breaking news

NFL creates new policy to deal with anthem protests

Burfict returns home to middle linebacker


The Cincinnati Bengals have made a change with linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Signed as a middle linebacker out of Arizona State in 2012, Burfict moved to weakside linebacker in Week 3 of his rookie season when starter Thomas Howard went down with a season-ending knee injury. And he had been a starter there ever since, until Sunday.

›› Marvin Lewis discusses Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline

With starting MIKE linebacker Kevin Minter out with an elbow injury, the Bengals elected to move Burfict back to his native spot in the middle.

“He plays the MIKE linebacker in the nickel,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said when asked about the thought process of moving Burfict inside. “He used to be the outside linebacker in base and then he goes to the middle linebacker and nickel and Nick (Vigil) was the outside linebacker. Now he’s just playing MIKE, and that’s what he loves.”

›› Lewis says ref erred on personal foul call Sunday

Burfict finished with eight tackles, the second most on the team, in the 24-23 win against the Colts.

“Some teams will try to get him out of the box, get him out of the way and run it the other way, so now they can’t out-formation us to get him out of the mix of things,” Guenther said. “A lot of the runs will get spilled to the MIKE, and he’s running over the top of things. It’s a natural spot for him. He feels comfortable in there and he’ll be able to play in in both the base and nickel.”

›› Bengals Report Card: Grading the win against the Colts

The move also creates an opportunity for Guenther to get a look at rookie sixth-round pick Jordan Evans, who is better suited to play WIL than MIKE.

While Evans didn’t play a single snap on defense against the Colts, that should change Sunday in Jacksonville.

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

“We’re going to get Jordan Evans some reps in there this week at WIL,” Guenther said. “Really it takes some snaps off of Nick, maybe he can play some in the nickel. The guy (Evans) in practice shows like he showed in the preseason. He got a little dinged up here early in the year so he kind of got left to the side there a little, but now he‘s back healthy and running and we’ve got to utilize his coverage skills. He’s probably the best coverage linebacker.”

Guenther said he isn’t prepared to say whether the change will be permanent because he doesn’t know how long Minter will be out beyond this week.

›› Joe Mixon responds to tweets from Steelers Le’Veon Bell

“Who knows who is going to be available at that point,” he said. “It could be a whole different ball of wax at that point.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Here’s how Arkansas’ new staff compares to its old staff in recruiting
Here’s how Arkansas’ new staff compares to its old staff in recruiting

SEC Country reporter Trent Shadid will answer your Arkansas Razorbacks football recruiting questions each weekday in our recruiting question of the day mailbag. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to  @SECCountryHogs,  @Shadid13 or by email to Trent at  ...
Commitment spree sends Penn State surging in recruiting class rankings
Commitment spree sends Penn State surging in recruiting class rankings

Have Penn State football recruiting questions? Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can ask him your questions on  Twitter or on  Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers  here. Let&rsquo...
How many recruits will Ohio State take in 2019 class?
How many recruits will Ohio State take in 2019 class?

During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our daily feature. To ask Ryan Donnelly a question about Buckeyes recruiting, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday, Wednesday, and Friday...
Iowa’s biggest player disappointment in Kirk Ferentz era
Iowa’s biggest player disappointment in Kirk Ferentz era

We are tackling the best question supplied by Iowa fans each day. If you’d like to submit a question, tweet to Scott Dochterman here. Look for our Iowa Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. Go here to see all of our previous answers. ANSWER: I struggle with criticizing players...
Nebraska recruiting: How many commits will Huskers get this summer?
Nebraska recruiting: How many commits will Huskers get this summer?

Nebraska finished the 2018 recruiting class on a strong note thanks to the efforts of Scott Frost and his staff, but expect the Cornhuskers to take the next step with a successful 2019 class. Land of 10’s Chris Bumbaca will answer a Nebraska recruiting question of the day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday...
More Stories