have some guys that can play, Alex Erickson jumps in there. You don’t really miss a beat with anybody coming in the game but that was just a decision we made and moved John [John Ross III] to the other side over to ‘x’ and then we moved Auden over to ‘z’.”
On both sides of the ball, the Bengals will be forcing players to produce and not just allowing the same group to go out each week. This accountability was instilled in the Taylor-led team early in his short tenure.
While slim, even the defensive side of the ball also saw new players involved. After not having a single defensive snap in Week 2, Germaine Pratt, who as expected to be more involved, got in on the action, securing ten snaps in Week 3.
Overall, this type of accountability should only be good for the Bengals for the long-term health of the franchise.