Louis Riddick on the Bengals: ‘They’re not that far away’

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the sideline in the fourth quarter during an NFL Week 15 football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals won, 27-17.Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 21
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the sideline in the fourth quarter during an NFL Week 15 football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals won, 27-17.Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 21 /
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ESPN analyst Louis Riddick had plenty of nice things to say about the Cincinnati Bengals during their contest on Monday Night Football against the Steelers.

All season long, the Cincinnati Bengals have appeared to be miles away from competing. However, after an impressive win in primetime against the Pittsburg Steelers, optimists are coming from every direction to counter that line of thought. Count ESPN analyst and general manager candidate Louis Riddick among that group.

During the third quarter of the Monday Night Football broadcast, Riddick had this to say about the club that calls Paul Brown Stadium home,

"“When you look at it objectively, you go ‘they’re [the Bengals] not that far away, they’re really not.'”"

After the performance pieced together against a supposed Super Bowl contender, it’s hard to argue with Riddick. Although, the term “far away” is subjective. Just how much do the Bengals need to add to make defeating AFC North rivals a common occurrence?

The Bengals still have plenty of work to do this offseason

While Cincinnati has proved twice now that their current roster is capable of taking down playoff teams (Titans and Steelers), they still need to make several sizable moves if they are going to consistently compete with those kinds of franchises.

The first step is getting everybody back healthy. With guys like Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Trae Waynes, D.J. Reader, and more set to return next season, it makes things interesting.

The next step? You guessed it, fix the offensive line. It’s a demand Bengals fans will bring up repeatedly this offseason, and rightfully so. From there, the offense could use some speed at wide receiver and the defense desperately needs an edge rusher opposite of Carl Lawson.

The coaching staff must be altered as well. Zac Taylor likely secured himself another year at the helm by netting the organization’s first win against Pittsburg since 2015, but the assistants have to change, starting with offensive line coach Jim Turner.

With all of the aforementioned pieces in place, perhaps the gap that Riddick is referring to would be closed. At the very least, it would shrink significantly.

One win can do a lot to restore confidence and renew optimism, especially when it comes against a bitter rival. However, while the team looked good, it’s important to remember they’re at the bottom of the divisional rankings for a reason. Every position listed above is a big need and several other positions could use upgrades.

Thankfully for WhoDey nation, the Bengals will have plenty of cap space to attack the open market in free agency and they remain owners of a top-three overall selection. They wield plenty of capital to make the moves necessary.

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