As the Bengals left the field today after suffering a crushing 31-23 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos, a team that was once thought to be a serious threat to rise up and claim the AFC North fell to two games below .500 at the midway point of the season, and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants set to come to town next week fresh of a loss to the Steelers and not having lost back-to-back games this season.
If you watched today’s game, you probably noticed some new faces on the field in the form of a trio of rookies in LB Emmanuel Lamur, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, and center Trevor Robinson, who was actually starting in place of the ineffective Jeff Faine who also played today. Lamur and Kirkpatrick were given snaps mostly on special teams, but the signal was clear. This team is on the verge, if not already in a massive youth movement in hopes of building a bridge to a brighter future in Bengaldom.
The young core of Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Geno Atkins has been surrounded with an even younger crop of raw but talented players like Kevin Zeitler, Vontaze Burfict, Kirkpatrick, Clint Boling, and Mohamed Sanu who have developed this year into legitimate players. Its time to give more reps to guys like Sanu instead of Brandon Tate, and Robinson in place of Faine at least until Kyle Cook returns.
It’s time for a youth movement, because the veterans simply aren’t moving this team.