Despite a slow start this summer Bengals LB Malik Jefferson could be the real

Home Forums Tech Despite a slow start this summer Bengals LB Malik Jefferson could be the real

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    You can definitely see potential in rookie linebacker Malik Jefferson.The Indianapolis Colts have fourth-and-one from midfield with 5:44 remaining in the first half of the Bengals vs. Colts preseason finale. Indianapolis shows single-back formation, strong left (where the tight end lines up), twins left (two wide receivers). Cincinnati Cheap A.J. Green Jersey responds with nickel, placing Jefferson and Hardy Nickerson at linebacker. Colts quarterback Phillip Walker secured the snap and handed off to running back Branden Oliver.Jordan Willis, Sam Hubbard, Josh Tupou (another guy who made the roster with a strong preseason outing), and Andrew Brown neutralized the Colts offensive line, allowing Jefferson and Nickerson to roam freely. Jefferson approached the wall of humanity, feeling out vulnerabilities while sliding down the line of scrimmage. Eventually he found the lane Oliver targeted, lowering his right shoulder and dropping the running back for no-gain. Turnover on downs.Bengals football.Earlier during the possession, Jefferson, playing SAM in a base 4-3 alignment, shot through the line of scrimmage, harassing Oliver. With help from Nickerson and Hubbard, the Colts lost a yard on the play.Jefferson played a team-leading 67 defensive snaps during Cincinnati’s loss to the Colts last Thursday. He and Nickerson tied for a team-leading seven tackles, adding two passes defensed. Pro Football Focus ranked Jefferson as the second-best defender behind Nickerson , with the top score in coverage. We ran a small story on Jefferson earlier this year, highlighting one quote in particular.“He is everything you want athletically,” said an anonymous scout. “But I thought the instincts were off and the production was off. He didn’t get to the plays he should. He’s what I call a clear-view linebacker. If there’s nobody blocking him, if the defensive line keeps everybody off and if it’s right there between the tackles he can hammer you. But go try and find the ball, I thought he was really lacking. He looks just like you draw guys up. ‘Oh, my God, you want a linebacker, that’s the guy you want.’”Jefferson isn’t expected to see much action on defense in his rookie year. He’s listed as the team’s backup weak-side linebacker behind Jordan Evans. Further complicating playing time probabilities is Vontaze Burfict’s October return, presumably knocking Evans to a backup role and Jefferson as a third-stringer.Cincinnati will start Preston Brown in the middle, flanked by Nick Vigil (strong-side), and Jordan Evans (weak-side). Jefferson might not play much this year, but he has the potential to turn into a playmaker for the Bengals’ defense.Ravens at Bengals: The good, the bad and the ugly The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-0. There were times in which the game looked either totally controlled and others where things seemed to be slipping through their grasp, but they came through for their second consecutive win (and composite score of 34-23). Here are the best and worst from the team’s win on Thursday Night Football. The good:“The Red-Green” connection: What more is there to say here? Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes in the win, with three of them going to Green. In two games, Dalton has six touchdown passes against one interception Bengals Jordan Evans Jersey , while Green has four touchdowns in the same span. Compare that to a zero touchdown-four interception start to 2017, along with a subpar one from Green in the first two games of last season. The defensive line: Yes, Joe Flacco ended up making some big passing plays later in the game, but the big guys up front harassed him all night long. Geno Atkins had two sacks and numerous pressures, while rookie Sam Hubbard joined in with a sack of Flacco of his own. Jordan Willis had a critical fumble recovery, while Dunlap was disruptive, as well. The big boys up front were critical in limiting the Ravens’ rushing attack to just 66 yards on 22 rushing plays—a 3.0 yards-per-carry average. The safeties: Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates III were huge difference-makers on Thursday night. Both had an interception of Flacco, while Williams had a strip-sack in the fourth quarter to help ice the victory. Bates had a chance at two other interceptions, but regardless, they also combined for 11 tackles along with their three forced turnovers.The offensive line: It wasn’t a perfect night up front, as three of the guys had penalties, but they stood strong, for the most part. They let up zero sacks to a Ravens defense that netted six against Buffalo just a week earlier, while also paving the way for Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard to combine for 27 carries and 11 yards (4.1 yards per carry).Heck, even Trey Hopkins filled in at center admirably, which isn’t his top position on the roster:Bill Lazor and his myriad of weapons: Whether it was having the offense get off to a 28-14 first half lead , concocting a scheme to get the ball into eight different receivers, or establishing the run against a stout defense, it was a good night for the team’s offensive coordinator. The trio of tight ends comprised of Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah combined for seven catches and 79 yards, while Green and Tyler Boyd had four touchdowns on the evening. Special teams: Rookie Darius Phillips was the team’s primary punt return man and had 24 yards on two opportunities. Randy Bullock was again perfect on the evening, accounting for 10 points with two clutch second half field goals, while Kevin Huber pinned the Ravens inside their own 20-yard line four times on six kicks. The bad:Letting a big lead slip away: As it was last week with the Colts, Thursday night was a tale of two halves. Cincinnati had four touchdowns in the first half, but John Ross: It was great to see Ross get in the end zone last week, but it’s still clear that both he and Dalton aren’t always on the same page. He did have a reception on Thursday night, but also had a run for minus-three yards and a dropped pass. It seemed like a good night for him to have big plays, given the Bengals’ success in the pass game, but it didn’t happen.Two total receptions on six targets through the first two games isn’t ideal, but he’s essentially in his rookie season, given the time he missed last year. Still, most are waiting for those explosive plays that his college tape and NFL Combine-record 40-time displayed. A disparity in the nerdy stats: Though Cincinnati dominated the first half and came out victorious Bengals Alex Redmond Jersey , there were some stats that still create uneasiness. Cincinnati was beaten by the Ravens in the following statistical categories: total plays (81 to 70), first downs (28 to 24), third down efficiency (43% to 38%) and passing yards (359 to 265). Now, there are a couple of reasons and other takeaways here. Short fields created by turnovers and special teams contributed to the disparities, but some of these have been a week-to-week trend. On the positive, Cincinnati had more turnovers (three to zero) and sacks (four to zero).The ugly:The injuries: Even though the Bengals came up with the win, the game was a veritable bloodbath. Joe Mixon has a knee issue that is going to force him out of the lineup for a couple of weeks, Billy Price is nursing a strained foot, while Michael Johnson sprained a knee ligament. Yikes. The officiating: The crew on Thursday night was incredibly inconsistent in their calls. Both teams suffered some ticky-tack calls, causing frustration from the squads, their fans and casual NFL viewers.

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