Why The Bengals Face An Uphill Battle In 2017

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Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Why The Bengals Face An Uphill Battle In 2017
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

Things To Prove

When Rex Burkhead became a Patriot, it was a slap in the face to many Cincinnati fans. It was a continuing sign that Brown and the Bengals are willing to let talent walk away. It has to end. With the start of the new year, this team has a lot to prove.

Jeremy Hill is a key factor. Hill has underachieved since 2014. That’s not to say he’s been a bust. But, he hasn’t been the force that the Bengals need to get a balanced attack. Hill had two 100-yard rushing games last year. Both of those came against the Cleveland Browns. The closest he came to breaking triple digits on another team was against Denver in Week 3. He was three yards shy of the century mark. Needless to say, Hill has to get it together. He’s coming into the new campaign injury free. But, the O-Line is suspect. Still, he has to stand up.

Not only is Giovani Bernard coming back from injury, fans have forgotten about the A.J. Green incident. Though Green said he was good to go later in the season, there’s still the issue of being able to operate at the same speed. Will it become a nagging injury that pops up from time to time or can Green transcend the stereotypes? Fans may not want to consider the negative but it’s football. There’s also the issue of Tyler Eifert staying healthy.

Next: 2017 Preseason Battles

Any talent that comes from the draft may have to contribute immediately. That’s not usually how the Bengals operate. But, if the ‘plan’ is returning to the dominant form of 2015, they’ll have to toss aside the usual attitudes and embrace what gets results.

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