Men’s Cincinnati Bengals Tyler Eifert Nike Orange Game Jersey

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As the Cincinnati Bengals move closer toward the offseason, the status of Tyler Eifert remains murky at best.

Eifert, who is already on injured reserve, is recovering from multiple surgeries he’s undergone this season. He originally went on injured reserve due to back surgery, but he later had a cyst removed from his knee in November.

Those two operations have made Eifert’s rehabilitation a long process that’s bleeding into the offseason, and possibly his free agency in March.

On Monday, Eifert posted an update on his recovery, where he revealed that he’s not even running yet, though he is doing work on the rehab bike:

This season, Eifert played in Week 1-2 with one start and had four catches for 46 yards. He was inactive for Weeks 3-5 due to the back injury, which has since ended his season.

Eifert is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March. The Bengals do have the option to use the franchise tag on him, but after having multiple surgeries since the start of the regular season, it’s really hard to see them using it.

If Eifert has played his final game in Bengals stripes, he’ll finish out in Cincinnati with 127 catches for 1,527 yards and 20 touchdowns. But the theme of his time in Cincinnati will be the onslought of injuries suffered in his five years in the Queen City.

Eifert never managed to play a 16-game season in five years. By the end of this season, Eifert will have played in just 39 of a possible 80 games.

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The Bengals went down in humiliating fashion for the second week in a row. Here are four things we learned from the debacle that took place in Minnesota.
Paul Guenther and Bill Lazor blew a huge opportunity

The Bengals’ top assistant coaches looked the most likely internal candidates to replace Marvin Lewis. However, Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons might be the next Bengals head coach. As that report surfaced, one would think that Guenther and Lazor would want to give a good showing against the Vikings.
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Both coaches blew this opportunity to make an impression. The Bengals were completely outmatched on both sides of the ball. The defense suffered from poor organization, blown assignments, and missed tackles. 346 yards of offense and four touchdowns don’t even begin to describe how out of hand this game was.

Offensively, the only touchdown was scored in garbage time, aided by the great field position given to them by the Shawn Williams interception. The Bengals had to wait until the second quarter before getting a first down and until the third to cross the 50-yard-line.

This game was a complete embarrassment for everyone who had something to prove. Simmons’ special teams was the only unit that was even remotely in the game.

Guenther and Lazor really needed to look good. Even if it’s not for Cincinnati’s head coaching vacancy, they might find themselves out of a job if Mike Brown and the new head coach clean house. If other teams looking for new assistants might watch this game, they will almost assuredly keep looking elsewhere.
The depth at linebacker is not that deep

One of the most surprising stats from the game is that Minnesota running back tandem of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon gained 142 receiving yards. Compare that to their 100 rushing yards. That’s the linebackers’ fault.

McKinnon ran rampant through the Bengals defense thanks to total confusion and chaos on defense. The injuries to Bengals linebackers have taken their toll, and the Vikings took full advantage.

Now, with Vincent Rey possibly out for the rest of the season, the Bengals are going to try to put any warm bodies they can out on the field. Vontaze Burfict did not pass concussion protocol, Nick Vigil is still out, and Kevin Minter was still nursing a sore hamstring. If the Bengals were to play again tomorrow, they would have to start Jordan Evans, Hardy Nickerson, and Brandon Bell at linebacker.

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Though Evans made the 53-man roster out of training camp, he has mostly been relegated to special teams until injuries forced him to play defense. Nickerson and Bell were recently signed off the practice squad. None of the three linebackers looked impressive in Minnesota.

Even though Evans tipped a pass that resulted in Shawn Williams’ interception, the first three quarters were less than spectacular for him or for Nickerson. Starting at the weak side and strong side, respectively, Nickerson moved to the middle when Rey was injured. Both Evans and Nickerson were responsible for many of the missed tackles and blown assignments.

If Burfict doesn’t return, then Nickerson will be the quarterback of the defense at middle linebacker. Perhaps Burfict will go back to his natural position at the weak side if he does, and Nickerson will still be calling plays. No offense to Nickerson, but the Bengals don’t want someone who has only been with the first team for a few weeks to anchor the defense.

