With the Bengals’ CB corps thinned because of injuries, the club has had to lean heavily on reserves Terence Newman and Adam Jones the past two weeks. With the Bengals down to just three cornerbacks in Week Four, Jones and Newman played all but one snap in Cincinnati’s 27-10 victory on Sunday, and the Bengals’ pass coverage held up quite well, with Jacksonville registering a mere 143 net passing yards. While a fierce pass rush surely helped the secondary, what with the Bengals racking up six sacks, the Bengals allowed only one pass play of more than 20 yards. What’s more, the cornerbacks did not allow a TD pass.
Newman, 34, has started on both the right and left side the past two weeks, and he has played nearly 79 percent of the Bengals’ snaps through four games. “Terence has (begun) to relax a little bit more and just play, and that’s a good thing,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Monday.
Jones, like Newman a former first-round pick, does not lack for natural ability, but he has played cornerback in recent years only sporadically, with injuries and off-field issues two primary reasons. “I think each and every time out there, he’s consciously trying to do everything the way we’re asking him to do it, and it’s paying off for him,” Lewis said of Jones, 29.
The Bengals tried to build up their CB depth in the offseason, and they have had to draw from it early, with Leon Hall, Nate Clements, Jason Allen and Dre Kirkpatrick all missing time with injuries. It hasn’t always been pretty in the first quarter of the season, but the defense has overcome significant adversity at cornerback.