Fix The D
When the Bengals tied the 1988 team for most wins in a season, it wasn’t with offense alone. The defense played a huge role in the rise to division champion. But, in 2016, there were a few glaring details that kept the Bengals from being the team fans wanted.
The overall team speed of the defense seemed to suffer. The linebackers looked a step slow and out of breath. Maybe it was due to new conditioning regimens. Coach Jim Haslett wanted everyone close to their rookie weight. Shedding added pounds takes an adjustment period.
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Whatever the situation was, it needs to be corrected. The first half of the season was a struggle for the unit. But, after key players began to play up to expectations, things began to turn around. Once Burfict played himself into shape, he posted stats that were better than his teammates that played the entire year.
The second half of the season was a complete 180. Over the last eight games, the defense played like the squad that fans were used to seeing. The Bengals’ defense went from allowing 23.6 points per game to a more respectable 16.1 over the last eight. Thankfully, everyone seemed to be on the same page.
"“I think we cleaned some things up for the players,” coordinator Paul Guenther explained via Bengals.com. “The players, the new coaching staff got on the same page. We played more together. We just got better every week.”"
To top it all off.
"“We didn’t have as many mental errors, which showed up early in the season.”"
Brown denied the Washington Redskins access to interview Guenther for the same position under Jay Gruden. Keeping the entire staff intact is a step towards stability.