The Cincinnati Bengals are 1-1 in the preseason, but questions remain on their 2019 viability. Even so, there are signs of great promise—whether it’s in new additions, or old faces showing rejuvenation under the new staff.
For those new around these parts, the Unsung Hero of the Week award has a few different routes of designations for its nominees. Whether it’s in stepping up for an injured player, or getting overlooked because of position and/or statistical contribution, we want to give a nod to some other Bengals crew members.
Cast your vote and sound off on your winner for the Bengals preseason Week 2 Unsung Hero of the Week!
Jordan Ellis, running back: While the averages and stats look pedestrian, Ellis keeps doing the “grinder work” this preseason. With Mixon, Bernard and Anderson missing time in various capacities, Ellis has picked up the slack.
After catching a touchdown last week, Ellis had five more catches against Washington. He also had 52 rushing yards behind patchwork offensive lines.
Damion Willis, wide receiver: The undrafted rookie free agent has been the talk of camp, but was relatively quiet against the Chiefs. He stepped up this week though, mostly when Ryan Finley was under center.
Willis was the team leader in receiving yards (59) and the co-leader in receptions (five) on Thursday. He moved the chains frequently and made a catch on every pass targeted to him.
Cody Core, wide receiver: Josh Malone has fared well this offseason, as have Willis and Auden Tate. Lost in the shuffle has been Core, who has been steady since Zac Taylor’s arrival as well.
Darius Phillips, defensive back/kick returner: It’s been a tale of two preseason games this year for Phillips. In the opener versus the Chiefs, Philips had a deplorable day as a punt returner, but faired well in PFF metrics as a defensive back.
This week, it was a bit of the opposite. While he wasn’t overly-victimized as a corner this week, it was in his three kickoff returns where his redemption resided. He averaged 29.3 yards per kickoff return, constantly giving the Bengals’ offense good field position.
Jordan Willis, defensive end: The third-year defensive lineman is in a critical year and hasn’t shown all that much until this Thursday. He was active in the pass-rush had had a critical sack-strip-fumble of Dwayne Haskins. It was recovered by Kerry Wynn and led to a game-tying touchdown pass to Auden Tate at a critical point in the contest.
Tristan Vizcaino, kicker: It’s hard to give a nod to a kicker who made just half of his field goal attempts, but a 57-yarder can’t go unnoticed. Aside from that big boot, Vizcaino also hit two extra points.
Kevin Huber, punter: It’s not overly-frequent that a punter makes a sizable impact in a game, but Huber’s left leg proved valuable in a close contest. Huber had six punts netting almost 41 yards per kick, and his flipping of field position, as evidenced by allowing just two returns on those punts, were quietly critical in the win.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ preseason Week 2 Unsung Hero of the Week award?
This poll is closed
Jordan Ellis, running back
Damion Willis, wide receiver
Cody Core, wide receiver
Darius Phillips, cornerback/returner
Tristan Vizcaino, kicker
Kevin Huber, punter
Jordan Willis, defensive end