For the second-straight week, Bengals defenders are publicly voicing their displeasure with how they’re being used.
On Friday, cornerback Darius Phillips tweeted “don’t waste” talent, then followed it up with “especially mine.”
Phillips is a young player with a bright future who could be in line for a nice extension next offseason since 2021 is the final year of his rookie deal, so you can understand why he may be frustrated with how he’s being used, especially since he was easily one of the Bengals’ best players in their Week 6 loss to the Ravens.
Darius Phillips was the highest-graded defender for the #Bengals in their loss to the Ravens.— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) October 12, 2020
Phillips earned an 83.4 overall grade, as well as an exceptional 94.0 pass-rush grade (7 attempts, 3 pressures, 2 batted passes).
However, this is something that even a veteran like Shawn Williams is voicing his displeasure with.
Mine either ♂️— Shawn Williams (@36SLY36) October 16, 2020
Phillips has actually been getting a heavy workload so far this season, as he’s played in over 70% of the defensive snaps in all five games this season. However, his snap count percentage has dropped in each of the past two weeks (88% and 71% respectively) after playing in 98% of the snaps in Week 3.
As for Williams, he has a bigger gripe since he’s played just 30 total defensive snaps this season, including just 13 last week.
To be fair, Williams missed a good chunk of training camp, as well as the first two games due to a calf injury. And the team signed veteran Vonn Bell this offseason to give their defensive backfield a boost. Bell has logged 100% of the defensive snaps in all five games this season.
Still, Williams has been one of the defense’s most consistent players throughout his career, so you would think the Bengals could find ways to get him on the field more than 10-15 snaps a game, so you can’t blame him for being upset with his role.
The real concern here is the Bengals have multiple players voicing their displeasure with their roles, which comes a week after defensive end Carlos Dunlap did the same. It’s one thing for young guys to do this, but when you have highly-respected veterans like Dunlap and Williams doing it, it becomes a concern.