Bengals Defensive Players Appear to be Frustrated About Role for the Second Straight Week
CINCINNATI — Veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap expressed his frustration with the Bengals coaching staff last week after they took him out of the starting lineup.
The two-time Pro Bowler told reporters that he wouldn't be starting.
"It sounds like it's not going to be me in there," Dunlap said. "I think they want a different run stopper. I think I can give that to them."
"It just seems like this is what the coaches want. I don't know what the thought is, but evidently, focus on third down. So we've got to get them to third down with the young boys and do what I'm asked to do."
One week later a few more Bengals' players appear to be frustrated with their role on defense.
Cornerback Darius Phillips went to Twitter to voice his frustrations
"Don't waste talent," he tweeted on Thursday night. The third-year defensive back followed that up with "especially mine" on Friday afternoon.
Safety Shawn Williams chimed in with a simple "mine either."
It isn't clear if these tweets are about their role on the team, but that appears to be the case.
Phillips played well last week against the Ravens. He was the Bengals' highest-graded defender according to Pro Football Focus (83.4). He had two batted passes.
Despite the stellar performance, there's a chance that Phillips won't be one of the Bengals' three starting corners on Sunday against the Colts.
Starting nickel cornerback Mackensie Alexander is set to return after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. Phillips kicked inside in Alexander's absence and LeShaun Sims became the starting outside corner opposite William Jackson III.
There's a chance the Bengals told Phillips that Sims would remain their starting outside corner.
The veteran appeared to have an edge over Phillips in training camp, but Sims missed multiple practices due to personal reasons and fell behind.
Williams is still adjusting to his new role on defense. The veteran is primarily a special teamer with Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell getting most of the reps at safety. Williams was on the field for 13 defensive snaps in Week 5 against the Ravens.
Phillips' frustration is understandable if he did get demoted. It doesn't make much sense from a football standpoint.
If Phillips is the Bengals' fourth cornerback on Sunday, then he should return every punt. He's electric with the ball in his hands. He could give them a boost on special teams.
Maybe Phillips and Williams were talking about ping-pong and not football, but they're clearly frustrated about something.
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