The Bengals saw their myriad of rookie pass rushers put their best foot forward against the Buccaneers on Saturday. Joseph Ossai and Darius Hodges attracted the headlines, but let’s not leave out Cam Sample.
It was a very good outing for Sample, who had been cleared to practice off the Physically Unable to Perform list a little over a week before the game.
The fourth-round pick is expected to play defensive end while also being able to kick inside to defensive tackle during passing situations. A formula that has become all too common for Cincinnati pass-rushers, and a trend that has encapsulated the rest of the NFL. Saturday night, Sample showed he fits in that mold.
Sample played most of the game against the Bucs. Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson were only meant to get their feet wet with a series, which meant the young guns got the rest of the game to take advantage of some valuable reps. Sample ended up playing 49 of the defense’s 62 snaps.
The highlight of the night for Sample was getting a sack right before the game ended when Tampa Bay needed time to setup a Hail Mary attempt. That play wasn’t his only pressure, however, as he showed off a great motor the whole game. He also proved to be a force in the run game where his penetration impacted where the running back was forced to go.
With the news that Ossai may have a broken wrist to deal with, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Sample continue to get these kinds of reps in the preseason. He’s clearly in the plans for Cincinnati’s rotation up front, as he was included in the game’s first third-down pass rush package when his teammates sacked Tom Brady to begin the game.
Ossai definitely deserves the buzz he has been getting, but we could very well see a guy like Sample show off in this upcoming game in a similar fashion. The Bengals went out and really added some serious depth to a position they desperately needed it at.