It’s Time For Bengals To Play Angry

Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green (18) during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green (18) during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

Attitude and toughness are staples in the game of football. If the Bengals are going to be a force in the NFL, they need an attitude adjustment.

Sometimes, the bottom line is not so easy to identify. But, in the case of the Cincinnati Bengals, it’s a glaring constant. The 2016 season was one to forget. Falling to a below .500 record hasn’t been imaginable since 2010. For six, long, prosperous years (sounds like a sci-fi trailer) Bengals fans were treated to winning football. But, everything changes. After a slap of reality, the Bengals are looking at players who can make an immediate impact on the new season. It’s time to get an attitude and stay angry.

It would be easy to blame last season’s breakdown on injuries and the coaching turnover. Yet, that happens on a constant in the NFL. Backup players get big bucks to step in for the fallen warriors. Well, maybe not “huge” dollars but a nice amount of change. Coaches are hired for their ability to get teams turned around. Last year, the Bengals experienced a late-season turnaround. But, it was too little…too late.

The Bengals’ new slogan speaks volumes about how things need to turn around. Offseason workouts started on Monday and the words should resound throughout Paul Brown Stadium. It’s about being “Smart. Fast. Physical.” That’s how the Bengals will get back to the top of the heap. But, they also have to play angry. There has to be a complete 180-degree reversal from the habits of the past.

The Physical 

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals /

Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals’ strength coach, Chip Morton, broke down the meaning of the new “mantra,” via Yes, it’s just as simple as it sounds.

"“No matter all the other slogans, this is what it always gets back to for Marvin. He wants us fast, smart, and physical,” Morton explained. “We want self-discipline from our players and accountability. An identity. This is who we are … Let’s keep the main things the main things. Let’s boil it down.”"

Maybe I’m just a diehard fan over analyzing things, but that sounds like tapping into anger. If the Bengals are going to manifest those three attributes, they’ll need to get (here it is) an attitude. Their identity should be simple. Go into every game with a chip on your shoulder. But, it starts from the top. Marvin Lewis has to bring out their hunger for consistency and a desire to never lose.

It’s time that the Bengals played with a toughness that’s seen before they take the field. Emotion, dedication and a selfless will to be the best. They have to embrace the negative talk and make it a driving force to become the best in the AFC North.

Prove it

Recent headlines have chronicled the visits of top-tier running backs to Cincinnati. Jeremy Hill says he’s not concerned (at least on the surface). Hopefully, he’s channeling that calm exterior into a raging fire. If he’s doing it the right way, 2017 should be a coming-of-age party for Mr. Hill

A.J. Green is making sure he comes back healthy. Much maligned Cedric Ogbuehi is doing his part to become a force at left tackle.

Hill has hinted at having a breakout year because of his offseason grind. He’s been working out harder and is ready to show Bengals fans what he’s capable of doing. Green is ready to get last year’s business finished. He contacted Clif Marshall (formerly of Ignition APG) and convinced him to come to Atlanta for training sessions.

Ogbuehi is getting his MMA skills on, at a camp in the Hollywood Hills. It’s designed for NFL athletes who want to develop leverage and…toughness. Andrew Whitworth is a disciple of the Unbreakable Camp that Ced is attending. Camp guru Jay Glazer likes what he sees in Ogbuehi.

"“Ced is incredibly athletic. He just beat one of our receivers in a race. He’s ridiculous. We had to find out what his weaknesses were. He’s showing toughness and fighting back.”"

Next: Who Dey Notes

Toughness seems to be the keyword. This year could be a surprise bounce back for a team that disappointed so many. But, it’s all about playing angry and making the attitude work to their advantage.