How would The Godfather have turned out if the understudies had taken over for Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and James Caan? Answer: Unwatchable.
That’s a good word to associate with the Cincinnati Bengals if they lose these players to season-ending injuries in 2018. The stars can get the job done, but if the backups have to replace them at some point, we’ll be flipping to other channels, hoping they made Godfather IV: Corleones on Patrol and we somehow missed it in the theater.
Cincinnati Bengals Players We Pray Aren’t Lost to Injury This Year
Andy Dalton: We’ll start here because this one is the biggest and most obvious. Simply put, if we lose Dalton, we lose the season. When AJ McCarron was the backup, we might not have been so quick to make that statement. But unprovens and semi-provens are lining the bench with Matt Barkley, Jeff Driskel, and Logan Woodside (and we’ll likely lose one in the cut).
Barkley has the most experience, though he’s on his sixth stop in the NFL. Yes, he can play quarterback, but how much confidence does that thought instill in you, or the Cincinnati Bengals offense? It’s like telling your fellow 747 passengers not to worry – if the crew gets food poisoning, you’ll take over because you’ve beaten Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation on your Xbox One.
Driskel is in his third year in the league, but has been injured most of his college and pro careers. Rookie Woodside is 6’2”, 213 pounds and enjoys movies, Chinese food, and long walks on the beach at sunset.
One or more of them could very well turn out to be a quality player. But not in 2018.
Even though Green plays at a position with some depth, we fear an injury to him because ….. well, he’s AJ Green. Losing him would mean “Time to step up, newbies!” instead of “Oh no, what are we going to do now?!” (read: QB) – and neither of those options is good for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tyler Boyd is a third-year guy who has 76 career catches for 828 yards. He would definitely assume an even larger role in the offense if Green was out. Let’s just hope he has a ride to the game.
John Ross is healthy and turning heads in camp. Cody Core is a third-year guy with good size (6’3”) who played in 13 games last year (though he did not record a reception). Josh Malone was having a good training camp but must rest his recently-tweaked hamstring. They can all pitch in to cover the potential loss of Green ……. we hope.
You probably know how we feel about a Geno-Atkins-less defensive line. The concern is the same as for the QB and WR positions: Young players behind them on the depth chart.
Atkins is a six-time Pro Bowl selection. Backup Ryan Glasgow is a second-year, fourth-round draft pick with 23 career tackles. That gap should tell you something.
Backup-backup Chris Baker is a journeyman who is on his fifth team in 10 years. Backup-backup-backup Chris Okoye is big on size (6’6”, 320), but small on college and experience (Ferris State, rookie).