The Cincinnati Bengals might be 0-3, but that doesn’t mean the team is panicking. It may actually be the opposite. This team seems comfortable with the personnel they have despite going winless through three weeks.
Although still hampered by injuries, the mere return of A.J. Green may’ve been enough to head into Week 4 2-1 instead of 0-3. Sadly, that’s not the case, and the Bengals will be looking at a tough Monday Night Football matchup with the Steelers.
If they’re going to have any luck on Monday, it’ll be due to a defensive line that’s been stout to start the season. Players like Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are typically the names you hear when praising the team’s ability to halt the run and get to the quarterback.
However, it’s been fourth-year nose tackle Andrew Billings that’s shown progress. The fourth-round pick back in 2016 has seen incremental increases in playing time throughout the first three weeks, and it’s no surprise why.
He’s found both success on the field and favor with the Bengals’ rookie head coach Zac Taylor. Taylor recently praised Billings when discussing the defensive line.
“Billings has been a consistent player for us. Those D-linemen have played a lot of snaps and Billings is a guy that shows up. He’s stout against the run and he gets on the edge and gets penetration and takes the quarterbacks off the spot.”
It’s not just Taylor that’s noted Billings’ improved play. His own teammate, 24-year-old Carl Lawson, talked up Billings’ dominance through the first few weeks.
“Bill’s always had the talent. It’s always been about balance and staying on his feet. He’s nimbler. He’s not on the ground as much. It’s kept him in more plays. Even though he’s been in the league a minute, he’s still a young guy.”
Lawson is right, considering Billings may be in his fourth season yet is still only 24. That said, Billings still has room for more improvement.
The Bengals will be looking for more from Billings on Monday night as they desperately need to limit a struggling Steelers offense.