2016 Cincinnati Bengals

Don Wassall

Staff member
Sep 30, 2004
Who’d a thunk it? The Cincinnati Bengals with 23 White players on their roster to begin the 2016 regular season! And they have some very interesting White players who aren’t starters, such as Alex Ericson, Rex Burkhead, Nick Vigil and Clayton Fejedelem. Of course the Bengals are rather notorious for acquiring and then discarding White players at “black” positions, so only time will tell, but the sheer number of White players – including 15 on offense – is encouraging.

Andy Dalton, aka The Red Rifle, keeps getting better each season and is now one of the most reliable quarterbacks in the league. He was playing with great poise and confidence in 2015 before a thumb injury derailed his season.

A. J. McCarron, the quarterback who did nothing but win at Alabama, looks very good every time he steps in for Dalton and makes for a very solid backup.

Cincy shrewdly picked up Jeff Driskel after he was cut by San Francisco. Driskel runs a 4.5 40 and has the tools to be an NFL starter should he get the opportunity.

RB Rex Burkhead enters his fourth season, still stuck behind Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard. He is a very good runner and receiver but is used mainly as a WSTD. One can only hope Burkhead finally gets to play a lot this year due to injury, or that another team is smart enough to sign him when he becomes a free agent after his rookie contract expires after this season. Given how White RBs have been shunned for over a generation, Burkhead’s best chance remains getting to play due to injury in 2016 and then being so productive that he can’t be relegated to the back of the bench any longer.

It was disappointing when 6’4” WR Jake Kumerow ended up on the practice squad for the second straight year, but that was due mainly to the superb play of undrafted Alex Ericson from Wisconsin, who excelled both as a receiver and returning kicks. Ericson and Burkhead open the season as the Bengals’ two kick returners. Hopefully Ericson sees action as a receiver also as the team has little at the position after A. J. Green and promising rookie Tyler Boyd.

Tight end Tyler Eifert has battled injuries, but really blossomed last year as a favorite redzone target of Dalton. Eifert is expected to miss the first month of the 2016 season after suffering an ankle injury during the Pro Bowl which was subsequently operated on. Backup Tyler Kroft was scheduled to replace Eifert but he too has been hurt, though he hopes to play in the season opener.

Cincinnati’s offensive line is one of the best, and it features four White starters. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth is now 34 but remains one of the very best at his position. Georgia product Clint Boling is the starting left guard, third year man Russell Bodine is the center, and Kevin Zeitler is the very capable right guard.

The o-line backups are all capable, including tackle Jake Fisher, veteran guard Eric Winston, center T. J. Johnson, and guard Christian Westerman.

Ryan Hewitt is used as a fullback/H-back and gets about 10 receptions per year.

The highlight on the defensive side is rookie Nick Vigil, another shrewd move by the team when he was selected in the third round, much to the derisive howls of know-nothing DWFs. Nicknamed “Luke” by his teammates because of a playing style that resembles a certain linebacker that plays for the Carolina Panthers, Vigil is blocked for now by several quality veterans, but it’s just a matter of time until he becomes the starting middle linebacker and foundation of the defense.

QB Andy Dalton
TE Tyler Eifert/Tyler Kroft
LT Andrew Whitworth
LG Clint Boling
C Russell Bodine
RG Kevin Zeitler
FB/HB Ryan Hewitt

Number of White players on 53 man roster: 23

Grade: C
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Don Wassall

Staff member
Sep 30, 2004
For some reason, I kept getting an error message that wouldn't allow me to post the entire Bengals write-up. Maybe it was too long. The below paragraphs were supposed to go just above where the starters are listed:

Margus Hunt is now in his fourth season. The physical mutant from Estonia – 6’8” 295 pounds with a 4.6 40 time – has been slow to catch on to the nuances of being a defensive end and there were fears he would be cut, but reports from training camp have been mostly positive and Hunt should be part of the DL rotation this year.

Rookie safety Clayton Fejedelem from Illinois will be mostly used on special teams for the time being.

Rookie linebacker Trevor Roach from Nebraska is currently listed as the backup WLB behind Vincent Rey.

Joining WR Jake Kumerow (Wisconsin-Whitewater) on the practice squad are TE Matt Lengel (Eastern Kentucky) and G/C Alex Redmond (UCLA).
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Hall of Famer
Jun 4, 2007
"Marvin X" Lewis has been building a progressively-whiter team for the past 4-5 years. It started with a "whitening" of the OL, then drafting a white franchise QB, then backup WR's (Sanzenbacher and Whalen), then TE, and now defense.

A few injuries (particularly to Bernard, permitting Burkhead to become the 3rd down back) and the Bengals will have one of the whitest starting lineups in the NFL.


Oct 30, 2016

Ericson tops the Kick & Punt Return Yds this season (1,005), good news for him.

Kick Returns
1. Deonte Thompson • CHI 35
2. Andre Roberts • DET 33
3. Alex Erickson • CIN 29
Brandon Tate • BUF 29
5. Marc Mariani • TEN 26
6. Cordarrelle Patterson • MIN 25
7. Tyler Lockett • SEA 23
8. Benny Cunningham • LAR 22
Dwayne Harris • NYG 22
10. JaCorey Shepherd • SFO 21

Kick Return Yds
1. Alex Erickson • CIN 810
2. Deonte Thompson • CHI 804
3. Cordarrelle Patterson • MIN 792
4. Andre Roberts • DET 747
5. Brandon Tate • BUF 662
6. Tyler Lockett • SEA 606
7. Benny Cunningham • LAR 599
8. Marc Mariani • TEN 560
9. Marqise Lee • JAX 545
10. Dwayne Harris • NYG 533