Bengals: Zac Taylor’s culture will be tested in week three

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Zac Taylor has been praised for the culture he’s built inside the Cincinnati Bengals’ locker room, but week three will be the first time it’s truly tested.

After months of optimism and hype for the Cincinnati Bengals, the start of the new year has brought the organization back down to Earth. Despite the overwhelmingly positive play of Joe Burrow, many of the problems from the 2-14 season a year ago have begun to resurface.

The offensive line looks shaky, the defense has had trouble stopping the run, the red-zone offense has been poor, and the club can’t seem to finish out close games. This has been the same old story for the Bengals over the past several years.

While the outlook for the rest of the 2020 season doesn’t look particularly bright at the moment, there is hope that things could turn around, primarily because of the new players’ Zac Taylor has brought in to build his culture.

Bengals’ free-agent additions are speaking out

Cincinnati’s front office notoriously signed free-agents that aren’t used to losing and exclusively drafted former captains this offseason. In other words, the roster is filled with guys who aren’t used to performances like the one witnessed against the Cleveland Browns, where they surrendered 215 yards on the ground alone.

D.J. Reader, Josh Bynes, and Vonn Bell are letting it be known as well, perhaps sending a message to the other guys in the locker room. Bynes had a particularly strong statement after the team’s Thursday night showing,

"“I’m not with this feeling…Guys last night are tired of losing and tired of being in this kind of situation when we are that close and we can’t finish those games. Regardless of all the crazy stuff that happened in the game and all the bad things that happened these last two games, we still were able to come out with a victory at one point in time.”"

With any luck, the embarrassing prime-time loss motivated the rest of the defense as much as it has Bynes.

The Eagles will test if the new culture can cause the team to rally

Thankfully for the Bengals, their week three matchup involves another winless team, the Philadelphia Eagles. However, even if Carson Wentz and Co. are reeling, they still present a significant challenge to Cincinnati.

The Eagles will come out just as desperate as the Bengals on Sunday, in some ways making them more dangerous than a team that already has a win under their belt. Plus, their offense has plenty of rushing capability with Miles Sanders leading the way, and Wentz capable of making plays on the ground as well.

It may only be week three, but the contest this Sunday will test Zac Taylor’s culture. Will the new-look Bengals refuse to accept the problems that have plagued them for the past several seasons? Or will Philadelphia be the next in a long line of losses to come?

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