The Bengals revealed their 2020 captains on Wednesday, showing just how much the team culture has changed after a transformative offseason.
The Cincinnati Bengals overhauled their roster this offseason after an abysmal 2-14 record in the 2019 season. Not only has the team improved tremendously in the talent department, but the announcement of the 2020 captains showed there has been a dramatic culture shift as well.
Vonn Bell, Giovani Bernard, Joe Burrow, Josh Bynes, A.J. Green, Kevin Huber, and Shawn Williams are the Bengals who were voted on by their teammates to lead the team in the 2020 season. Most notably among these names are Bell, Burrow, and Bynes, all of whom are new faces to the franchise in 2020.
The new additions are setting the Bengals up for a bright future
In free agency, the front office added Bell, Bynes, and multiple other quality defensive players. Since joining the team, it has been clear that Bell and Bynes were taking leadership roles early on. To see two free-agent additions earn the votes of their teammates in their first year with the team speaks to the sort of character the front office sought after in the offseason.
Perhaps the most impressive captain reveal of all was quarterback Burrow earning the trust of his teammates as a rookie. Andy Dalton was not a captain in his rookie year despite being a great leader on the Bengals for nearly a decade. If Burrow can earn the respect of his teammates this early in his career, it reflects very well on his future as a leader and a pro.
After the reveal, Burrow touched on how it felt to be given a leadership role by his team as a rookie.
"There are a lot of guys that could be standing there. It was a goal coming in and I’m proud to be representing the team and the offense."
As for Bernard, Green, Huber, and Williams, it’s not surprising that the four Bengals veterans were given the high honor by their teammates. The four longtime members of the franchise have been nothing if not great teammates during their tenures with the club.
Overall, the Bengals’ 2020 captains reveal a lot about the new culture Zac Taylor is building in Cincinnati. It’s clear that the second-year head coach is making a point to bring in players who are not only talented on the field but leaders off the field. If Taylor’s culture shift in Cincinnati is any sign of the things to come for the Bengals, the team could be set for a bright future.