Jonah Williams injury disastrous for Bengals, may change their entire approach on season, playing Browns
The Cincinnati Bengals have announced that their first round pick, Jonah Williams, will be out for the season, which marks the sixth first round pick in a row that has missed basically their entire rookie season. Those five players combined for just 144 snaps in their rookie season. Billy Price, last year's first round pick, played 558 snaps last season, but dealt with injuries and it felt like a lost year. This is a franchise with an awful history with injuries. Older Bengals fans remember career altering injuries to rookies Greg Cook and Ki-Jana Carter.
I hate injuries. I want to see players, teams be able to play their best, even opposing teams, to truly get a sense of who the best team is. I feel bad for Bengals fans who have had to endure an annual punch in the stomach taking the wind out of them just as they're trying to feel good about what they're doing.
The fact that they were relying so heavily on a rookie does speak to the fact that the team, totally healthy, had some real talent and could potentially be a frisky team to play against, but a nasty injury to a guy who hasn't played yet has shown the team was a house of cards.
And few teams can absorb that type of injury and not be impacted, but the Bengals in particular felt susceptible. They have some great players, but little if any depth, so they needed basically everything to go right to be competitive.
Beyond the "knock on wood" element of this situation for the Browns and hoping that no one else gets hurt for the Bengals and no one gets significantly injured on the Browns, this does appear to have a real impact on the matchups the Browns have with the Bengals in December.
It wasn't clear and seemed unlikely the Bengals would be relevant in December, might be playing out the string and hoping for draft position at that point, but this might up the pace of that in a major way. Does this give the Bengals and new head coach Zac Taylor the green light to start making the transition to what he believes is his incarnation of the Bengals, which may see players like A.J. Green, Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and Andy Dalton on other teams?
It will be interesting to see if the Bengals look to make a trade before the season starts to add draft assets, cut salary, which is always good news to owner Mike Brown, and really signal the team's intention to look toward the future. For now, the Bengals season feels over before it has started and they don't see the Browns until the final month of the regular season.