The Bengals starters had their second impressive outing of the preseason. Is it time to start believing in these players?
Through the years anytime I have seen or said positive things about the Bengals, I usually hear that I am drinking the orange Kool-Aid or that I am wearing orange shaded glass. Well, I have my orange pitcher of orange Kool-Aid next to me, and I am ready to start drinking.
I actually started mixing the Kool-Aid after the first preseason game, but wasn’t ready to start drinking yet. However after seeing this third preseason game. I’m ready.
I know what people will say – Marvin Lewis is still the coach. Andy Dalton is the QB, and the line still isn’t great. However, sometimes you need to look deeper, and the things I see in this team shows me that this is a team that is ready to at least get back to the playoffs.
When you look at the teams in the AFC, the majority of teams have weak spots in key areas. The Bengals are surely not a complete team, and no doubt the offensive line is still a concern. However, when compared to the rest of the AFC, I like where they stand.
Let’s start with the defense. Most great defenses have one thing in common, and that is a great defensive line. The Bengals’ defensive line has the makings of being one of the best in the NFL this season.
That showed tonight in their preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals starting defensive line harassed the Bills starting QB Josh Allen all night long, and eventually knocked him out of the game. The Bengals had 6 sacks in the game tonight, with 5 of them coming in the first half when the starters were playing.
The Bengals have depth on defense this year, and more playmakers in the secondary. William Jackson has the potential to be one of the best corners in the NFL. They have two other first round picks at corner, and drafted a playmaking safety in Jessie Bates. With the defensive line putting pressure on the QB, the Bengals should be a very tough defense to throw on this season.
Offensively, the Bengals have multiple weapons for Andy Dalton to throw to this year. That was evident on the very first offensive play tonight by the Bengals when we all finally got to see why the Bengals drafted John Ross. He caught a deep pass and then put an unbelievable move on two Bills defenders to score a touchdown.
I love how offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is running the offense this season. One of the biggest complaints I have had about the Bengals the last few years is that they don’t play to the talent of the players they have. This pre-season we have got glimpses of how Bill Lazor is going to run the offense, and it has me very excited.
An example tonight was how he used Joe Mixon. He split Joe Mixon out as a WR and Dalton quickly found him for a nice 20 yard gain. This is the second time this preseason we have seen Joe Mixon make a big play as a WR. The best offenses are versatile, and Lazor seems like he is going to get the most out of the weapons the Bengals have on offense.
The biggest thing though that I have liked about this team. Is the sense of urgency they seem to be playing with. The last few years they have been stale and boring and honestly not to interested. This year, the players seem more focused to me, excited about all the changes that has happened this off season.
I know there are many people who still don’t think this team will do much this season. That is understandable after years of disappointment with this franchise. As for me I will be wearing my orange shaded sunglasses, while I enjoy my nice pitcher of orange Kool-Aid. Don’t worry though – I will have plenty to share once others are ready for a drink.