After pulling right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi from Sunday’s 35-17 loss at New England, Cincinnati Bengals head coach said Ogbuehi will return to his starting role Sunday against Cleveland.
“We expect big things from Ced,” Lewis said of the 2015 first-round draft pick. “We’re going to continue to coach him hard to get it done right, all the time. That’s what he’s expected to do.”
Ogbuehi said the getting benched was difficult, but he understood the move.
“I just have to suck it up and move on and get better from it,” he said. “I have confidence in myself. I know I’m going to get it fixed and every game get better.”
The Bengals made the move late in the third quarter after New England’s Dont’a Hightower sacked quarterback Andy Dalton for a momentum-changing safety.
The safety wasn’t Obguehi’s fault, but on the play before it he got called for holding, which wiped out a third-down completion that would have put the Bengals at their own 30 but instead pushed them back to the 8.
While some questioned the validity of the holding call against Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich, Ogbuehi wasn’t making any excuses.
“I just need to get in better position to not have there be a doubt it could be holding,” he said. “I was trying to run him by, but I was a little too underneath him. I need to get in better position and then do it. I kind of did it a little too late.”
Ogbuehi was replaced by 11-year veteran Eric Winston, who made a point of sitting next to Ogbuehi on the flight home.
“Went through the film and he gave me pointers,” Ogbuehi said. “He’s been through a lot, he’s seen it all. He said his first year was rough.”
This technically is Ogbuehi’s second year, but an ACL injury in his final college game limited him to just a few snaps in jumbo sets during the final five games. The Bengals let starting right tackle Andre Smith go to free agency with the belief that Ogbuehi is the long-term answer at right tackle.
And nothing has changed despite his rough start.
“He’s a really talented guy. He’s going to get it figured out,” quarterback Andy Dallton said. “I believe that. But for him, he’s got to put in the time and effort and really look deep down in himself and make sure he does everything the right way. I don’t expect anything different from him.”
Ogbuehi will benefit not only from having supportive teammates, but guys who have been through the same thing.
“Every one of these young players has had that happen to him at some point,” Lewis said of the benching. “They all come back from it. They all expressed that to him. Russell (Bodine), Kevin (Zeitler), Clint (Boling) all expressed that. There has been some point in their career where they had to stand and watch somebody else do it for a bit to get the focus back in.”
Even Ogbuehi has been through it before.
“Freshman year at college vs. (Texas),” he said. “Playing bad and they took me out. Was a good thing in the long run. Should be like this also. Being a young player, it happens. Guys go through it. Now you just keep going and getting better. Talking to all the guys really helps with positive thinking.”
The Bengals also are hoping it helped for Ogbuehi to go back into the game, even if it was for just the final two plays with the second team after the Patriots had scored their final touchdown with 57 seconds remaining.
”He had some time to sit and think and get back out there a little bit,” offensive coordinator Ken Zampese said. “Hopefully there’s something learned in that.”
Obguehi admitted strength has been an issue when dealing with the bull rush, and he sometimes slips into bad habits and forgets his technique when things aren’t going well.
He knows there will be more mistakes as he continues to learn how to play at this level, but he said he can’t be worried if or when the next benching might come.
“I can’t look over my shoulder,” he said. “Just keep playing.”
Cleveland Browns (0-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
TV: Ch. 7, 12
Radio: 700-AM, 1290-AM, 1530-AM, 95.7-FM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM