The Cincinnati Bengals were faced with a tall task this offseason. Cincinnati saw Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell both leave in free agency, breaking up a safety duo that was as good as any in the league.
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bengals started that process when they drafted Dax Hill out of Michigan with the 31st overall pick. Bates was still on the roster at that time, but Duke Tobin and Co. clearly saw the writing on the wall.
When it comes to replacing Bell, the Bengals chose to sign veteran safety Nick Scott from the Los Angeles Rams. Scott has had an up-and-down season so far, with, unfortunately, more ups than downs. Scott has missed far too many tackles and has had coverage issues, specifically in the red zone.
Fans began calling for rookie Jordan Battle to get more playing time, and that is exactly what they’re going to see.
On Wednesday, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo announced that Battle would be the starter going forward.
Lou Anarumo just declared that Jordan Battle will be the starter at strong safety, Nick Scott will have a role still, but Jordan’s role will be bigger.— Kelsey Conway (@KelseyLConway) November 22, 2023
When asked what he liked from Jordan to make the move, he said “tackling.”
Tackling is one of the reasons for the move, per Anarumo. In the Bengals’ last game against the Baltimore Ravens, Battle finished with 10 tackles (12 solo). Battle also pressured Lamar Jackson into throwaways and really was all over the field.
The rookie out of Alabama looks to have the rest of the season to get more opportunities to grow and prove to his coaches that he is the long-term answer to replace the departed Bell.
— mike (@bengals_sans) November 22, 2023
A breakdown on Jordan Battle's best rep in coverage as the weak hook of 3 weak buzz/6 buzz. Great processing speed and understanding of his role in the coverage. pic.twitter.com/xVOJcfD6bu