Hopefully, the Bengals will go out and sign a free agent that can walk in and start to alleviate some of the pressure from the young players. They did not stand up to the pressure against the Vikings. Hopefully, they can survive the Lions.
Shawn Williams will have to step up in a huge way

Williams might be the only player in the back seven that has regular starting experience. He needs to continue his run of dominance against the NFC North against the Lions.

Even though William Jackson was out there shutting down everyone he lined up against, Williams was doing just about everything else. He was locking down the opposition in the passing game, making tackles at the line of scrimmage, and nabbing the only takeaway of the game. He was the second-highest ranked player according to PFF behind only Geno Atkins.

Now with George Iloka injured, Williams will be out there all by himself leading a young group of defensive backs and linebackers.
The Bengals are going to miss Cedric Ogbuehi

That felt wrong. Anyways…

After Ogbuehi was injured on a play that resulted in a sack, Eric Winston came in to protect Andy Dalton’s weak side. OK, maybe protect was not the right word, since we found out why Winston was available halfway through the season.

It seems weird that there is a left tackle that makes Ogbuehi look good, yet here we are. Winston gave up a sack and several hurries in only three quarters of work. Stuck with only Winston and Andre Smith, which would not be a bad tandem if it were 2012, the Bengals would do well to reach out in free agency and get some depth (though some talent would be nice, too).

Youth Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman Nike Gray Alternate Game Jersey

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Two days before the NFL world watched in horror as Tom Savage was allowed back into the game after appearing to suffer a concussion, Esquire published an interview with Richard Sherman, the veteran cornerback. In the interview, he was asked if the league had made strides with head injuries.

His response?

No, the league hasn’t done much outside of appeasing public opinion. Now, you get a hard hit, fine players a bunch of money, suspend guys. But it’s more punishing players than it is player safety, and putting more money into league charities, et cetera. It’s not really changing the game or making it cheap nfl jerseys for sale more safe. Obviously there are still players going back into the game after head injuries and after huge collisions. Guys go unreported. But to appease public opinion, and to make the fans continue to watch the game and the product, they went out and made all these rules. Now we have a guy on the sideline. That’s not for safety, that’s for public opinion.

While the NFL has spent tens of millions and changed rules to address the problems of head injuries, it was clear on Sunday that it’s not enough — or at least not foolproof. According to USA TODAY Sports’ Nancy Armour, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the league’s chief medical officer was reviewing Savage’s injury.

Of course, Sherman’s past comments help show what a complicated problem it is. In 2013, he admitted to hiding a concussion — and said it had paid off for him. And in a 2016 interview with GQ, Sherman said that the fear of concussions doesn’t change the way that he plays.

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“It doesn’t change the way I play. I’ve always tried to tackle with the best form, and not try to always get people down on the ground without using my head. But it doesn’t change the way I think about the game or how I feel about my kids playing the game. I feel like this game has given me a lot more than its taken. It obviously takes a toll on your body and you understand the risks going into it, but you also have to understand that it’s taught me discipline, hard work, teamwork, being dependable, being available, how to be a leader, how to work past adversity. Just so many things that you use in your everyday life. And you can’t take that for granted. So maybe my son doesn’t end up being a professional athlete, maybe he never even plays a sport, but I wouldn’t hold him back from something that’s been so great to me.
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He’s also been critical of other ways the NFL has addressed player safety — in 2016, he penned a Players’ Tribune article about the dangers of Thursday Night Football.

I just don’t understand why the NFL says it’s taking a stand on player safety, then increases the risks its players face by making them play on Thursday, before their bodies are ready.

My Seahawks teammates and I are playing in one of the last Thursday night games of the season this week, so we’re one of the last teams to be exploited in 2016. One of the last to be taken advantage of. One of the last to get the middle finger from the NFL.

But as long as the NFL is using that same finger to count Thursday Night Football dollars, I don’t think it really cares.

His 2017 season ended prematurely after he ruptured his Achilles playing in the very Thursday Night Football games he had warned about.