Cincinnati Bengals: Stripe Hype Sunday Round Table
Final Question: Do you think that this Bengals team is an improvement, equal to, or a down grade from last year’s AFC North Championship team? Why?
Norwood: I’d say its equivalent to last year’s team. On defense, there are lots of factors to consider: a secondary that got both older and younger, a front four on defense that have all the talent but several question marks, a linebacker corps that is (for now) without injury, and most important, a new coordinator.
On offense, you have a top tier offensive line but huge questions at center, a deep receiver corps but a regressive as well as emergent tight end duo, and a young thunder and lightning running back tandem that need to prove itself consistently. Consider the aggregate; its equivalent… and that’s pretty good.
David: An improvement. The Bengals game planning will be their most substantial improvement from last year. Going back to his college days, Andy Dalton thrived within a run-first offense. Hue Jackson’s implementation of this approach should benefit the offense as a whole while allowing the team to increase its “time of possession.”
This will allow the team to rely on its stout defense, clearly its best unit, while also giving the defense more time to rest. I like that Marvin Lewis is creating a team that very much resembles the 2000 Ravens team he coordinated for. Naturally we all know the success that team had.
Ty: I think they are about equal. The offense gained in the aspect of a better play caller and a better athlete at the running back position, but at the same time the loss of Mike Zimmer could be the eventual dagger for this 2014 Bengals team.