Bengals C Russell Bodine vs. Ravens DT Haloti Ngata
It’s hard to imagine a rookie debut being more daunting than having to face a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle in one of the loudest stadiums in the league, but that’s what awaits Bodine today.
“I’ve always taken the philosophy it’s not who you’re playing against, it’s about what you do,” Bodine said. “You handle your business, you handle your technique, you’ll be fine.”
Asked if he thinks the rookie is ready for the challenge, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said “He better be. That’s why we drafted him. He has the characteristics we look for and we believe he’s the man for the job.”
The Bengals averaged 3.9 yards per rush in the Week 10 loss at Baltimore last year and 3.7 yards in their victory in the season finale. Ngata was a force in both of those games, registering five tackles and a pass defended in the first contest and seven tackles in the finale.
Dealing with the crowd noise and trying to call out the checks and protections against the various fronts and stunts the Ravens employ will be a big challenge for the 6-foot-3, 310-pound Bodine in his first game, but matching up physically with the 6-4, 335-pound Ngata will be the true test.