The Cincinnati Bengals have needed some heroic performances to stay afloat in the face of Joe Burrow’s calf injury, which derailed the offense for the first few weeks.
So who’s most helped the team get those hard-earned three wins?
Newcomer of the year
First up, we’ll talk about the greatest addition to the Cincinnati Bengals so far in 2023. And it’s got to be DJ Turner, a rookie playing at a premiere position who has far exceeded expectations.
Lowest QB rating allowed by NFL rookies through Week 7 (min. 12 Tgt):— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) October 25, 2023
1. Joey Porter Jr., Steelers (28.5)
2. DJ Turner, Bengals (52.1)
3. Deonte Banks, Giants (68.3)
4. Christian Izien, Bucs (71.5)
5. Devon Witherspoon, Seahawks (74.7)
6. Julius Brents, Colts (86.0) pic.twitter.com/U0tlWuwy0b
Coach of the year
Is there any doubt? Lou Anarumo has been brilliant this year. After losing Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell, he quickly adjusted and got his young secondary making big plays. Plus, he’s manufactured a pass rush with only one elite pass rusher. Sure, the run defense hasn’t been stellar, but a lot of that has to do with Cincinnati’s struggling offense and losing time of possession battles.
Defensive player of the year
D.J. Reader has played at his usual elite level, and I know nose tackle play tends to get unnoticed, so I want to give him a shoutout. But Trey Hendrickson has been playing like his hair is on fire. The man is a nightmare for opposing QBs, one of the very best pass rushers in the game.
Highest pass-rush win rate @PFF— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) October 23, 2023
1. Myles Garrett 29.0%
2. Nick Bosa 25.3
3. Trey Hendrickson 23.2
4. DeMarcus Lawrence 22.7
5. Jalen Carter 22.2
6. Micah Parsons 22.1
7. Aaron Donald 21.5
8. Bryce Huff 21.3
9. Chris Jones 21.0
10. Chase Young 20.4
Offensive player of the year
There’s really only been one star on the Bengals’ offense this year: Ja’Marr Chase. He already has 50 receptions to go with 556 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Most importantly, he does whatever it takes to get the team going offensively and provides the swagger they’ve lost since the Burrow injury.
While Hendrickson has been an absolute stud, the MVP so far has to be Chase. Without his play, the Bengals could very well be winless. He had 192 yards and three touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals and 141 yards and 15 receptions against the Los Angeles Rams to help Cincinnati avoid an 0-3 start.
This Sunday, Chase the Bengals will try to make it three wins in a row against the San Francisco 49ers. We preview that game below:
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