Bengals have to find killer instinct of Super Bowl teams

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CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 20: Andy Dalton
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 20: Andy Dalton /
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The Bengals will find themselves in the same old situation, if they can’t develop a killer instinct. The ability to wreak havoc is an important quality.

Don’t take this as a knock against the Bengals’ current situation. There have been major additions to the team that will definitely make a difference. In fact, this could be the year that a new attitude crops up. Frankly, I despised that tune by Patti LaBelle. But, it should be a sort of rallying cry for the Bengals’ 50th season as a franchise. Actually, Cincinnati needs to go beyond that standard. The Bengals need to develop a killer instinct.

Any football team that has its sights on going farther than the first round of the playoffs needs to have a smashmouth approach to beating their opponents.

Getting a ride on the Wayback Machine, we have to travel 29 years in the past. That would put us in the era of the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals. Once again, this may ruffle some feathers, but that was the last time a killer instinct was seen on the banks of the Ohio River. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the Orange & Black teams of the 80s were ready to rumble. They wouldn’t get into many altercations on the field. It was all about making the other team look bad.

The Offensive Connection 

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Bruce Coslet and Lindy Infante were the masterminds behind powerhouse scoring machines. Infante helped engineer a scheme that led the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI. During that first AFC North domination, Cincinnati scored 421 points. They ranked second and third in the NFL, for total yardage and points scored, respectively. In other words, the Bengals offense was no joke.

Coslet had the O’s looking good also. The 1988 squad was ranked No. 1 in both yardage and points scored. The Bengals were dropping 28 points a game on their victims. Ickey Woods and James Brooks didn’t run around defenders, they ran them over.

If Cincinnati can channel the intensity of those two offensive juggernauts, reclaiming the North would be a cinch. It’s up to Marvelous Marvin Lewis and Ken Zampese to ignite the passion. There are players capable of making the 2017 Bengals a monster. But, they have to either be allowed to play or coached up to their abilities. In essence, this team has the potential to be equal to or better than those glory teams of the 80s.

Enter The Defense

Bend-but-don’t-break defense will only get a team so far. Essentially, that’s why the Bengals lost both Super Bowls. A quick look at the 2015 defensive unit reveals the same tendencies. Yes, they ended that season as the No. 2 scoring defense in the NFL. But, there were games they didn’t show up. Case in point, the Wild Card game against Pittsburgh.

Though there’s not much being said about the possibilities of the defense wreaking havoc, it’s an attainable quality. There are players who can be a living nightmare to offenses and QB’s. Carl Lawson was drafted to be that pesky mosquito in a quarterback’s ear. With the quickness and veteran leadership of Carlos Dunlap, Lawson should develop quickly.

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The defense has players that will cause nervous drops and quick dumps over the middle. Leading the call will be Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones. They have enough drive and passion for the D to feed on. But, the personal shoulder chips have to be developed individually. DC Paul Guenther has to turn his soldiers into battle ready machines, ready to inflict damage and mayhem.

This season has the potential to be one of the best Bengals fans have seen. But, it starts with a killer instinct that won’t quit. Champions are always ready.

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