Though the flashes of “what could be” have been nice, after watching the team drop four winnable game scenarios this season, the fans are now asking if this promise will even be delivered. The receivers have been the bright spot. Andrew Hawkins has been refreshing. Getting to see Tate, Binns, and the rookie receivers get their shot has been exciting, and watching Green is always fun. However, they aren’t all consistent. They have dropped passes, fumbled, and sometimes had a hard time breaking free of defenders. Those are normal mistakes for young and veteran receivers alike. They are just more blaring on the Bengals squad that is heading down a dark path.
The running game, behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis, promised to be great. He had never fumbled and he came from a championship winning team. However, he has been inconsistent and lackluster since putting on the stripes. On the ground, the team cannot seem to get anything going. Green-Ellis has struggled and the promise of what he can bring compared to what he is bringing to the table is leaving the fans scratching their heads.
Then you have Andy Dalton; the playmaker, the promising quarterback, the hero that led the team out of Carson Palmer’s dark cloud in Cincinnati. As the season goes on, though, he is starting to look too familiar to those long time fans. Could it be the red hair? Could it be the hope he gave everyone after an outstanding college career? Or, could it be his turnovers? After Sunday night’s game, Dalton became the second quarterback in Bengals history with an interception in each of his first 7 games of a season. Who is the other quarterback in Bengals history? None other than Palmer, himself.
Then there is the defense. The defense came into the season with possibly more promise than the offense. There were only a handful of NFL analysts that didn’t think the Bengals defense would be ranked in the top five of the league. Then, before the season could even get underway, the injuries began occurring. Guys had to be moved around to different positions and in and out of the lineup.
The defense, however, can be turned around with a few healthy players. There are a couple trouble spots that may eventually need a personnel change, however, midway through the season they still have the most upside on the team, which isn’t very promising. Their rank isn’t in the top 5 or the even the top 10, but they aren’t ranked last either. The defense is ranked 25th in points allowed, 18th in yards allowed and against the pass, and 21st against the run. So the ranking isn’t what was promised, but as the year goes by, it is the one part of the team that can get better when key players come back into the lineup.