Last season, the Bengals’ defense was a top-tier unit. Can lightning strike twice? Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is positive it will.
When the Cincinnati Bengals started the 2015 season, there were few doubts about the offense. With Andy Dalton coming of age and AJ McCarron fulfilling his backup duties, the Bengals offense delivered. The only thing some analysts didn’t foresee was the play of the defense. Playing at a top-tier level, the Bengals fielded a defense that surprised fans and opponents. They’re quietly building another monster.
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As the 2016 campaign gets underway, a few questions have to be answered. Will the Bengals have the same firepower, without Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu? Can the offense find the running game that seemed to disappear? Throw in the injury to Tyler Eifert and the optimism seems to fade.
Fear not, Bengals faithful. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has heard your cries. His reply to the inevitable question of the year is simple. There are no exceptions. The theme is straightforward.
"“I’m not here to win a playoff game. Obviously, we still have to win our home games, we still have to win the AFC North, so I’m not overlooking that, but when we come in here on Thursday and the players are sitting in those seats in those meeting rooms, we have one goal in mind. And that’s it. Win the Super Bowl.”"
There you have it.
Per Cincy Jungle, Guenther loaded the answer with buckshot and let loose. If there was any underlying doubt, the fiery Bengals coach put them to rest. The Bengals are building another championship D. This year, the defense will be expected to go beyond the norm. The demons of January 9 will be officially put to rest. In a sense, the Bengals’ defense will be leading the way.
Training camp will be a subtle reminder for the defensive players. They will be asked to build upon the numbers that were established during 2015. Since the offseason, Bengals players have been eager to prove themselves. There has been heightened focus on the upcoming campaign and how they will move to the next level. Fans understand that the clock is ticking and so do the warriors.
Nevermind the fact that the Bengals have had a coaching staff turnover. The new and returning coaches will be able to convey the only message necessary. It’s time to become a championship caliber defense. It’s time to realize that the Bengals defense is one of the most feared on the NFL. That simply means it’s Super Bowl or bust.
Each defensive coach shares the same philosophy. There’s no rush to explain how the Bengals method of dominance works. There’s merely the task of getting the verbiage to mesh. During Guenther’s three-year reign over the defense, the Bengals have shown their metal. If not for a few whistles and penalties, during the Wild Card game, the Bengals’ defense was poised to be the hero.
Are Guenther and Marvin Lewis creating another monster? They already have champions. They just have to prove it, in 2016.