Germaine Pratt Jersey

The first round was exciting, the second round was confusing, and in the third round, the Bengals finally found a player to fill their biggest need ,and it was a good one.

After years of neglect and stop-gap players like Kevin Minter and Karlos Dansby, the house of cards that was the linebacker position finally collapsed in 2018. The position was a huge weakness full of players who struggled in coverage, struggled to tackle, and struggled to stay healthy.

Now, the Bengals have made a move to change that by adding North Carolina State linebacker Germaine Pratt with their third-round pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Speed: The Bengals needed an athletic upgrade at linebacker, and they got it with Pratt. His testing is okay, but his play speed is much better. He is always flying around and never seems to be out of a play. He has the speed to make plays all from sideline to sideline, whether it be in the run game or the pass game.

Tackling: Getting to the ball carrier does not do much good if you can’t make the tackle. The Bengals’ entire defense struggled to make tackles in 2018. Fortunately, they added a linebacker who does not struggle in that area. Pratt is an excellent tackler. He hits hard and high bringing his hips through the tackle for power. Pratt is equally skilled as a tackler in the open field or in the gap.

Pratt is very good coverage linebacker, which is something that the Bengals lack. He has the skill to play effectively in zone coverage and the athletic ability to cover tight ends and big slots. This fills a big need for the Bengals who have struggled with underneath coverage.

Drew Sample Jersey

Drew Sample, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end from Washington, was taken with the 52nd overall pick in the second round by Cincinnati in the 2019 NFL Draft. Sample will join former Huskies John Ross and Tristan Vizcaino in Ohio.

Sample didn’t get a lot of opportunities in the passing game, but he still managed to post 46 receptions for 487 yards and five touchdowns in his four years as a starter. While he’s an underrated receiver, the Bellevue native’s forte is being able to move defenders off the line of scrimmage in the running game and that’s something that he did very well with the Huskies.

Sample is just the third Husky tight end to be drafted since 2002 — Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Will Dissly are the others — but there are two more former Husky tight ends in the league as Darrell Daniels and Josh Perkins are also on rosters as well.

“Sample saved his best season for last, garnering honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors by catching 25 passes for 252 yard (10.1 average) and three touchdowns for the Pac-12 champions. He struggled through a leg injury his junior year but continued to play, earning the Huskies’ Don James Perseverance Award for his efforts. He caught seven passes for 84 yards on the year, starting 8 of 10 games played. It was the second time Sample had received a major postseason award from the team, as he was the recipient of the Tough Husky Award after his redshirt freshman season (5-45-9.0, two receiving TDs in 13 games with seven starts.) The former All-King County selection from Newport High School in Bellevue was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection after his sophomore campaign, when he caught nine passes for 106 yards (11.8 average).”

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier in the year, Sample ran a 4.71 40, jumped 33.5 inches in the vertical jump and 115 inches (9’7″) in the standing broad jump.
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NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had this to say about Sample’s versatility and how he fits in an NFL offense… “Sample’s size and lunch-pail demeanor are what NFL teams look for at the point of attack. While he might be typecast as just a blocking tight end, he possess enough speed and ball skills to become a more productive pass catcher than he was at Washington. His size, football character and commitment as a run blocker give him a chance to become a solid combination tight end with TE2 potential.”

ESPN, which has Sample rated as the fifth-best tight end available, feels that Sample is a perfect fit in an NFL offense… “Sample’s unique traits are his ball skills and his blocking. He is one of the best blocking tight ends in this class, both as a run-blocker and in pass pro. He has a lot of tightness, which is seen in his route-running. He is slow in and out of his breaks, and he rarely gets separation with his cuts at the top of his stem. He comes with good football intelligence, work ethic and toughness. Sample has value as a backup tight end because of his outstanding blocking and ball skills, but he will never be a good starter in the NFL.”

Jonah Williams Jersey

CINCINNATI — Sitting at the podium in Paul Brown Stadium, Jonah Williams was speaking matter-of-factly, without sounding boastful or brash, about his goal as an offensive lineman.

“My goal is to make the person not want to keep lining up across from me. I want them to ask to switch to the other side or ask to get a sub in,” the Bengals’ first-round pick said at his introductory news conference Friday.

Hearing that, your first thought might be, “Uh-oh. That quote’s going up on the wall in the Steelers’ locker room and in every locker room of a Bengals’ opponent next season.”

But your second thought should be: “Good. That kind of bold thinking is just what the Bengals need.”

