Bengals should be set to rebound, compete in 2017

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Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) and Baltimore Ravens free safety Lardarius Webb (21) go for a pass during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) and Baltimore Ravens free safety Lardarius Webb (21) go for a pass during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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The stage is set for a comeback. But, the Cincinnati Bengals need production from the eager rookies and stellar performances from the vets.

We’ve heard the rhetoric before. The same old ghost stories about getting things right and making a serious run for the playoffs and the Super Bowl. But, this looks like the year that may be a turning point for the franchise. The Bengals have added speed and excitement to the roster. For the most part, the youngsters look like impact players that can step in and make a difference. Things should improve and the Bengals could make a statement in 2017.

After sinking to their first losing season since 2010, the Bengals are primed to get back in the habit of throwing up W’s (no Wu-Tang). Fans will definitely be overjoyed to see Cincinnati getting back to their old ways. The issues with the O-Line were foremost on the minds of Bengals backers. But, the talent that sat on the board was more than a tease. Following the BPA mantra, Cincy has added a draft class that is capable of answering the call for the upcoming campaign.

Along with the rookies competing for places on the depth chart, there are other situations to be aware of. But, all eyes are going to be on the performance of this year’s team and how they respond to the pressure of returning to the postseason.

Who To Watch 

There’s no doubt about it. The attention will certainly be on Joe Mixon. The controversial running back is making Cincinnati his home and could be a great fit for the Bengals’ backfield. Mixon’s slashing, gliding style could be just what the offense has been missing. 

Yes, there’s always going to be some concerns about the O-Line. But, I’ve said it before and it still holds true. A good running back will make a mediocre line look great. What’s the formula? Hitting the holes when they appear and making the best of what’s there. If Rex Burkhead could do it, certainly Mixon will find a way.

If you haven’t heard, the Bengals drafted the fastest man on the planet. Okay, Usain Bolt would disagree. But, the addition of John Ross is enough to make more than a few heads turn. Having that much speed on the field opposite A.J. Green is like Christmas in July. Well, it came in April. But, the beginning of Training Camp will be interesting. It’s quite possible that Ross has the No. 2 receiver slot locked up. If the Bengals keep Ross on the sidelines to start the year…the franchise has been sipping White Lightnin’ in the shed.

Must Read: Is Lewis On The Way Out?

Lookin’ For Sam, Mike And Will

Since Marvin Lewis has been at the helm, it feels like the Bengals are looking for the next Ray Lewis. Marvelous Marv has been searching for a WWE type linebacker with smarts and agility. Vontaze Burfict is the incumbent at the position. Kevin Minter has been added for insurance. Now, Carl Lawson is set to show his metal. 

So far, Lawson has been used all over the field defensively. His versatility will be a welcome relief to the defense. The Bengals are hyped about his ability to grasp the scheme. That could spell disaster for opponents. Lewis and the War Room were waiting on the chance to snatch Lawson and it happened. The kid has ties to the organization. Remember Takeo Spikes and Big Willie Anderson? He’s had workout sessions with them.

Next: From Draft To Field

The latest edition of the Orange and Black has tons of talent. Now, it’s about getting that athleticism to gel on the football field. But, if Lewis and Co. decide to let the rookies play and get a great awakening from the vets, this team will be one to remember.

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