The Cincinnati Bengals are desperately looking for a No. 2 receiver to lineup opposite star wideout A.J. Green after Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu both left town during the offseason. Rookie Tyler Boyd might be the answer.
Boyd caught two passes for 38 yards and a touchdown during Cincinnati’s 30-14 preseason victory over the Detroit Lions Thursday night. His stat line might not look flashy, but his work ethic certainly does.
“Yeah, awesome player, does an awesome job of being in the right place, knowing what to do and how to do it and you can’t say enough good things about ‘T.B.’ I mean, he’s a workhorse and he listens to everything,” Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron said after the game. “If I have anything to say he’s always all ears and doesn’t question it. He’s awesome, can’t say enough good things about him.”
That’s high praise for the second-round pick out of Pittsburgh. Coach Marvin Lewis’ review was more muted than McCarron’s, but was still complimentary.
“Well, he understands how to play football and does a good job,” Lewis said. “He’s taking advantage of the opportunity he gets.”
The key word there is “opportunity.” Cincinnati’s pantry is barren of playmakers at receiver. Jones and Sanu combined to catch 98 passes last season. Cincinnati’s next leading wide receiver was Brandon Tate, who had two receptions. Second-year pro Mario Alford is the only other player on Cincinnati’s current roster who caught a pass for the Bengals last season, and he caught one ball.
The Bengals brought in veteran Brandon LaFell to help supplement the group, but LaFell struggled mightily at times with the New England Patriots in a similar role. LaFell caught 37 passes for 515 yards and was remembered more for the passes he didn’t catch than anything else. If LaFell couldn’t make it with Tom Brady and Co., how much can he really bring to the table in Cincinnati?
So, even though he’s a rookie, Boyd has as good a chance as anyone to take the field as a starter come Week 1, as long as he continues to take advantage of the his remaining opportunities.