And Jonah Williams appears to have the skills, strength and mindset to back it up.

In college, the 6-4, 302-pound Alabama star dominated some of the best competition in the land, allowing just one sack in 850 snaps and none at all in his senior year.

Williams appears to be the football version of the Incredible Hulk – one part brainy technician, one part brawny mauler. He’s an offensive lineman who prides himself on the exactness of his technique and preparation but turns from a soft-spoken giant into a brute when he walks onto the field.

“I want to impose my will on my opponent and make people quit,” Williams said, citing his “physicality” as one of his strengths.

“I’m not a trash talker, not dirty or anything like that … I’m pretty calm, collected off the field, but there’s a switch I can turn on.”

Williams said most football people put him in “the technician, smart guy box” as a lineman, and it’s easy to understand why by the way he talks about his preparation.

Williams described a checklist he goes through before each play.

“I get in my stance, and I’m comfortable in my stance because I’ve run it through my head a thousand times,” he said. “I look at the defense. I look at the safeties. I look at what I need to look at. By the time the ball is snapped, I’ve diagnosed what I have to do. I know what my first step is going to be. I know where my hat is going to go. I know where my hands are going to go. And I have an idea of what the D-end or D-tackle — whoever I’m going against — is going to do.”

That’s when his physicality take over, and Dr. Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk.

“At that point, you just cut it loose,” Williams said. “The ball snaps, you come out, and you already know what you’re doing. You’ve practiced it to the point that it’s muscle memory.”

Williams said he never takes a play or a minute off – whether it’s on the field during a game or practice, in the weight room or in the film room.

“I try to approach everything the same way, whether it’s walk-throughs, lifting weights or watching film,” he said. “I always want to push that and make sure that when I step on the field, I know I’ve done everything in my ability to be as prepared as I can be. I think it’s just that professionalism and the type of competitiveness I bring.”

Here’s what Williams said about:

Making the jump from college football to the NFL: “I know the NFL is a whole different animal and I’m coming into it as humble as I can be. I’m not coming in thinking I already know it all and I’ve already learned it all. But I do feel like the program that (Alabama coach Nick Saban) ran definitely helped with mental toughness as far as being able to be coached hard and being able to face adversity.”

Getting drafted by the Bengals: “As soon as the Bengals were on the clock, I was hoping my phone was going to ring. As soon as it did and I saw the Cincinnati area code, I just started nudging everyone around me. I definitely knew that the Bengals were a possibility at 11, so I was preparing myself. As soon as it came around to that pick, it kind of hit me how good of a fit I feel that it is. I love the culture here. I love this organization. The new coaching staff is great. And I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

Getting to wear his college number 73, which he picked in honor of his idol, Browns great Joe Thomas: “I was pretty stoked about that, getting to keep that number. But it’s a Bengals jersey, and that’s what I’m most excited about.”

Preston Brown Jersey

CINCINNATI — Preston Brown didn’t feel a need to check his phone and make a salary comparison during the NFL free agency period this month.

The Bengals announced Wednesday they have re-signed the Cincinnati native and 2010 Northwest High School graduate to a three-year contract through the 2021 season.

Brown, entering his sixth NFL season, had been due to become an unrestricted free agent at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“Last year, I was kind of checking my phone looking at it and seeing how much they got and like, ‘Oh I can do better than him,’ and stuff like that,” Brown told reporters at Paul Brown Stadium Wednesday morning.

“This year – it was whatever happened then it happened. I was going to be me and whoever wanted me I was fine with that. It was great to be back here.”

Brown, 26, joined the Bengals last off-season as an unrestricted free agent after spending his first four seasons (2014-17) with the Buffalo Bills.

In 2018, Brown was the No. 1 middle linebacker and recorded 42 tackles and two interceptions despite being limited by ankle and knee injuries to just seven games (all starts).

“I hated watching myself on film the way I was hopping around,” Brown said. “It wasn’t me and it wasn’t fun to look like that.”

Brown told reporters he was cleared last week for his ankle issue. It was tough to miss a lot of time in 2018 but he wants to help the team in any way possible. He believes the AFC North is wide open.

“I will be ready to go once we start OTAs (organized team activities) start (April 9),” Brown said.

Brown said he spoke with Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo about schemes for this upcoming season.

