Hardy Nickerson Jersey

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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.

Tyler Boyd Jersey

While the Cincinnati Bengals slogged through another disappointing season, Boyd was among their few bright spots right up until a knee injury with three games left ended his participation the rest of the way.

He reached his first 1,000-yard season midway through Cincinnati’s 14th game when a knee sprain ended competition for him in 2018. He finished with 1,028 yards, 76 receptions and seven touchdowns.

He also missed playing at Heinz Field in the season finale, a venue where he romped for Pitt from 2013-15 before the Bengals drafted him in the second round in 2017.

While this was Boyd’s best season, it also was the second straight marred by an MCL sprain. It occurred earlier in 2017, in October, and limited him to playing in 10 games that year. He also missed playing in Heinz Field then.

Before his late injury this season, Boyd, 25, duplicated the kind of play-making he performed at Clairton High School and Pitt.

“Tyler has ascended so much as a player, his confidence,’’ former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “As a rookie he did some great, positive things. A year ago with injury and different things that occurred he didn’t get the same opportunity. When he got a chance at the end of the season, the last few games he really did a nice job, and he picked up where he left off during the offseason program, training camp and obviously did a great job during this season.”

Boyd did not get a second chance to match the success he had against his hometown team earlier this season. He caught two touchdown passes in Cincinnati’s 28-21 loss to the Steelers on Oct. 14 at Paul Brown Stadium.

He will enter the fourth and final year of the $4.3 million contract he signed with the Bengals as a rookie, then become an unrestricted free agent in 2020 if Cincinnati does not sign him to a new deal before then.

They had visions of teaming him with A.J. Green the way the Steelers use their tandem of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Injuries to both receivers, though, have thrown that plan off course. Green, 30, is scheduled to earn a $12 million salary next season as the team’s highest paid player. It also is his last under contract. Green was limited to nine games this season before the Bengals placed him on injured reserve with turf toe. He had 46 receptions for 694 yards.

Boyd hit his stride as a receiver this season before his injury. Previously their slot receiver, they used him more on the outside after they cut veteran Brandon LaFell, who previously played on the outside.“We made the moves we made during our camp to free space and make sure he wasn’t topped any more,” Lewis explained.

Boyd topped 100 yards three times in 2018, his best 132 yards against Carolina Sept. 23. He followed with 11 receptions for 100 yards against Atlanta as he and the Bengals got off to a fast start.

Cincinnati won four of its first five games to lead the AFC North Division after four weeks. But, despite Boyd’s two touchdowns against the Steelers, the Bengals lost that game by a touchdown and it began a downward spiral for them. Injuries and losses piled up as Cincinnati sank to the bottom of the division.

Boyd, though, is one of the many injured, including Green and quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals are counting on to return and put them back in contention in 2019.

“No question he had a great season this year,’’ Lewis said before the Bengals concluded their disappointing season against the Steelers. “I wish he had the last two weeks to continue to keep playing and finish the season and he were healthy throughout and he hadn’t missed [three] games. But that’s the way it goes.

“He’ll come back into next season fully prepared to really play with the confidence and so forth that we had in him.”

William Jackson Jersey

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) celebrates during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 in Cincinnati. (NFL Photos via AP)

It’s a cold, crisp morning at Paul Brown Stadium and another walkthrough is in the books for the Bengals.

William Jackson, the third-year cornerback, enters the locker room not only bundled up from head to toe, but smiling from ear-to-ear. His energy and joyous buoyancy resonates with his teammates, which has helped the Bengals, who host the Denver Broncos on Sunday at 1 p.m. (order tickets), maintain a positive outlook despite three consecutive losses.

“I’m just here to do my job, try to smile as much as I can,” Jackson said. “When you are losing it’s kind of hard to smile, but my coaches want me to get back to smiling and get back to being me and building on the confidence the last few weeks.”

The soft-spoken Jackson, however, continues to learn the finer points of the position.

“I think Will is starting to understand that there’s more to just playing corner in the NFL,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “There’s a lot of things that are occurring, and you have to take care of the details of it as well. I think he’s really growing with the details of it, which is good to see. He’s conscientious, he’s working hard at it and he wants to be good, and I think that part of it will help push him over the hump.”

