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Bengals rookie report: Cordell Volson paves way for explosive plays

Volson was integral in Joe Mixon’s record-breaking day.

Carolina Panthers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

From the trenches and beyond, the Cincinnati Bengals dominated the Carolina Panthers On Sunday. Injuries have forced both sides of the ball to alter their plans, but the Bengals could do no wrong against a seemingly bewildered Panthers team.

This year’s rookie class had a role in every aspect of the Bengals’ success, and the blowout allowed everyone playing time.

Cam Taylor-Britt

Taking the good with the bad is all the Bengals can do right now with Taylor-Britt, and this isn’t a knock on this specific performance.

Compared to his first start last Monday, Taylor-Britt was much more in sync with the rest of the secondary. He was only tested a few times, and that’s when issues arose. Taylor-Britt was flagged twice for illegal contact, with one happening away from the play, and the other as he was beaten in quarters coverage.

Then there was the touchdown, which is a great example of why finishing the rep is important.

Taylor-Britt had Panthers receiver Terrace Marshall covered like glue on a kindergartner’s art project throughout the entire route. Baker Mayfield still gave Marshall a chance, and all that was left was finding the ball and going at it. Marshall did, Taylor-Britt did not.

Getting Moss’d like that is never fun. Had Taylor-Britt abandoned technique or was in total recovery mode at the catch point, it would’ve been even worse. But he was in phase and just didn’t complete the play.

It’s a teaching moment for a not-so-bad rep, and now he’ll have the bye week to reflect on three weeks of playing time

Dax Hill

The bye week will be critical for Hill, who suffered a shoulder injury following the Panthers’ second touchdown of the game. It was instantly apparent something was wrong by the way Hill immediately grabbed his right arm on the ground.

Hill was rightfully charged with allowing the score, and he still nearly broke the pass up. Cincinnati was playing two-man, a middle-of-field-open coverage with Hill matched up on tight end Tommy Tremble. Hill has no help in this situation, so he has to either impact the route with leverage, or just trail Tremble to perfection. He did neither, and allowed Mayfield a window to hit his tight end.

Hill’s effort to get in front of the pass nearly paid off, but it resulted in his shoulder hitting the turf hard under Vonn Bell.

Interestingly enough, Hill was in uniform for the team’s final practice before the week-long break. Head coach Zac Taylor labeled the first-round pick as “week-to-week,” which indicates he would be in danger of missing at least a game or two. We’ll see if he ends up practicing next week.

Where on the field was Dax Hill?

  • Box: two snaps
  • Wide corner: one snap

Zach Carter

Carolina had a much more difficult time running the ball compared to their opponent, and Carter played well in minimizing their success. He didn’t get in on any stops, but that’s not what’s important. He held his gaps and allowed others around him to fill and make plays. His run defense grade of 73.4 from Pro Football Focus is by far his best this season.

This is a topic for next week, but with D.J. Reader coming back into the mix sooner than later, Carter might see his snaps decrease as he finds himself back in a rotational role. This performance should keep him at the top of the reserves behind B.J. Hill at 3-technique.

Cordell Volson

The two biggest plays of Joe Mixon’s afternoon were help sprung by Volson. On his way to picking up 35 yards off a screen pass on the first drive, Mixon cut inside the rookie left guard, who sealed out Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu to give Mixon the lane he needed to kickstart his historic outing. Two drives later, Volson and Jonah Williams pulled around the right side of the formation for some Guard-Tackle counter, clearing the way for Mixon to churn out his longest rush of 29 yards.

Volson’s day isn’t being tweeted about by the NFL Operations account, but he put together another solid performance, which has been the theme for the last several weeks now. Cincinnati dipped into multiple concepts in the run game, and did so because their line could handle it as a unit. His lone gaff came later in the first period when he was beaten quickly and gave up the outside to defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis, who got a hit on Joe Burrow. That was the catch Tyler Boyd in the end zone that wasn’t called a touchdown.

Towards the end of the game, Volson stayed in with Williams while the rest of the starting line was subbed out for the three active reserves. As a rookie, it’s only logical he’d play the whole game, but not having the luxury of activating all five reserve linemen also plays into this.

Allan George

When you’re dressing for the first time, you have to prepare for everything and anything. George was ready after getting the call from the practice squad this week as the first cornerback off the bench. He came on for Eli Apple in the third quarter and he ended up with 20 snaps in his place. His coverage grade was a solid 68.2, and Mayfield didn’t target him once.

George is back on the practice squad after his standard elevation, but with Chidobe Awuzie out for the season, don’t be surprised to see him back on the field before too long.

Jeff Gunter

This was the first time Gunter got called on to play defense since Week 3, when he played seven snaps against the New York Jets in a garbage time situation. Gunter ended up with six snaps in a much more lopsided end-of-game situation.