How the Cincinnati Bengals constructed a workforce to win the division’s title in 2008-2009

– Their No. 1 franchise quarterback dropped out for much of the season, making way for a young substitute who moved from the team that drafted him and kept the Bengals in games with his intelligence. In 2008, it was Ryan Fitzpatrick who replaced Carson Palmer for 12 games. By the time the Rams left the tackle, Whitworth was also a teammate from Burrow Reliever Brandon Allen, who was celebrating its fifth start to the year.

“B has a great attitude towards him,” says Whitworth. “He’s a tough boy.”

– With their left tackle (Whitworth-Jonah Williams) who joined the quarterback on an injured reserve, the defense hit year-round.

The 2008 season ended with the start of cornerback Johnathan Joseph, the start of the defensive end Robert Geathers, the start of Safety Dexter Jackson, the start of linebacker Keith Rivers and the rotating defensive end Frostee Rucker in the injured reserve while their most expensive free agent in history, the defensive end of Antwan Odom, was limited to eight starts.

Fast forward to 2020 and their three defensive tackles against the injured reserve, including their perennial pro bowler Geno Atkins and their most expensive free agent of all time, Nose Tackle DJ Reader. And Trae Wayne’s corner never came onto the practice field.

“We were still pretty strong defensively,” said Crocker of what was then and now. “We played our bums off. Even though our record wasn’t very good, we kicked the bum out there. We had a lot of fun defending it. That’s the only thing I remember. That was the mentality. Forget the record . ” , just go out there and hit people. “

Does that sound familiar to you with the 20-man defense, which forced four large sales in the last two games and kept the teams to 20 points or less four times in the last six games?

– And if not, what about the added load on the 20-man team that has played without two-time 1000-yard rusher Joe Mixon for the last ten games? How about ’08 when the Bengals didn’t run a bell cow until Cedric Benson signed on September 30th and the running game wasn’t warmed up until December, he ran 100 yards each in the last two games? The Bengals prepare for the starving Ravens Pass Rush with running games of 152 and 169 yards.

“A lot of people had come back that 2009 season. Carson. J. Joe. People down the line who were injured,” says Crocker. “When you looked at Cincinnati, they had a lot of talent with those first round picks and eventually it would show and we had a run from ’09 to (2015). We had to build it up, but once we got it started we got it going.

“We had a lot of people who played (in ’08) and benefited from that experience. These guys were very, very good backups at the end of the day. Very, very good role-players. In ’09 and ’10 and after we had a lot of depth in these positions. “

Whitworth, who has missed the last six games with a knee injury, will be retired on Sunday. But he’s hoping the Rams will win so he can return for next week’s wild card. In 2008, he was the Bengals left guard who switched to left tackle after Levi Jones was overthrown. In the last six games he was out with an ankle injury.

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