Starting training camp healthy was priority number one for the Cincinnati Bengals. With that phase under control, it’s time to ramp things up.
There’s no other way to put it. As the season slowly unfolds, the Bengals have to improve on the failures of 2016. One way to do that is to start the new campaign on a positive note. Simply put, Cincinnati has avoided the injury bug and is running on all cylinders. Training camp has started and the quest for another AFC North crown has begun. What makes this camp so special? The Bengals are starting the year healthy.
One of the biggest questions surrounded the return of Tyler Eifert. Fans had been seeing social media photos of the Bengals’ tight end doing, well, extreme things. That led many people to fear that he would be open to an injury off the field. But, Eifert survived the offseason and is back to being Gronk 2.0.
"“I’ve felt 100 percent for a month, month-and-a-half,” said Eifert, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Everybody kept asking me, my family and friends, ‘Am I going to get cleared?’ I knew I was going to get cleared, so it was never a question. Even before I saw the doctor, I knew I would get cleared.”"
Of course, that’s purely speculative. Eifert is a true talent. He’s just fragile as fine china. But, the Bengals need him on the playing field to improve their slumping red zone offense. Could this be his first full season? Fingers, toes and arms are crossed.
That Serious D
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Marvin Lewis is a former defensive specialist. Wait. Didn’t you know that? Turn in your Bengals card. That being said, he’s pleased with the development of Kevin Minter. Lewis was asked about Minter’s approach to the defensive scheme and he was thoroughly impressed. During his pre-practice press conference, Lewis was full of praise for his linebacker.
"“He’s been great. It’s what we expected. He’s been almost plug-and-play,” Lewis explained. “Kevin was a very fine, steady player at LSU. He played within the scheme. He’s done a great job since coming here and learning what we are doing. He’s fitting right in with the group of guys, he plays hard and with his pads at the right level. He understands the passing game and where he needs to fit in the run defense, depending on the defense and coverage. I’ve been very pleased with him. It’s been a good fit.”"
All things considered, add that to the rave reviews being tossed at Vontaze Burfict and the Bengals have a formula for success. Additionally, a healthy offense getting into its best form and a high-caliber defense ready to knock heads with the best. Again, the expectations are high…as they should be.