There’s a new two-headed monster on this Cincinnati Bengals squad. Well, not necessarily new, but newly noticeable.
And they play defense.
Defensive ends Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard have been a solid dynamic duo, almost as dynamic as Burrow and Chase or Chase and Higgins, for two years now. They aren’t in the spotlight as much as others, like Micah Parsons, Aaron Donald, or Myles Garrett, but they get the job done, and they do it well.
Hendrickson currently holds the single-season sack record for Cincinnati with 14 and is currently on track to break it again.
USA Today published an article prior to the 2022 season about the most underrated defensive players, not just edge rushers, and #91 was at the top of the list.
Sam Hubbard, the Cincinnati kid, was recently named one of the most underrated defensive ends in the league by Good Morning Football.
Despite the Bengals being ranked #24 in total defense, there is still a lot to praise on this defense.
Hendrickson is tied for second in the league currently for sacks with seven and has an overall grade of 89 (combination of pass and rush defense). In comparison, Aaron Donald, defensive end for the Rams, has three sacks and has an overall grade of 91.
Hubbard is tied for third in the league with 18 solo tackles and first in the league with 11 assisted tackles.
You don’t necessarily need top-tier defensive edges on each side, just as long as they can complement each other well, and that’s exactly what these two do.
This past offseason Trevor Sikkema of Cleveland.com talked about how Sam and Trey were one of the two most underrated edge rushing duos in the league.
While Hendrickson and Hubbard are attacking the quarterback, the Bengals have three other defensive players in Logan Wilson, CTB, Dax Hill, amongst the league's best with two interceptions each.
If this team can figure out how to stop the run, as well as last season, this defense will be a top-10 defense in the league, similar to last season, when they were the fifth-best defense.
This bye week could not have come at a more perfect time for the Bengals to allow everybody to rest and to figure out some solutions to key problems offensively and defensively. Don’t count this team out yet.