As it always is, the preseason was filled with injuries this year. From big name players like Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater all the way down to the no-name players just trying to make a roster, injuries spare no one.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, they certainly were not spared of the dreaded injury bug this offseason. They’ve been without Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert for some time now, and several other players went down with minor problems as well.
But one injury will impact the Bengals’ season more than the others. One player that may not be a household name, but he brings more to Cincinnati than just about any other player on the team.
That person is Cedric Peerman.
Now if you haven’t followed the Bengals closely over the past few years, at this point you are probably wondering who the heck Cedric Peerman is and what difference it makes if he’s hurt. After all, he is a running back and the Bengals have two excellent runners (Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard) already healthy and ready to go. So if you didn’t know any better, it would seem like Peerman’s injury is a minor one for their team.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Because the injury to Peerman is actually devastating to the Bengals and leaves them with a huge void they have to attempt to fill.
The bottom line is that Peerman isn’t the flashiest of players, and he doesn’t produce explosive stats for a team. He has just 64 carries for 334 yards rushing during his six seasons with the Bengals combined.
But what he does bring to Cincinnati is the intangibles. Whether it is blocking for the quarterback on third-down or sprinting downfield on special teams to win the field position battle by a few yards, Peerman gets it done.
Ultimately, those little things add up and are usually the difference between winning and losing in the NFL. And for the last six years, Peerman has been there behind the scenes making sure those little battles were always won by the Bengals. It’s a large reason why they have won 52 games over the last five seasons and made the playoffs five years straight.
Now, don’t just take my word for it. If you truly want to know how important Peerman is to the Bengals, then listen to special teams coach Darrin Simmons. He knows how huge the loss is and reiterated that it will take multiple Bengals to make up for it.
“It’s a huge loss. He’s a Pro Bowl player. He’s the quarterback in a lot of areas, so it’s a big loss for us,” Simmons said. “Playing these preseason games, that’s the part that sucks. It can happen at anytime, I get that, but you just hate for one of your good players to get hurt like that…”
Now hopefully for Simmons and the Bengals, Peerman will be able to recover in time to play in the 2016 season. He suffered a fractured forearm late in the preseason, and the normal timetable for a return from this type of injury would put him back in the lineup towards the end of the season.
So even if Cincinnati is forced to wait until late in the season for his return, they still desperately need him if they want to make a push for their first playoff victory since 1990.
Because Peerman is not only the team’s best special teams player and a Pro-Bowl caliber player, he’s also a captain that makes sure the Bengals are in the best position to win each week.
And players like that are very hard to come by.