How The Bengals Can Reclaim The AFC North

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In 2016, Andy Dalton became just the second QB-- Carson Palmer -- in franchise history to tally multipe 4,000-yard seasons. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
In 2016, Andy Dalton became just the second QB-- Carson Palmer -- in franchise history to tally multipe 4,000-yard seasons. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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How The Bengals Can Reclaim The AFC North
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

An off-year saw the Bengals struggle to a losing record and concede the AFC North to the Steelers. What do they need to reclaim the crown?

The offseason has barely gotten underway but Bengals’ brass is well aware of what didn’t happen. What was supposed to be a turnaround year for Cincinnati transformed into their worst performance since 2010. That year, the Bengals posted a 4-12 record before the ship was righted and the Dalton-Green era came to life. But, the problem goes farther than the 6-9-1 record that fans suffered through.

Not only did the Bengals concede the AFC North crown to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they looked absolutely mediocre doing it. The high-powered offense that had been a threat to NFL defenses was suddenly grounded. Most of the carnage was achieved by a lack of red zone offense. Tyler Eifert was absent for the first six weeks of the season. Andy Dalton had new weapons to use but he was also under the guidance of a new offensive coordinator.

Without the leadership of Vontaze Burfict for three weeks, the Bengals’ defense looked lost. Players were out of position and generally looked confused and dazed. In other words, the defense wasn’t the championship unit that helped the Bengals tie a franchise record by going 12-4 in 2015.

If the Bengals are going to reclaim the AFC North crown, there are a few things that need to be addressed. Fortunately, the coaching staff will be returning in one piece. The loss of quality position coaches was overlooked as a reason Cincinnati suffered in certain areas. Looking ahead to the 2017 season, here are some upgrades that will definitely help.

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