The Bengals' Coaching Staff Got It Wrong With Carlos Dunlap

The Bengals got it wrong and Carlos Dunlap is thriving
Author:
Updated:
Original:

CINCINNATI — Carlos Dunlap bolted off the edge and brought down Kyler Murray with ease on Thursday night. 

It was 4th-and-10 with the game on the line and the two-time Pro Bowler made a big play.

The sack clinched the game for Seattle and put them in first place in the NFC West. 

It also sealed the deal for Dunlap. He won the battle with the Bengals' coaching staff. 

The same staff that forced Dunlap to take a diminished role. He was painted to be a villain because he wanted to play. He wanted to contribute and help his team win. 

Instead of doing it in Cincinnati, he's now helping Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. 

"Carlos Dunlap making that last play, that's why we brought him here," Wilson said with a smile after the game.

Dunlap has 12 pressures in three games with Seattle. He has 3.5 sacks and six quarterback hits over that span. 

"It's very exciting. I'm happy to be a part of it," Dunlap said after the game. "I can't go into much detail, but like I said, it's super surreal. It's refreshing. I feel lighter, rejuvenated and I'm exciting to continue to go to work."

Dunlap had some ugly moments during his final days with the Bengals. From posting part of the depth chart on Instagram the day before a game to putting his house on the market moments after the Bengals' Week 7 loss to the Browns.

He is playing at an extremely high level. Much like he did at the end of last season for the Bengals. After a slow start to 2019, he showed this new coaching staff that he could still be a game changer.

Dunlap had eight sacks in Cincinnati's final seven games. 

Despite his late season success, Dunlap never seemed to fit with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. 

He was productive in Week 3 against the Eagles, finishing with nine tackles, one quarterback hit and one pass defensed. Outside of that game, Dunlap didn't do much for the Bengals this season. 

His role diminished and his frustration grew. 

Dunlap is no angel. He complained on social media and in interviews about the coaching staff and the way they were using him. It was immature and it wasn't the right thing to do, but that's how he handled it. 

"It’s a coaching decision," Anarumo said last month following Dunlap's demotion. "That’s where we sit with it. We feel like the guys that are out there in those situations give us the best chance to do well. That’s the only reason."

If that was the reason, then Zac Taylor, Anarumo and the rest of this coaching staff got it wrong. 

The Bengals organization sent Dunlap packing for a seventh-round pick and a backup center. 

They made that trade because one of their model citizens had grown frustrated with his role. He forced his way out of town and his trade value tanked in the process. 

Taylor and Anarumo should apologize to Bengals President Mike Brown because they clearly got this wrong. 

We have a 10-year sample size of Dunlap making plays and sacking opposing quarterbacks at Paul Brown Stadium. He's earned the benefit of the doubt, especially when pitted against an unproven coaching staff. 

Dunlap should be making game-clinching sacks in stripes. That's why Brown signed him to a three-year, $45 million contract extension in 2018. 

Instead, he took a pay cut to play for Seattle. Acquiring Dunlap may have saved the Seahawks' season. He adds an element they desperately needed on defense.

It only took Dunlap three games in Seattle to show the Bengals and the rest of the NFL that he can still play at a high level. The 31-year-old was dominant on the national stage on Thursday night.

The Bengals' coaching staff got it wrong. They better start winning games. That's the only way to survive after dropping the ball like they did with Dunlap. 

For more on the Bengals, including the latest NFL news, go here!