This off-season seemed to begin on a very slow note for Cincinnati, angering many of the fans, including myself. The attitude could be summed up by saying, “ We’re coming off of two great years for the franchise, making back-to-back playoffs appearances, and now we’re just going to be content with that?” Or at least, that was my opinion at first.
What I slowly realized was that the front office was quietly having quite the productive off-season. The idea was simply to resign as many important skill players as they could.
Heading into the 2013 season, it is certainly an exciting idea to consider that basically all of our key players on defense are returning. The same players on the same defense that could potentially lead the NFL next year. It’s certainly a shoe-in for the top-five.
Especially after we’ve become even nastier. Once we identified the one thing that we were missing, a vocal leader, we promptly went out and found the scariest, most fear-injecting, manhandling person left in the NFL.
If you call yourself a Bengals fan and somehow didn’t know this, you are welcome to let out a collective gasp at this time.
I certainly did when I first heard of the signing.
The point is that once our defense was solidified by eleven of the best, even underrated, players in the league, we used the draft to address the offense and help Dalton.
It started with the selections of Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard in the first two rounds. The first player gives Dalton a large target with phenomenal hands, especially in the red zone. The second gives the young quarterback an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield in addition to being a speedster for the running game.
This is not to mention all his other targets. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu will quickly become fantastic complements to A.J. Green, as they had just enough time to develop a chemistry with Dalton with limited starting time.
In my opinion, the second WR position will likely be Sanu’s to lose, as head coach Marvin Lewis seemed to indicate. Still, Jones will certainly see extended playing time and will look to make it count.
Comparisons have been drawn between Cincinnati and the Patriots’ offense with two potential stars at the tight end position. While this comparison may be a little misplaced, the Bengals now have the all-around talent to create a full-scale west coast pass attack, and also to give Andy Dalton a shot at one heck of a third year in the NFL.
Dalton didn’t necessarily have a sophomore slump last year; it was more so of a five-game problem.
With everything that’s happened in Cincinnati since then, don’t expect to see the same problem again.