Dear Bengals Nation,
Before the official start of the 2013 Cincinnati Bengals season. I would like to personally thank the Bengals organization, the Brown Family, Head Coach Marvin Lewis, and the coaching staff, as well as all those who dedicate their time and lives in keeping the Cincinnati football tradition strong for the legacy of the great Paul Brown, the city of Cincinnati, and Bengals Nation.
I welcome the 2013 rookie class, as well as any new fans the Bengals have gained over these last couple of years. If there is one thing all Bengals fans can agree to, it has been a long tough road for us fans in the jungle. Our time is long overdue for a championship to shut the Pittsburgh’s ”six rings” speech up.
Once again, we take on an intriguing role in Hard Knocks which airs on HBO. Hard Knocks is the reality football show that travels around with the team and documents their history and current status. The problem with this show is it becomes more of an up close and personal with the players where they can be distracted from their agendas on field. Coach Lewis is one who does not personally agree to this and has warned the players if it becomes a distraction to them they will be finding themselves a new job elsewhere. And I agree …
This year is also a special year for the Bengals. It will be Andy Dalton‘s third year in the league, a year that most will consider to be his breakout year. It’s the year where Carson Palmer threw for 3,836 yards with 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while posting a quarterback rating of 101.1, and it essentially became his best year as a quarterback in Cincinnati. Dalton will need to show the fans he can be the future of this team if he wants to keep their support and trust. He will need to match these stats or fans will become hostile and pessimistic very quickly. Cincinnati fans are big on statistics fans, and Palmer is one name they don’t want held over their heads by any Pittsburgh or Cleveland fans in football debates.
This will also be A.J Green’s third year in the league, a year that brought Chad Johnson 1,355 yards and his only 10 touchdown season in his career. Green’s 2012 season bypassed these stats with 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. He should improve on those numbers and become one of, if not the best receiver in the NFL.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals leading tackler was also a rookie in 2012. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict led the team with 73 tackles and 1 sack. I would look for him to break out this year playing next to the veteran and heart of Pittsburgh’s defense for the past 10 years, James Harrison, who was a quarterback-sacking machine with 64 career sacks as a linebacker in the NFL.
Harrison coming off of two sub par performances the last couple of years, but has been working harder than ever in his career this offseason, and looks to redeem himself against the team who let him go. It will be very interesting to watch the Bengals linebackers fighting for starting positions in 2013. Marvin Lewis calls Harrison a plug and play player in Mike Zimmer’s system, and expects Harrison to play a big role on the team this year.
In the trenches of the defensive line, a unit that was one of the best in the NFL in 2012, Bengals Nation can expect to see some great things from Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, and Wallace Gilberry in 2013. Domata Peko and Robert Geathers the Bengals veterans will have to really step it up if they want to keep their positions on this defense. A defense that I have tagged ” The Brotherhood of Hope “, because they are a very humbled and tight group of athletes that are not afraid to give their thanks to the Man upstairs before and after games. God bless you gentlemen.
And God bless the fans this 2013 season. We have come a long way from bags on our head and camping on the billboards until the Bengals won a game. The Brown family promised this city a competitive team during the construction of Paul Brown Stadium. And that they have delivered. Not once, but twice. The first time around we got lost in the excitement of winning. The fans went crazy all around the U.S. and showed the Bengals love they have never seen before, which unfortunately led to issues on and off the field. The Bengals and fans alike were lost in the entertainment of football.
And we lost an amazing athlete in Chris Henry in those times. I want to remind the fans the importance of sportsmanship and respectful fanhood during games. This is the year we must all come together as Bengals nation and act like champions. I want to remember Chris this year while I write to you with the tag #Team15FoLife. To remind everyone, Fans, Players, and Coaches how important it is to keep our composure in overcoming whatever obstacles and adversities that may come our way. This is “OUR” Year Bengals nation. But to become champions, we must act like champions.
Amen and Whooo-Deyyy!