The Bengals’ offense is slowly turning heads. Before the 2017 campaign is over, they could be regarded as one of the NFL’s best.
This will certainly be an interesting year for Bengals faithful. As the Orange & Black prepares for another season of NFL fisticuffs, the state of Cincinnati’s offense should be on the minds of every football purist. The draft was supposed to be a quick fix for the O-line problems created by the loss of two top-tier players. Instead, Marvin Lewis & Co. decided to go Madden NFL 17 on fans. They pumped up the volume on both sides of the ball. But, the offense will be a thing of beauty.
After the anomaly that was the 2016 season, the Bengals are primed to do some damage. Not only did they address issues on offense, the defense will be in good shape as well. There will be a definite shift in the parameters of Bengals football in 2017. The speed ante has been upped and the excitement level will return. In fact, this version of the offense could rival some of Cincinnati’s finest.
So, what’s on the menu? What could possibly make this offense go bump in the night and cause nightmares for the rest of the league? They’ve been fortified with a jolt of youth and the veterans are in year two of OC Ken Zampese’s scheme. Barring the dreaded sophomore slump, there should be no reason the Bengals aren’t one of the top-tier scoring machines this year.
The Deep Threats
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One thing the Bengals will have plenty of is vertical depth. In other words, when the wideouts get a step and good move on a scared defender, the speed game will demolish opponents. Josh Malone has been an overlooked component of the revamped unit. But, that’s a good thing. So far, the attention has been given to John Ross. Mr. 422 will definitely be a force to reckon with. But, Malone is a burner too. Receivers coach James Urban has worked with some greats, in his time. He likes what he sees in Malone.
“He showed us what we thought he was,” Urban offered, via Bengals.com. “He’s big and he’s fast and he has a good natural feel for the game. He’s learning how to run our routes and do things our way like any of them are – especially new guys. But he has some real ability.”
A.J. Green is ready to prove he can come back from that season-ending hamstring injury. When talking about stretching the field for the Bengals, Green has always been the go-to option. But, with the additions of Ross and Malone, Andy Dalton will have a bevy of toys for tossing bombs.
Add to that mixture a healthy Tyler Eifert and things heat up quickly. Look for Dalton to push or go over (way over) the 4,000-yard mark again.
Dat Boy Got Corey Number!
How would Biggie say it? If ya don’t know…now ya know. When Joe Mixon was handed No. 28, destiny knocked on the Bengals door and said, “Boo!” Mixon will be more than capable of filling the shoes of Cincinnati’s best running back.
Mixon has been on the radar of most analyst’s Rookie and Offensive Player of the Year lists. If there was any doubt, let this be a stern reminder. Mixon has to get as many touches as possible. With Giovani Bernard looking good but iffy, there has to be the emergence of a No. 2 back with a bite. If Jeremy Hill fails to impress Lewis and Zampese, a changing of the guards could be in order.
With an uncanny ability to shred defenses both on the ground and through the air, Bengals fans should get used to hearing Mixon’s named called. But, he has to be used as more than a third down chess piece. There were times when Hue Jackson and Zampese could be predictable. Getting the ball to Joe on first or second down could reap huge dividends (take that to the bank).
Mixon has Corey Dillon’s number, but he also encompasses Dillon’s raw power and speed. When the Bengals honor Corey at PBS, there should be some mention of the similarities between the two. If Marvin and Zampese are willing to overlook his rookie status, there could (and should) be huge numbers from the former Oklahoma back.