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Jackson has graded out as one of the Bengals’ top defensive players the previous three weeks. In Week 11 at Baltimore, Jackson broke up two passes and didn’t allow a Ravens receiver to have a single reception. The following matchup against Cleveland, the Browns receivers had two catches against him for a paltry 13 yards.

With Lewis coordinating the defense, the third-year pro out of Houston believes he possesses more clarity with the system.

“Basically understanding the defense and what I need to do in the defense,” Jackson said of his recent play. “TA’s (Teryl Austin) defense was different and my play was different. I really didn’t know the defense as well as I know Marvin’s defense.”

Jackson continues to be a great example for the Bengals making strides in recent weeks trying to improve upon a defense that has played inconsistently.
Week after week, Jackson continues to play better. To Jackson, a little sunshine is the key ingredient to the Bengals getting back on track and contending again in the AFC.

“I just want to go out there and let my teammates know they can depend on me,” Jackson said. “We have to get back to having fun, smiling and just playing the game.”

Joe Mixon Jersey

The Bengals defense was bad last year… Really bad. 29th against the run, dead last against the pass, and dead last in total defense says it all. The good news is that unit has no direction to go but up. The bad news is with the only new faces being B.W. Webb, possibly a veteran linebacker, and maybe one or two impact rookies from the draft, first year head coach Zac Taylor and first year defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo have an uphill battle to even create a top 20 defense in their first year.

However, the Bengals can do a few things to help offset their defensive deficiencies. Better yet, one is completely in their control. The 2019 Bengals need to run Joe Mixon until his legs fall off. First off, Mixon has quietly become one of the best running backs in football. He missed two games last year and still managed to lead the AFC in rushing. It is not like he is running behind a fantastic offensive line either.

More importantly, the more Mixon runs the ball in 2019, the more the clock runs, and the more the opposing offense and the Bengals defense stays on the sidelines. A playing style like this is never flashy, but almost always effective.

In Super Bowl XXV, Bill Parcells had his Giants combat Jim Kelly and a high-powered Bills offense by running the ball and controlling the clock. New York had the ball for nearly twice as long as the Bills and won a tight game. The Bills were seven point favorites. This was the game that popularized the phrase “shorten the game.”

Super Bowl XXV is an extreme example, but this is what the Bengals need to do in the upcoming season. The biggest mistake last year’s staff made was underutilizing Mixon. Granted, there were games like the one in Kansas City where the Bengals fell behind early. Thus, Mixon was limited to just 13 carries. However, for him to have 11 carries the previous week in a close game throughout with division rival Pittsburgh is mindboggling and unacceptable.

Zac Taylor was not the one who made this mistake, but he needs to learn from it. Mixon is the best thing this team has going for it. If he averages 25 touches per game, the Bengals will be in every game they play in 2019. He hit that threshold just three times last year. The Bengals went 2-1 in those games. The loss was to a playoff team on the road by one possession.

John Ross Jersey

Average. By the time the Bengals open the season, it’s likely A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd will both be locked up for the foreseeable future with lucrative contract extensions. That leaves only a need for depth and development. The overabundance of receivers fitting that description coming out of college right now keeps it down the priority list in the early rounds.

Not top-heavy. Every major prospect has some type of asterisk. D.K. Metcalf, thought by many to be the top receiver in this draft and a first-rounder, didn’t produce well in games considering his ability and has questions about his lateral quickness despite a freakish athletic skill set. Finding the receiver that works for the Bengals will be a matter of the specific skill set they desire and being willing to deal with deficiencies in those areas they deem not as much of what they are looking for.

Finding productive receivers deeper in drafts is an important skill to master. The 2017 draft is the prime example where Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross each went in the top 10, yet, the show-stoppers from that draft were JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round and Cooper Kupp in the third.

If looking back at the 2015-18 draft classes and where the productive early results came from, you can find a window of opportunity.

There were 28 players to average 35 yards per game (560 yards over a full season) and had at least 40 receptions in one of their first two seasons. These benchmarks are very close to Tyler Boyd’s rookie year, for local reference.

Here’s the round they came from compared with the total WRs taken in that round.

There’s obviously been an expected high success rate in the first round, but when looking for a sweet spot later in the draft the third round offers a decent payoff for a low-risk pick.

One of the most interesting developments comes in an area where the Bengals might be most likely to make a receiver pick in this draft. Waiting until the sixth or seventh round has yielded zero success in recent years, yet, sifting through the avalanche of undrafted free agents has churned out a few success stories.