Teams are in the beginning stages of re-opening their facilities, as both players and coaches are finding ways to study playbooks. Installations of game plans are being done via video conferences, but that could change in the very near future.
On this week’s Orange and Black Insider podcast, we turn back the clock a bit and go over some of the most underrated and/or “underdogs” in team history. John and I went back to the last couple of incarnations of the Bengals’ roster for just a few of many possible examples.
As a player who was a defensive bridge from the Carson Palmer era to that of Andy Dalton, John noted the importance of a player like Leon Hall. Aside from enduring the excruciating experience of tearing both Achilles tendons, he was also a productive defensive back who could play both inside and in the slot.
In the first part of his career, Hall teamed with Johnathan Joseph to create one of the league’s best cornerback tandems. Once Joseph left, Hall remained a solid starting boundary corner, who then transitioned to an outstanding slot guy. To speak to his longevity and consistency, Hall had a respectable 78.6 Pro Football Focus score in his 10th and final season in the league.
John also noted the consistency from Clint Boling. A mid-round pick who never made a Pro Bowl, Boling was durable, versatile and routinely gave the Bengals above-average play.
I went a little further back and noted the importance of a player like Kenny Watson. He was originally brought over from Washington as a special teams ace, but turned into much more.
Watson was a reliable target in the passing game for Palmer, while also remaining productive on the ground while Chris Perry nursed injuries. Like another unsung hero, Cedric Peerman, Watson was an overlooked player in offenses that featured many other stars.
In terms of current “underdogs”, or players who are underrated, Giovani Bernard continues to hold that designation. Who are some of your classic underrated Bengals players over the years?
We also continued our “9 For 9” positional preview series with the defensive line. What might the looks be in 2020 based on the new additions along the front two tiers of the defense?
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