The Cincinnati Bengals have shown glimpses of promise but the rebuild has begun and the focus must lie in the future now.
It’s always a disappointment when the time comes to turn the page on a season. That’s even more true when it’s only week seven. This season still has plenty to offer for Cincinnati Bengals fans but from here on there has to be one eye on the future.
With quarterback Joe Burrow at the helm, meaningless games will be a thing of the past. He makes this team fun to watch again. The rest of 2020 needs to be about developing and protecting him ahead of making a run at the playoffs next year.
Whether Zac Taylor and the current coaching staff are the ones to make that run is a discussion for a different article. If they are, then they need to utilize the last nine games to identify talent across the whole roster and focus on the areas that need strengthening.
That’s not to say that you should turn off from this team or root for them to lose to secure a better draft spot. That’s not Burrow’s style and it certainly can’t be Taylor’s. The Bengals have their QB of the future, draft position shouldn’t be a pressing concern.
Far greater damage could be caused by further instilling a losing culture. There are significant contract discussions to be had with key players like William Jackson, Jessie Bates, and Carl Lawson. Those are the type of players that need to be on board.
Not only that, but the Bengals will need to bolster once more their veteran presence. Encouraging free agents to sign in Cincy has been historically difficult. That was until this year when the Bengals made a splash. Being able to persuade players to join a team with only a handful of wins for the second year in a row would be more difficult.
There remains an opportunity for anybody on this roster to stake a claim as a starter next year but we will take a look at which specific areas the Bengals need to address in the 2021 offseason. We’ll also highlight how they can best solve the problem whether it be through the draft or free agency.