When the Bengals drafted three athletic rookie linebackers, we all knew they intended on unleashing them at some point. That time may come as soon as Week 1.
Joe Goodberry joined us to preview the Bengals’ defensive matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, and he thinks Logan Wilson will get his chance to play right away.
Second-year linebacker Germaine Pratt has reportedly improved dramatically and could be someone you keep on the field for most downs. But the other linebacker expected to start, Josh Bynes, is a liability against the pass, says Goodberry.
“I had a second-round grade on Logan Wilson. Don’t be surprised if he’s getting 50-50 with Josh Bynes,” he said. “Bynes isn’t a guy you want in coverage. Even as much as he played for the Ravens, you look at his history in the league, teams got him off the field in third downs and the nickel.”
He envisions Bynes as the inside thumper in 3-4 defense and Wilson as taking his place on other downs, as he’s demonstrated leadership and preparedness.
Meanwhile, Goodberry called Akeem Davis-Gaither a “wild card.” He said:
“[Davis-Gaither] played some nickel corner, he played some safety, he played some edge rusher, a lot of edge rusher last year. And I think you can do that with him. I think you can mix it up. I think you can get a little crazy.”
He thinks that Davis-Gaither can provide some “juice” on the edge behind Carlos Dunlap, Sam Hubbard, and Carl Lawson. “When one of those guys need a breather, you can put Akeem Davis-Gaither out there and feel really good about him, at least threatening that edge. He’s a little light for it, but you can do it.”
Goodberry feels good about the defense’s overall prospects against the Chargers, especially since they’ve had plenty of time to scheme against Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler. The two get a high number of targets, so if they can shut those two down, they have a good chance, says Goodberry. “If the other guys beat us, then so be it. Then we deserve to lose,” he remarked.
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