The Cincinnati Bengals have plenty of new pieces to compliment their already stacked defense in 2018. What are the expectations this year?
The Cincinnati Bengals relied heavily on their defense in 2017 with poor performances from the offensive side of the ball. That is not to say there were no issues on the defense. Players not being on the field due to suspension or injury was a problem last season, and there were still areas of improvement needing to be addressed.
It started with a new defensive coordinator coming to town from Detroit, Teryl Austin. With former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther leaving for the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati brought in Austin to get the defense back on track. Bringing new schemes and an aggressive mentality, it should be an upgrade for the defense this season as well.
It all came down to playmaking ability last season. Only forcing 14 total turnovers last season hurt the Bengals and their ability to get off the field on third down or stop the running game made it worse. Cincinnati brought in players through the offseason that they could plug in right away and see an improvement. They aren’t the big time names that you get all excited about as they already have those on the defense but positional guys that will fill gaps in the defense.
During free agency, the Bengals signed defensive tackle Chris Baker and inside linebacker Preston Brown to one-year deals. They also drafted safety Jessie Bates, defensive end Sam Hubbard, and linebacker Malik Jefferson to address all three levels of the defense. Adding on cornerbacks Darius Phillips and Davontae Harris that could contribute from the fifth-round and it proves that Cincinnati wants more playmaking ability on defense.
So what should our expectations be for Cincinnati’s new defense? What do we expect Carl Lawson’s extended role in the base packages will bring? All of this and more as Travis Steffen and Jack Lane discuss the expectations of the Bengals defense in 2018 on this episode of the Stripe Hype podcast.