The Cincinnati Bengals enter 2016 with a new focus, a new offensive coordinator, new players, and a brand new attitude.
The Cincinnati Bengals were less than 90 seconds away from winning their first playoff game in almost 25 years. It was spoiled on the most odd set of events that followed, but it seems like all of that was year ago and this is a new team with a brand new mindset.
The Bengals drafted depth, starting potential, and future franchise players. They signed a couple of veterans who were bought into what the Bengals are doing before even signing deals with the team. Players like Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell, and Karlos Dansby bring a refreshed look to the Bengals roster, as well as, new and determined look to bring more than just a playoff win to Cincinnati,
The Bengals have been surrounded with potential distractions this off-season. Vontaze Burfict was suspended and then appeal upheld without a proper hearing and backing from the NFL Players Association. Steelers players continued to try to through distractions with words and pointing blame. Then free agency saw key players like Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu to find the exit, just when the Bengals seemed to be firing on all cylinders.
Hue Jackson left to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and the offense seemingly is starting over, another distraction right? Ken Zampese, like Hue Jackson came from within. As the quarterbacks coach, he already has a solid relationship with Andy Dalton and his skill players. Now it is time to put it all together again, just like Jackson did after Jay Gruden’s departure.
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This Bengals team has a brand new attitude, it is no longer about just getting over the five straight one and done playoff losses, but redeeming and avenging their early exit from last season with a run towards the super bowl.
Guys like Vontaze Burfict, Adam “Pac-man: Jones, and Jeremy Hill had a taste of what a winning post season team felt like. Although only for a short time, these guys want more, and are hungry enough to make it happen. This kind of attitude has not been there since the 80’s. It is a kind of attitude that the Bengals have been looking for.
2016 is just another year in a lifetime, but for this Bengals team, it feels like they are investing it all for one goal. The question remains, will this be the year of the tiger?