Cincinnati Bengals: What Should Their Plan for the Future be?

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 08: Head Coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on September 08, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 08: Head Coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on September 08, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

After a disappointing start to the season, it is evident to some that the Cincinnati Bengals aren’t ready to compete right now. Here, we look at their path back to relevance. 

Just three games in to the season, it appears that the Bengals need to turn their mindset towards building for the future. The team certainly has some talent to build a foundation and some of the things seen from head coach Zac Taylor look promising.

Still, they seem so far away from being in the same stratosphere as teams like the Chiefs, Rams, and Patriots. In fairness, that can be said of all 29 other franchises right now, Despite this, it isn’t unreasonable to think they can fight for a playoff spot next season and be a serious threat the season after.

One thing fans should find comforting is the AFC North doesn’t seem as competitive as it once was. The Steelers have lost too much talent and Ben Roethlisberger has his best play firmly in the rear view mirror. The Browns have a roster loaded with talent,  but it doesn’t seem to be gelling in the way many had thought it would. Bengals fans should hope Freddie Kitchens sticks around as well. The Ravens have been a surprise and look to be the top of the food chain in the division. Still, the Bengals have had great success against them in the past. The purple gang continues to struggle with A.J. Green.

Free Agency

Relying on the division weakening isn’t going to cut it though. The first thing the Bengals must do is revolutionize the way they view free agency and bring their ways up to speed with the modern NFL.

I can hear the grumbles of fans everywhere when they read that sentence, but the Brown family isn’t going anywhere. Fans and pundits alike have pleaded with Bengals brass to get aggressive in bringing in outside talent, to no avail.

Still, last season, during the beginning of their head coaching search, everybody was convinced that they would bring in Hue Jackson or some other conservative choice. They shocked everybody when they hired a new era Sean McVay understudy and made him the second youngest head coach in the NFL.

If fans pay attention to him on the sidelines, it may clue them in to what Taylor will demand from the front office once the offseason comes. In the closing moments of the game against the Bills he exploded with emotion, charging at the referee to plead his case.

Related Story. Cincinnati Bengals still stuck near bottom of NFL Power Rankings. light

You could see how badly he wanted to win and the passion he brings. If he brings that same fire to Mike Brown for free agency, he will be hard to say no to. Taylor being in the picture means that the organization is evolving, even if it is slower than fans would like.

Offensive Line

Beyond plugging a few holes through free agency, they need to continue to re-build the offensive line. They may be closer to having a solid line than many would believe. They have finally found adequate center play in Trey Hopkins. In addition, they have the number one offensive line prospect from the 2019 draft, Jonah Williams waiting in the wings. John Miller has played well so far this season and they have young players like Michael Jordan and Billy Price who could develop into solid options. If they can add another tackle through the draft or bring in a solid free agent, they have finally solved the offensive line puzzle.


Next, they have to find a third linebacker. Right now the coaching staff only has two linebackers they really trust, Preston Brown and Nick Vigil. They have been playing with only two linebackers for almost the entire season. It can leave them vulnerable at times. Really good teams will be able to game plan to attack that as well.

Again, they may have an opportunity to draft one early. The better route would be to sign one through free agency.  The scouting department has shown their shortcomings when evaluating the college ranks for linebacker talent. They should look to pry a guy like Danny Trevathan or Mychal Kendricks from their respective teams when they become available this offseason.


Finally, Cincinnati could look at upgrading the quarterback position. The season seems to be trending towards the team receiving a high pick in the next draft. With that, they could select a high end talent at the most important position, something they haven’t done since Carson Palmer.

Andy Dalton has done a great job this season and fits Zac Taylor’s scheme well. Still, if it is possible to draft a guy who could end up being a top 10 quarterback in the league, you don’t pass up on that opportunity. If they find the next Patrick Mahomes, the rest of these suggestions  possibly won’t matter. Mahomes single handedly took the Chiefs to the peak of the NFL. They have been one of the best teams despite shortcomings on defense and losing their top receiver to injury.

Do those circumstances sound familiar? This Bengals team has had the exact same problems as the Chiefs. Yet, they sit at 0-3 while the Chiefs are basking in the praise from fans and analysts. In order to win a Super Bowl with Dalton at the helm, it requires a relatively healthy season and a roster with few to no holes in it. A superstar quarterback gives a team the luxury of being able to handle injuries and shortcomings. I’m not saying any of the quarterbacks in this years class will be as good as Mahomes. Despite that, even the chance of having a quarterback of that caliber warrants the selection.


No matter what the record winds up being this year, the Bengals need to find an identity. Every great team has one. Moreover, it is usually established long before on field results come. The Patriots handle each week like it is a business meeting. Crushing their opponent is what they do for a living. The great Steelers teams over the years decided they didn’t want to just win, they wanted to punish the other team. The Saints are much more laid back. They play foosball in the locker room then come out and drop 40 points like it is nothing.

light. More. When will enough be enough for the Cincinnati Bengals?

The Bengals need to decide what kind of team they are and what culture they want. It may not seem important but it can be vital to a team’s success.

It seems like a lot of work , but with Taylor at the helm, the Bengals have taken the first step at pursuing the construction of a legitimate Superbowl contender. It will take some time, luck, and serious change but the potential is there.