The Cincinnati Bengals are making huge strides. If you haven’t decided what team to root for, consider riding with the Orange and Black.
It’s not too early to choose. In fact, if you do it now, you’ll have bragging rights with your friends. The Cincinnati Bengals are making strides this year. The passionate Wild Card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers has lit a flame. Yes, I know. The fire has been burning for a while. But, this is the year to stockpile your popcorn stash and get ready. This is the quite possibly the best assembly of Bengals since 1988.
It’s been said before.The Bengals get followers frenzied, raise expectations and then bring everyone crashing back to earth. The 2016 campaign has echoes of years past, but the fresh footprints of a bright future. There are signposts ahead (cue the music and use your best Rod Serling voice) that give clues to what the Bengals have in store for the NFL.
Doubters beware. Cincinnati will be making some positive moves, on their quest to get the Lombardi. It may seem as if it’s the same ol’ song and dance. Yet, the vibe is different and the star performers are ready to seal the deal for the city. The ride may not be as smooth as some may like. But, the end result will be a thing of beauty. Let’s look at three reasons to get your ticket punched.
Anyone with a heartbeat and faint brainwaves has to understand this reasoning. Andy Dalton has come of age under the offensive scheme and proved it last season.His numbers were–to say the least–staggering. He rebounded from the mediocrity of years past to post amazing numbers.
Let’s give The Ginger some due credit. His completion ratio has always been above average, per ESPN stats. Where he made his leap was in QBR (73.1), interceptions (7), and passer rating (106.3). He was two TDs shy of his personal best, with 25. What’s his motivation? Dalton made the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2016, landing at No. 35. Yet, he still gets no respect. Why? The playoff losses and no ring. Look for that anger to make The Red Rifle hotter than ever.
The X Factor
Before you scratch your head, the television show isn’t auditioning Bengals. What you will witness is a hungry, disciplined defensive unit, led by capable hard-nosed coaches. Adam Jones, Vontaze Burfict and the rest of the D are already throwback passionate. With the direction of Jim Haslett, the Old School mentality will rock opponents’ socks off.
The addition of Karlos Dansby definitely doesn’t hurt. He’s read to get a ring and turn up the intensity level. How do we know Dansby is ready to smash his way to the Super Bowl? After being released by the Cleveland Browns, his first choice was the Bengals. He made negotiations quick and painless. He’s thirsty for that silver trophy.
Yes, you read it right. Marvin Lewis will give the Bengals a serious shot at going all the way to Houston. If any coach in the NFL has a target on his head, it’s Lewis. Mike Brown brought him back for a reason. Lewis is a savvy and bright coach. He knows how to build a winning franchise. When it’s all done, Bengals faithful just might see Lewis in a GM position under Brown.
Get those snacks ready. If you’re riding with the Bengals, you’re going a long way.