The Cincinnati Bengals need fourth-year defensive end Carlos Dunlap to have a big year in 2013 to prove to everyone they made the right decision giving him a six-year, $40 million contract on July 15. But thus far, the only thing Dunlap has proved is that he’s still as injury-prone as ever after missing an extended portion of the preseason after suffering a concussion early in training camp. It’s unclear as to whether he’ll suit up Saturday vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
Dunlap has a lot of big expectations entering the 2012 season, but after a knee sprain in the preseason sidelined Dunlap for nearly the entire preseason, as well as the Bengals’ first two games, the durability of Dunlap once again reared its ugly head. In his game back last year vs. thee Washington Redskins, Dunlap finished with one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and put a severe beating on Robert Griffin III. The forced fumble came on a devastating hit he put on RGIII deep in the Redskins’ territory that resulted in a Bengals TD and subsequent 24-7 lead in a game they went on to win 38-31.
Like last year, injuries have prevented Dunlap form ever living up to his potential. In 2011, he missed four of the last five games with a hamstring injury. In 2012, he was sidelined for the first two games with a knee strain. This is also Dunlap’s second reported concussion in the NFL. He missed a week of training camp in his 2010 rookie season with one.
Despite Dunlap’s lack of durability and being liability in run-support, its evident that he should be on the field more, as he is clearly the teams’ most efficient pass rusher, but he needs to be able to stay on the field to prove that.