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Bengals Bytes (10/4): Franchise records the Bengals are on track to reaching Defense Embraces

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06/11/2018 01:22
Another 'Return Of Tez'On Monday Vontaze Burfict gave Marvin Lewis what Lewis says Burfict will give his team Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnatiís Channel 12) against Miami in the Paul Brown Stadium Re-Opener after spending three of the first four games on the road.Notebook: Elastic Erickson; Simmons Says McRae RobbedThe subject is wide receiver Alex Erickson and after practice Wednesday Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons found himself quoting the late Pete Brown , the clubís senior vice president of player personnel.Quick Hits: Sunny Forecast For Mixon; Price Re-Boots; Tez ReturnsIn the most positive weather forecast since Channel 5ís Kevin Robinson riffed on the Cincinnati Labor Day weekend, head coach Marvin Lewis basically cleared running back Joe Mixon for the Bengalsí return to Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnatiís Channel 12) Sunday against the Dolphins.Are the Bengals a legitimate contender?I never thought Iíd end up writing an article in response to a classic Stephen A. Smith tirade. The majority of hot takes that Stephen A. Smith spews on an almost daily basis are designed to catch the attention of other members of the media and sports fans in general. The intention is often to garner buzz on social media, rather than say anything of real substance. For that reason, itís typically an ill-advised decision to place much importance on his comments. This time, heís reeled me in and Iíve taken the bait.Cincinnati Bengals thrilled to have Vontaze Burfict backBurfict is coming off a four-game suspension for violating the leagueís performance-enhancing drug policy, and he was limited in the preseason because of an ankle injury that prevented him from appearing in any games.Joe Mixon: Always part of the picture for BengalsComing off knee surgery two weeks ago, Joe Mixon didnít make the trip to the Bengals game at Carolina. Watching from home didnít sit well. So, when the Bengals headed to Atlanta this past week he made sure to let anyone who would listen know how much he wanted to make the trip.Opposing Player Spotlight: Week 5, Cincinnati BengalsThe Dolphins were flat out embarrassed by their divisional foes up in Foxborough last week, showing that Miami still has a ways to go before emerging as a top AFC contender. That game also brought injuries to the forefront of everyoneís mind in South Florida, as the Dolphinsí swath of absences due to injuries is beginning to take a toll on this team. When the Dolphins travel to Cincinnati this weekend, one player on the opposing team is sure to attempt to take advantage of Miamiís ailing secondary.Dolphins hope for better play in trenches against BengalsHe was talking about his offensive line, but the depiction also fits the defensive line. The Dolphins were dominated in the trenches in a 38-7 defeat, and to have a chance Sunday as one-touchdown underdogs at Cincinnati Youth Cordy Glenn Jersey , they'll need significant improvement up front.Cincinnati Bengals offense tracking toward franchise recordsSunday marked an impressive first quarter of the season for Lazorís new system. The Bengals rank fourth in points scored and in the top 12 in yards per play, rush and pass. They rank second in the NFL in red-zone efficiency and are fifth in third-down efficiency.Random BytesBleacher Report's Expert Consensus Week 5 NFL PicksOnly 46 percent of Las Vegas favorites have covered (compared to 52 percent in 2017), and only 63 percent of favorites have won outright (compared to 70 percent in 2017). Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of games have been decided by one score (up from 47 percent in 2017), and only 16 percent of games have been decided by three or more scores (down from 27 percent in 2017).Schefter: Rob Gronkowski to Play Through Ankle Injury vs. Colts in Week 5According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, tight end Rob Gronkowski 'is expected to be active' for the contest even though an ankle injury impacted his practice time leading up to the Week 5 matchup.Leonard Fournette Ruled out vs. Chiefs in Week 5 with Hamstring InjuryJacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced Wednesday that running back Leonard Fournette will not play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs due to a hamstring injury.1st-Round Rookie Report-Card Grades at NFL's Quarter MarkIt didn't take long to see all five first-round quarterbacks on the field. By the end of Week 3, rookie signal-callers selected within the top 32 had their welcome-to-the-league moments. Even though one passer hasn't started a game, he's played enough snaps for us to judge his development.New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman to play versus Indianapolis ColtsNew England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will make his 2018 season debut on Thursday vs. the Indianapolis Colts, per a league source, marking his return from a four-game suspension and the torn ACL that kept him out for the entire 2017 season.Dre Kirkpatrickís highs and lows were all on display against Baltimore Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has taken his fair share of criticism, but he does some impressive things in coverage when put in the right situation. Kirkpatrick had a few negative plays early in the teamís Week 2 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, but as the game went on, he put out some quality tape.On this first play, where Jessie Bates caught his first career interception Youth Michael Johnson Jersey , the Bengals are in Cover 1 man (with Bates as the single-high safety) and Kirkpatrick is playing loose at 7 yards on the bottom of the screen. He lets Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead IV eat up his cushion too fast. Kirkpatrick struggles with receivers like Snead who are good at creating separation, and off a free release that gives him plenty of space to build up speed in the vertical stem, Snead blazes by Kirkpatrick. He should be faster in his back pedal and transition faster to turn and run with the receiver. Kirkpatrick is on the top of the screen on this next play. The wide receiver pushes him vertically and stems to the outside. Kirkpatrick turns to the outside as the receiver pushes that direction, but quickly turns back in and stays with him. Kirkpatrick gets his eyes to the ball and is in position to make the play, but unfortunately drops the interception. Kirkpatrick is excellent with his feet on this play, but his hands let him down, like they usually do. Here, Snead is again lined up against Kirkpatrick on the top of the screen. He is able to stem and get inside of Kirkpatrick on the vertical route. To his credit, Kirkpatrick fights back and gets back into good position, but he needlessly grabs Sneadís jersey and draws the flag. This is a big mistake that gives the Ravens first-and-goal.Kirkpatrick does an excellent job on this vertical route. He is playing wide receiver John Brown tight at the top of the screen. His hips are excellent on this play, and that allows him to transition quickly.Once he turns to the receiver, he closes the horizontal space between himself and Brown. This pressures Brown to move closer to the sideline, which narrows the window for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to throw in. Once again, Kirkpatrick is covering Brown in tight man coverage at the top of the screen. Brown runs a vertical route , but chops his feet after a few yards trying to make Kirkpatrick think that he is going to cut off his route. Brown then quickly continues his route up the sideline, and Kirkpatrick is unphased. He chops his feet in his backpedal, then turns and runs with Brown stride for stride. This is excellent coverage by Kirkpatrick, but an incredible throw by Flacco and some sideline tow-tapping by Brown makes it a touchdown. Kirkpatrick is best when he is able to use his strength and length in addition to his speed. On the bottom of the screen, Kirkpatrick uses his hands to jam wide receiver Michael Crabtree at the line of scrimmage. Crabtree releases to the outside and Kirkpatrick quickly gets on his hip. He leans on the route keeping Crabtree on the sideline. With this excellent coverage, Flacco lofts the ball out of bounds.Kirkpatrick has had his ups and downs, but has the skillet to be a solid boundary cornerback. The Bengals could help him by flipping fellow cornerback William Jackson and him around based on matchups, with Jackson taking on the teamís best receiver, but that doesnít seem like itíd going to happen based off the first two games. Kirkpatrick plays best against receivers with some size who have more straight-line speed than lateral speed, and he also benefits from jamming and using his length. His strengths are well telegraphed at this point, as are his weaknesses. With a talented secondary around him, Kirkpatrick has a chance to turn in an above average year in a new scheme.
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