Bengals Setting A Premium On Defense

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Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) reacts after a penalty was called against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) reacts after a penalty was called against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Fans are constantly hyped about the Bengals defense. Now, the time has come for the defense to shine.

When most people think of the Cincinnati Bengals, defense isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s usually the offense that grabs attention. The speed and finesse of A.J. Green is what the average football junkie envisions. There are also the casual mentions of Andy Dalton and Tyler Eifert. Cincinnati has been a cauldron of offensive firepower, since the days of Ken Anderson to Isaac Curtis. But things are changing. Defense is suddenly all the rage, on the shores of the Ohio River.

The 2015 campaign was a field goal away from ending the post season drought. A huge part of that success came courtesy of the Bengals defense. They ended the year as one of the NFL’s best. Per ESPN stats, the men in Orange and Black had the No. 2 ranked scoring defense. In 2014, the unit finished just outside of the top 10, grabbing the No. 12 spot.

The emphasis on defense could be seen during the NFL draft. When the Bengals snatched up William Jackson III, they sent a message to the AFC North and the rest of the league. Defense still wins championships. Andrew Billings will no doubt become a force on the D-line and reign as the steal of draft weekend.

The emergence of Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and Adam Jones as Pro Bowlers shows the progression of a team shedding its offensive skin. The Bengals are claiming their place as a defensive juggernaut. Domata Peko was all smiles, when he talked about the addition of the youngsters, via Bengals.com.

"“I’m excited about our defensive line. We’ve got one of the best in the NFL here. But I’m excitedChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sportsto get some young guys in here, to help improve our team. I love what the Bengals are doing. We’re not big on going to get the big name free agents. We build our team through the draft and that’s what we did.”"

Peko is still a force in the trenches. But time waits for no one. Billings has stated his anger over slipping in the draft. This could be the “time” that binds the Baylor grad and the Bengals defenders. Many analysts believed that Billings fall from the earlier rounds was due to his limitations as a pass rusher. Pro Football Focus contradicted the skeptics. They stated he would destroy blockers and push the pocket. Sounds like Billings will be a perfect fit for the Bengals.

Defense has become the earmark of a resurgent Bengals team. The offense will terrorize, as usual. But this may be the year sacks, pressures and interceptions help the home team get over the hump.

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