To punch their ticket to Houston, the Bengals must focus.
When you just happen to be a team that makes its home on the banks of the Ohio River, you have a lot to prove. The Cincinnati Bengals have come a long way, from the days of orange helmets and Riverfront Stadium. But, they are still in the process of learning how to finish. The key is focus. After that initial focus, they need to focus some more. It’s the earmark of every budding champion.
Andy Dalton started the 2015 campaign like a man on a mission. The reason? He was on a tear, to prove a point. He was focused and aware of what had transpired in previous years. You can’t be within 1,000 miles of The Jungle and not hear the whispers. It was his fifth year with the Bengals. it was time to produce. It was time for a playoff victory.
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He took some time to study under the burgeoning guru of arms. Per Cincy Jungle, Tom House and staff took him in and created a monster. Dalton was ready to change the past.
"“I’ve really dedicated myself to what we’re doing here. I think that’s why I’m a step ahead where I was last year…I feel like this is the best I’ve thrown it. That’s a big reason for it. I’m ready to get back and show everybody what I’ve been doing.”"
What the Red Rifle showed Bengals brass and fans was phenomenal. Bad Andy was tossed into the garbage’ like a discarded toy. New Andy became the standard. There glimpses of the old Dalton. But, they were nowhere near as horrible as prior appearances.
The Bengals have to focus…then focus some more.
There’s a change in the air. It goes beyond the typical OTAs and Minicamp. It all starts for real, in a few weeks. The Bengals have vowed to forget The Game and do what’s necessary, to achieve the next level. To do that, the entire team must be ready for change. The turnaround comes in the form of finishing what’s started and embracing the challenge. Bengals fans want more.
When the Bengals start the season, they’ll be without Vontaze Burfict. As good as No. 55 has proven he can be, he still lacks focus. He’s young, talented and a beast on the field. Bengals faithful are witnessing a throwback to Jim LeClair, when he punishes opposing players. But, with all the accolades, Burfict must still become a cog that meshes with the talent around him.
Burfict doesn’t have to lose the passion and attitude. But, along with 52 other players, he has to be part of a whole. Translation? The Bengals’ sole purpose will be winning the AFC Championship and advancing to Super Bowl LI.
Giovani Bernard understands that passion. But, he knows Tez has to channel it..
"“He’s always on full go. You have to have those guys on your team. He’s one of those guys you say to, ‘You have to relax a little bit.’ But we need that.”"
If Dalton can do it, so can Burfict. Vontaze cut his locs. Could that mean his focus has changed too? A trip to Houston could be in the Bengals future.