“He said it was going to be multiple – some 4-3, some 3-4 things – you never know how it’s going to shake out exactly,” Brown said. “But once we get through OTAs and see how guys look in different sets and things we will kind of shake that out as we go along. But, I think they have a good feel for the players that are here and hopefully get some new guys through free agency and the draft as well.”

Prior to joining the Bengals, he had played in all 64 possible regular-season games (62 starts) since entering the NFL in 2014. He originally was the Bills’ third-round draft pick (73rd overall) from the University of Louisville in the 2014 draft.

Hardy Nickerson Jersey

Image result for hardy nickerson

Last week I wrote about Ricky Bell should go in the ring of honor despite not playing many years here he meant so much to the team.

There is another player who meant just as much to our football team as well despite playing here only 7 seasons, Hardy Nickerson.

Hardy Nickerson not only should be in the Ring of Honor asap with Ricky Bell, but Hardy also should be considered for the NFL Hall of Fame.

During his 7 seasons in Tampa Bay, he performed at the highest level and was by far one of the greatest players to play the game at his position at that time.

Hardy was drafted in the 5th round,122nd pick overall by the Steelers. After 6 seasons with the Steelers Hardy decides to test the free agent waters, when at the time the free agency wasn’t a big part of the NFL yet.

In 1993 Hardy’s first season with us, little did we know what we had in him as a player. By the time the 1993 season was over, Hardy recorded 214 tackles for the season, and that is still the most ever tackles in a season by a Buccaneer.

Hardy’s greatness, not only helped transform the Bucs into a winning organization, but he was also there for Lynch, Sapp, and Brooks in their rookie years and showed them what playing with heart and desire looks like.

He, in my opinion to this day, was the absolute best free agent acquisition the Bucs ever had. Simeon Rice was great, Vincent Jackson was great, but Hardy turned us around.

I still remember sitting in the stands chanting, “Hardy! Hardy! Hardy!” and you’d see him flex and you just knew a big play was coming from him.

He became one of the most popular Bucs ever and according to My friend Paul Stewart’s site BucPower.com, in 2003 Hardy was named the 3rd greatest Buccaneers player of all time, also earning Pro Bowls in 1996, 1997,1998, and 1999. He should have been in the Pro Bowl all seven years here.

Bucs, it should be your priority to get Bell and Nickerson in the Ring of Honor asap. NFL Hall of Fame voters need to get Hardy inducted into Canton because those seven years he played here, were among the greatest performances by any middle linebacker, and he deserves every recognition he gets.

Jordan Evans Jersey

Evans will start at outside linebacker during Sunday’s tilt against the Browns, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Evans draws the start while Vontaze Burfict moves to middle linebacker, and the former should be busy Sunday with fellow outside linebacker Nick Vigil (knee) sidelined. Evans is up to 47 tackles (31 solo) and 1.5 sacks through 10 games this season.

Evans (ankle) was placed on injured reserve Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Evans didn’t practice the last two weeks and will finish 2018 missing the final two games of the season. The Bengals’ desperate injury situation forces the team to put him on injured reserve, rather than simply ruling him out. Hardy Nickerson and Nick Vigil should continue to dominate the snaps at linebacker Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Evans (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com reports.

Evans sat out last week’s loss to the Browns and was a non-participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday. The second-year pro is trending towards sitting out Week 17, in which case Vincent Rey would slot into the starting lineup versus Pittsburgh.

Evans recorded nine tackles during Sunday’s loss to the Saints.

Evans has logged the two highest snap counts of his career each of the past two weeks and subsequently averaged 10 tackles a contest while adding a pick-six for good measure. With Vontaze Burfict (hip), Preston Brown (leg), Nick Vigil (knee) and Vincent Rey (groin) all uncertain to play in Week 11 against the Ravens, Evans could be in store for yet another productive outing.

Evans won’t return to Sunday’s game against the Raiders after sustaining a left ankle injury.

Evans sustained the injury in the first half and was declared out shortly after halftime. Vincent Rey has taken over at weakside linebacker for the Bengals in his absence.

Ryan Glasgow Jersey

Defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow impressed and took a significant jump in production during his second season out of Michigan.

Unfortunately for him, it ends after three games.

Glasgow tore his ACL during the 31-21 loss to Carolina on Sunday and will be lost for the year, first reported by NFL Network.

The 6-3, 300-pounder was offering Geno Atkins a breather as the three-technique position at defensive tackle and accumulating a number of key plays along the way. He racked up 11 tackles, a quarterback hit and tackle for loss in the official stats but was active pressuring the quarterback and chasing the run, particularly the first two weeks.

