Bengals: Ready To Take The North

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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Taking the AFC North will be a priority, for the Bengals. The countdown starts with Zim and the Minnesota Vikings.

When the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Minnesota Vikings, the circle will be almost complete. On Friday, August 12, the Bengals will start a new chapter. That first preseason game will signal the end of last year’s memories. The Game will become a fading scar and the Bengals will begin their quest for domination of the AFC North. 

He loves the way we play football. He loves the aggressiveness.

Many fans still taste the sour fruit of January 9. It’s a day that will forever haunt the faithful who follow the Bengals. But, there are tons of reasons to believe the Men in Stripes will take the division again. This time, the results will be different. The cast of characters is the same. Yet, there will be a burning desire to get things done. The desire to win is at an all-time high.

Take a few moments to remember why this team has the firepower to get it done. Owner Mike Brown, head coach Marvin Lewis, and Duke Tobin have stocked the roster. The talent is there. The skill set is one of the best in the NFL.

The D

Unless you took the year off to immerse yourself in a monastery, you know the Bengals defense was off the chain. No, they didn’t get to the Super Bowl. But, the defensive presence was amazing. The D started the year with an attitude and it grew from there.

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Paul Guenther’s scheme was executed to perfection. How good were they? Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins hooked up to anchor the most feared D-line in the league. Dunlap chimed in with a franchise-record 13.5 sacks. Atkins, his partner in crime, regained his 2012 form. He roasted QB’s to the tune of 12.5 sacks, that year. He finished with 11, last season.

Although the defense lost some key veterans, i.e., Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson, the unit should weather the storm. The attitude is back. Brown likes the intensity of the players. But, he’s not a fan of the mistakes. Adam Jones gave the skinny, via Cincy Jungle.

"“When you have the owner coming to the team meeting, to tell you he loves the way we play football, he loves the aggressiveness, don’t stop the way we play football, but stop with the stuff after the whistle, it’s different than another guy than the one coming at us who’s paying our checks.”"

Get ready for controlled chaos.

Did someone say offense?

Stop worrying about the wide receiver situation. It’s not as dire as rumors make it. Brandon LaFell is looking like a solid, big target in camp. With Tyler Eifert healing, Andy Dalton may have found another go-to guy.On the Bengals depth chart, Tyler Boyd is listed as the first backup. Cody Core is looking like a great steal. He’s making a serious push for playing time.

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The tight end position will be fine. C.J. Uzomah is ready to step up. Dalton has confidence in Eifert’s temporary sub.

“C.J. over the middle, he’s going to be open. He scores touchdowns,” said Dalton, per Bengals.com. “Being a big body guy, he was open. C.J. has a great feel for the game. He understands what we’re trying to do.”

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During the Bengals Family Day workout, O-coordinator Ken Zampese looked flawless. The calls were vintage Dalton-Green era. Substitutions flowed effortlessly.

The Bengals are just a few days away from meeting Mike Zimmer and his madness. That should be a tuneup before taking the North.

Next: Built To Win

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