The Bengals needed change this offseason and the fans wanted it. Other than the coaching staff, the changes have been subtle. However, they could pay off big.
If you are a Bengals fan, apart from Marvin Lewis no longer being the head coach, this offseason may not feel any different than previous years. However, you have to consider what has not happened.
You would be hard pressed to find a team that is less talked about than the Bengals heading into this year. That is not to say there is not talent in Cincinnati. The roster is very similar to last year. The team was 5-3 before injuries became too much to overcome.
Cincinnati’s offseasons of the recent past have been marked by guys like Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens making some sort of ridiculous guarantee through the media or Vontaze Burfict being suspended. Johnson was likeable for a while, but things like that eventually dragged down the on field product.
No such noise is coming from Cincinnati this offseason. Mark Walton ran out of chances and Burfict is another team’s problem now. The Bengals were not as active in free agency as some people hoped. Still, with a workhorse running back like Joe Mixon and four new faces that will immediately impact the offensive line, including three draft picks, rookie head coach Zac Taylor’s vision has emerged. Second round pick tight end Drew Sample is known for is blocking and included in that trio.
Taylor wants a no nonsense, run first, physical football team. You can’t put offensive linemen on a fantasy team. Thus, many people overlook the position group. This also means that Cincinnati’s offseason approach isn’t going to energize parts of the fan base.
Winning will do that. If this approach is done right, and so far it has been, it can lead to sustained long term success. Running the ball and winning battles up front will never go out of style in the NFL.