“I’m almost at half my production from last year within three games,” Glasgow said as he came through the locker room on crutches Monday. “I think as a player I definitely was headed in the right direction. To have it cut short isn’t ideal, but I’ll pick back up where I left off.”

Glasgow tossed his helmet after feeling a pop and a burn while planting to track down Christian McCaffery on a run play. Coming from a family in sports medicine, he knew instantly what just happened. He’s not decided on where he’ll have the surgery yet, as he weighs his option whether to do it with the Bengals or elsewhere. He tore a pectoral muscle in college and his mother actually did the surgery.

“Seamless recovery on that one,” he said. “Shout out to her. Who knows, my dad might do my surgery. We’ll see.”

As he walked through the locker room, Glasgow stopped to talk with Clint Boling, who tore his ACL in December of 2013, but returned for the start of training camp the next season.

“He was just trying to figure out the best way to go about the surgery and we talked about the rehab process,” Boling said of Glasgow, who hopes to return even in a limited capacity during OTAs. “I’m sure he’s talked to Geno (Atkins), too. Geno’s been there. A number of guys have been in that situation. I think a lot of those doctors are good at what they do. A lot of it is how you attack the rehab process more than anything. That’s the most important part of it. You have options to do different surgeries and have different doctors do it and it’s what you feel most comfortable with and what you want to do.”
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow (98) tackles Baltimore Ravens running back Javorius Allen (37) in the fourth quarter during the Week 2 NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Cincinnati won 34-23.

This opens a spot for 2018 fifth-round pick Andrew Brown to potentially be promoted off the practice squad. He was limited in the preseason due to injury and didn’t make the 53-man roster out of camp, but would serve as a logical in-house replacement.

If they don’t think Brown would be active against Atlanta, they could leave the roster spot empty and allow Vontaze Burfict to fill it when he returns off suspension next week.

Also, 345-pound Josh Tupou, who played extra snaps in place of Glasgow on Sunday, could be part of the equation.

“If you watch the tape, Josh played like a beast out there taking on double teams,” Glasgow said. “He’s a big, strong guy. He’s got that Polynesian muscle. It’s almost unmatched genetically.”

Either way, this marks an unfortunate conclusion to one of the best stories from the Bengals’ 2017 draft class.

“I thought I took a bunch of positive steps as a player, but there’s not much you can do about it. It happens. Occupational hazard. It’s just part of the job … It kind of sucks having (the season) cut short. But I’ll be back next year — 2019.”

Bobby Hart Jersey

The Bengals have re-signed right tackle Bobby Hart to a three-year $21 million contract. You read that right: $21 million for three years.

Hart was a very weak link last year on the offensive line, and it was abundantly clear most of the snaps he played. At times it didn’t even look like he belonged on the field, and he was a major liability more often than not, whether it was his poor play or dumb penalties.

However, Cincinnati has opted to commit to Hart for what appears to be the long term. While we still don’t know the full details, it looks like Hart is the right tackle for the foreseeable future.

Monday, word broke the Cincinnati Bengals were bringing back right tackle Bobby Hart on a three-year deal worth $21 million.

The response was disastrous, to say the least.

Hart, 24, struggled mightily last season during his first year with the Bengals, playing at right tackle and combining with Alex Redmond to become one of the league’s most penalized offensive lines.

Despite this, a new Bengals coaching staff led by Zac Taylor has signed off on the transaction, presumably with a nod of approval from new offensive line coach Jim Turner.

Twenty-four hours after agreeing to one of the most surprising free-agent deals in Bengals history, offensive tackle Bobby Hart was all smiles Tuesday afternoon, blissfully unaware of the firestorm of hand-wringing, fist-shaking, spittle-soaring rage his new three-year contract had produced on social media – and right here on this site.

Of all the questions the Bengals faced in preparing for the official start of free agency Wednesday, the one that appeared to be the easiest to answer was moving on from Hart, who consistently struggled at right tackle in his first season with the team.

Hart, in addition to allowing numerous pressures and sacks, committed a team-high 14 penalties, tied for the fourth most in the league behind Redskins tackle Morgan Moses (16), Texans tackle Julie’n Davenport (15) and Bills guard Dion Dawkins (15).

Alex Redmond Jersey

For an undrafted free agent, becoming in a starter in the NFL is quite the milestone. Alex Redmond, who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2016, went from practice squad to backup to starter in only three years.

