Fighting father time: Bengals must plan for life after veteran stalwarts

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws as he's pressured by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97), left, and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) in the second quarter of an Week 5 NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.Arizona Cardinals At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 6
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws as he's pressured by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97), left, and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) in the second quarter of an Week 5 NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.Arizona Cardinals At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 6 /
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The Cincinnati Bengals have a trio of cornerstones fighting father time, putting the franchise in a precarious position moving forward.

The Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in a state of flux. Despite early signs showing the franchise has found their quarterback of the future in Joe Burrow, the rest of the roster clearly remains a work in progress. It is evident the organization is in a rebuilding phase, but there remains plenty of talent in their ranks. In particular, they have a trio of all-pro stars who are advancing in years.

A.J. Green, Geno Atkins, and Carlos Dunlap have been at the forefront of all that has been good for the Bengals in recent years. However, with one eye firmly on the future, the question has to be asked. What role should they be asked to play going forward? Not only that, but what are the team’s plans for life after the three stars move on?

While all three have the potential to continue to perform at a top-level, their usage needs to be carefully managed. Getting them on the field for key downs has been a well-documented issue for Zac Taylor in his Bengals tenure so far.

Let’s take a look at what the trio can still offer, how their output can be maximized, and what the potential solutions are to help minimize the impact of a reduction in their playing time.

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