Something Special Shaping Up in Cincinnati


September 23, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end

Jermaine Gresham

(84) reacts with team mates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Bengals defeated the Redskins 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

1988 was the best offense that the Cincinnati Bengals ever had. This 2012 version can rival that. This offense is innovative and built on precision. Dalton has spread the ball around like a surgeon. The sophomore slump may be happening in the NFL, but it’s not affecting the gem of the 2011 quarterback class. Andy has unshakeable confidence.

The young leadership on this team is really impressive, but equally as impressive is the unselfishness. Specifically I’m talking about AJ Green. A super star wide receiver can actually be a detriment if that player doesn’t have the right attitude. Remember the Randy Ratio? How about T.O. and Chad Ochocinco? They actually would be upset if a quarterback wouldn’t throw to them, regardless of double or triple coverage. What a luxury for an accurate passer like Dalton to just sit back and hit the open target.

The defense is currently ranked 29th in the NFL, but there is definitely reason for optimism. They rank 4th in the league in sacks. Dunlap was a force coming off of an injured knee, and Michael Johnson was named AFC Defensive player of the week. Dontay Moch will be coming off suspension next week, and if he applies half the heat on qb’s that he did in the pre-season. This secondary will start looking better immediately. Look for Dan Skuta to be starting at MLB very soon, and if he can just be where he’s supposed to be then that position will be more productive.

Sunday’s game vs. Jacksonville will be viewed as a game the Bengals should win, but a player like Maurice Jones-Drew can change that in a hurry. The NFL is built for parity. Teams that play at a consistent high level will be the teams that go farthest. Playing down to the level of your competition is a sure recipe for 8-8.

It’s going to be a great chance for the team to take the next step. I don’t play for them, so I can look ahead. With games against Miami and Cleveland coming up there is a great chance that the 5-1 Bengals will host the Steelers on Sunday night football with the story line of Andy Dalton still hasn’t beaten a good team. It couldn’t be set up any sweeter, but that won’t happen unless they take it one game at a time.

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