The Bengals have had their share of colorful players. Each had their own way of swaying the fans. But, this year, the villains will rule.
While opinion is basically the same around the football universe, things could get interesting in Cincinnati. With the Bengals coming off a losing season in 2016, it was clear what had to happen. The running game was stagnant and the defense seemed to lose a step. But, the new year should bring some well-timed changes. In fact, the Bengals could benefit from their tandem of villainous attention getters.
Who are the treacherous men who send shivers up spines and cause outbursts of anger? The Bengals added their latest piece of the puzzle in April. Dashing Joe Mixon was taken in the second round, to the disgust of many football purists. Without a doubt, he has become the most polarizing player the Bengals have drafted. Maybe I say that because most people have forgotten Corey Dillon.
The other gentleman wearing all black–and twisting his mustache–is Vontaze Burfict. The Pro Bowl linebacker is set to have a comeback season. His offseason regimen has given him an opportunity to regain the swagger he had earlier in his career.
While most analysts and haters are still gushing and dropping their jaws over a three-year-old incident, the Bengals grabbed what they needed. Mixon is a talented and dynamic running back who will dish out some well-deserved heartache. Per Packers Wire, three other teams showed interest in the services of Mixon. Jacksonville, Minnesota and Green Bay were also looking for an addition to their backfield. Isn’t it sweet that the Bengals will be playing all of those teams?
Bring The Noise
Burfict will get a chance to tee off like the old…Burfict. After being hampered by a nagging foot injury during the 2016 campaign, the Taz-manian devil will be back on the prowl.
Cincinnati defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther, is hyped about the possibilities for Burfict’s season. He praised his offseason training and noticed the difference immediately.
"“He’s come back in tremendous shape,” Guenther beamed. “I have a picture of him walking out of the tunnel at the Pro Bowl and he looked lean and like he should, and I said to him the other day man, I pulled that picture out there and I said, ‘Man, you look just like that guy again.’”"
Burfict reported to camp overweight last year. But, it looks as if the pudgy days are gone. A lean, nasty beast is returning to amp up the Bengals D. With the addition of more toys to the unit, Guenther and Burfict should have a top 10 defense or better.
The Greatest Show On Turf Part Deux
It’s official. The 2017 season will be Ken Zampese’s sophomore year. Hopefully, there will be no slump. Though the offense was decent, it lacked the punch that was prevalent with the prior two years under Hue Jackson. Some of the problems were injury related. But, the overall angst came from operating under a new coordinator. There should be no hitches with the veterans. Understandably, the rookies will make a few blunders. But, Zampese like the football IQ tossed at him by Mixon.
Even Jeremy Hill is ready to get going with Joe in the house.
"“I can see why they brought him in,” Hill complimented. “He’s definitely a talented guy. I’m expecting him to come in this year and help us win football games. I don’t think anyone in this locker room expects anything different.”"
Sometimes the bad guys are just misunderstood…especially when they’re Bengals.