Cincinnati Bengals: Big year in store for Vontaze Burfict

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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 29: Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals lines up for a play during the second quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium on September 29, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 29: Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals lines up for a play during the second quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium on September 29, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Who Dey nation is in for a treat this season. Among the many other individual great seasons the organization hopes to see, a return of the 2013 Vontaze Burfict is certainly in the cards.

The last time Vontaze Burfict played a full season, the Bengals linebacker put on a show. In 2013, Burfict combined for 171 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, one interception and six passes defended, per ESPN.

Burfict played so well that year, his peers voted him the fifty-second best player and fifth best pure linebacker (not a pass rusher) in the NFL that season. Although, after dealing with suspensions and injuries that led to missed games, Burfict is finally healthy and primed for a big season

"“He’s probably in the high 240s. He has played at 260, 265. He’s moving good,” Guenther said. “I told him it’ll add three years to your career if you stay at that level. He can be just as physical at 245, 250 as he can be at 265.”‘"

Last season, Burfict came into camp overweight and despite having the best season since his 2013 performance, Burfict and the organization desired more. As we all know, as Bengals fans, there’s no better feeling than seeing that number “55” jersey in the middle of the defense. His presence on the field makes everyone play at a higher level.

Getting Younger

After this years youth movement, the Bengals look like they can get back to that annual top 10 defense of the Mike Zimmer days. However, it starts with Burfict.

"“I think he was still as intense emotionally, and I’ll never want to take that edge away from him,” Guenther said. “I think he played a lot smarter and he backed off things. Teams maybe tried to prod at him a bit and he backed off. His emotional level was still high and I think guys feed off that a bit. You don’t want a Mike linebacker who doesn’t say anything. I thought he was a lot more professional”"

Next: How good are the Cincinnati Bengals this year?

Vontaze has been putting in the work all offseason and it seems like it’s going to pay off. Cincinnati may be seeing another Pro Bowl and NFL Top 100 appearance from Vontaze. Hopefully, the duo of Kevin Minter and Burfict is equally as good.

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