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Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 Key to Victory Is Trey Hendrickson

Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End Trey Hendrickson is key in week 1

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson was a big addition to bolster the team’s pass rush in 2021. With the departure of Carl Lawson, the Bengals turned to Hendrickson for his role as a sack specialist. The Bengals thought so much of Hendrickson they signed him to a four-year, $60 million deal with $32 million coming in the first two years. Lou Anarumo is counting on edge rushers Sam Hubbard and Hendrickson to provide immediate impact beginning Week 1 versus the Minnesota Vikings.

Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End Trey Hendrickson Is Key in Week 1

In the last several years the Bengals pass rush has been non-existent, though the team has had sparse production from defensive starters as a whole. Lawson did have some solid seasons when healthy but was also inconsistent. But in Hendrickson, the Bengals hope to have consistency in providing pressure and getting sacks to close out games. The Bengals sack percentage from last year was three percent which was dead last in the NFL. The addition of Hendrickson coupled with new defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and a healthy D.J. Reader could provide a headache for Kirk Cousins in the Bengals opening game of the 2021 season.

The Tape

Hendrickson has really blossomed in his pass rush abilities and total repertoire the last two seasons. Last year Hendrickson put up  13.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss opposite Cameron Jordan. Some may argue that Hendrickson’s success is largely based on him benefitting from having had Jordan on the other side. While that does not hurt, Hendrickson can hold his own without Jordan.

Bengals color commentator Dave Lapham, notes how quick and fluid Hendrickson is off the end while also setting a solid edge in the running game. Being an every-down player is also Hendrickson’s calling card and adds to his value as the game wears on. Hendrickson can additionally deliver some devasting hits to quarterbacks. One of his better games was when he delivered multiple hits and a sack against Patrick Mahomes. Finally, even against pro-bowler Eric Fisher, Hendrickson is always looking to try to dislodge the ball and cause a turnover.

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Bengals Defense Needs To Finish in Week 1

The Vikings and Cousins provide a real test for the Bengals defense right from the jump. Offensively the Vikings running and passing games can both be lethal at times. Cousins can get hot when in a rhythm and Dalvin Cook is a threat both in the running and passing game. The wide receiving duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen is among the NFL’s best and most dangerous.

The key to Week 1 for the Bengals is getting pressure and sacks on Cousins and getting the Vikings offense off the field. The Bengals defense may have a tall task but they have been entirely revamped in Anarumo’s third year. Much like head coach Zac Taylor, he has his guys and scheme in full effect. Hendrickson needs to play well and has to step up to be the player the Bengals envisioned. He is good enough to create pressure and cause havoc on his own to help the Bengals win games. The team hopes it begins right away.

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