After paying his dues on the practice squad for a year, Redmond was given the opportunity to compete for the starting job at right guard in 2017. He lost out to fellow former UDFA and practice squad teammate, Trey Hopkins and remained a backup for most of the year. He did get a shot late in the season during some of the Bengals’ best offensive line performances of the year.

But Redmond’s defining characteristics are his aggression and intensity, so he attacked the right guard spot when competition opened back up in 2018. This time, he won the job and will trot out with the first team on Sunday in Indianapolis.

According to Paul Dehner Jr., the key to success is that “he’s found a way to harness his borderline crazy attitude without losing the edge.”

“Obviously, you can find a million guys that do what I do,” said Redmond. “But I feel like I try to out-physical my opponent every play. Even if that initial battle I’m going to be like, he got under my chest, I’m going to try to work and win that block. It helps me win a lot blocks that I necessarily didn’t start winning from the beginning.”

Clint Boling, who will be starting at left guard across from Redmond, wholeheartedly agrees.

“You are kind of dialing him back sometimes and that sort of thing,” Boling said. “Most of the time you are trying to get guys to play hard and that sort of thing. For him, it’s the opposite.”

Redmond played physically and intensely at UCLA, which is what attracted the Bengals to him in the first place. But they were unable to bring the best out of him in his first two seasons with the club, during which Paul Alexander was the Bengals’ offensive line coach. Everything changed when Frank Pollack entered the scene in January.

Former offensive line coach for the Cowboys, Pollack came to replace Alexander, who was fired after 23 years of coaching the offensive line in Cincinnati.

Apparently, Alexander was not a fan of Redmond’s style.

“My new offensive line coach absolutely loves it,” Redmond said. “He loves everything about the physicality of all that kind of stuff. I’ve had other coaches in the past tell me to be something I wasn’t and they’re gone now, thankfully.”

It’s pretty clear what Redmond means by “other coaches.” It’s probably not anyone from UCLA, where he started 13 games as a true freshman and declared for the draft after only three years.

Alexander, on the other hand, was far too laid-back for Redmond. His coaching style clashed with Redmond’s playing style, and the result sent Redmond to the practice squad and the bench.

But when Pollack came in, he brought a culture of intensity with him. He has been trying to get everyone on the offensive line to be more aggressive, but none have benefited more than Redmond. Pollack and and his new starting right guard are a perfect match.

“He’s shown consistency in his physicality, which is important. He’s shown a steadiness in understanding the things (Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack) is teaching up front,” Marvin Lewis said of Redmond on Wednesday. “He’s continued to grow, and you see a maturation of his whole personality. His physical upside is tremendous. We now just need to fine-tune the little things he may have struggled with from time to time.”

The right side of the offensive line is an area in which the Bengals are in desperate need of repair. If Pollack can get through to Redmond, the offense will be far superior to last year’s team that was plagued by the line.

“If you don’t play, it sinks in very quickly. These guys are here and want an opportunity to play,” Lewis said of Redmond. “You can’t play when that is getting in the way.”

The true test for Redmond will begin on Sunday against the Colts.

Nick Vigil Jersey

The Bengals have lost yet another linebacker for an extended absence.

After missing Vontaze Burfict (suspension) for the first four games and Preston Brown (ankle injury) for two more, Cincinnati will now be without Nick Vigil for around a month, as he suffered an MCL sprain in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers.

Going into Week 6, Vigil actually led the NFL in stops (tackles causing an offensive failure), according to Pro Football Focus. The third-year linebacker was one of the few bright spots in a Bengals defense that’s been a massive disappointment this season.

With Vigil out, that means guys like Hardy Nickerson and Jordan Evans are going to get more snaps. Both have struggled mightily at times this season, especially Nickerson. This was already an obvious position of weakness, and things just got worse.

Since Vigil is out for an extended time, he may be a candidate to go on injured reserve and be designated to return later, though the Bengals will obviously try to let him heal and hopefully return within the next month vs. being out for eight weeks on IR.

Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said it was a legal play for Roosevelt Nix. Vigil was on crutches with a giant brace on his knee in the locker room on Monday.

Vigil (knee) is not practicing Wednesday, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Vigil remains sidelined due to a sprained MCL suffered during Cincinnati’s Week 6 loss to the Steelers. The 25-year-old appears on track to sit out Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers, but will benefit from the following bye week to get healthy. As long as Vigil remains sidelined, Vincent Rey should slot into the Bengals’ starting lineup.