When New Year's comes around, it's a time filled with emotion. During this time of reflection, people think back on the year they've had; the highs, the lows, the successes, the failures, and everything in between. In addition to reflecting, goals and resolutions are made in order to make this upcoming year better than the last. With this in mind, let's apply it to the Cincinnati Bengals!
2023 has been a roller coaster of a season for Cincinnati that has been filled with highs and lows. A high would be in Week 13, when Ja'Marr Chase caught a pass from Jake Browning that turned into a 76-yard touchdown on a 3rd & 2 breaking the tie and giving the Bengals a 21-14 lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
An obvious low would be the injuries this season. Losing Joe Burrow (wrist), DJ Reader (quad), and Ja'Marr Chase (even for a little bit, shoulder) have been gut punches. But with 2023 almost in the rearview, let's analyze key 2024 New Year's resolutions for the Bengals.
1) No Injuries (Please)
Obviously injuries happen and aren't uncommon, but the Bengals have dealt with enough injuries this season and in past seasons. Just imagine for a moment what a healthy Joe Burrow (and a healthy team for that matter) could do.
From the calf strain to the season-ending wrist injury, 2023 was filled with injuries for Joe Burrow, and this is what caused the Bengals' season to become all over the place. Tee Higgins (hamstring) also missed time earlier this season, along with other key players.
The AFC North has been extremely competitive in 2023, and many believe that if the Bengals were healthy and if Burrow was a part of the equation, the standings would look different. So here's hoping for a healthy Bengals team next year.
2) Slow Starts Should Stay in the Past
If you're a Bengals fan, you're probably tired of seeing the Bengals lose games early in the season right off the bat. In fact, 2023 is not the first time the Bengals began with a 0-2 record. Of course, teams need time to find their footing again, but this is a common theme for the Bengals that makes it difficult for them to get ahead year after year despite having the powerful offense that they do.
If the Bengals can come out of the gates swinging in 2024, that may be just the turnaround and momentum they desperately need.
3) Successfully Navigate 2024 Free Agency
A good goal for the Bengals is to navigate free agency successfully.Many notable Bengals are set to become free agents in 2024, such as Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Trenton Irwin, and Chidobe Awuzie.
Whether or not these players will re-sign remains to be seen, but smart decisions need to be made to keep the team strong. With Boyd, Higgins, and Irwin set to become free agents, this could cause newcomers Andrei Iosivas and Charlie Jones to step up big; luckily both have done well in 2023. Hopefully, the Bengals will benefit from who stays and who goes.
Here's hoping 2024 treats the Cincinnati Bengals far better than 2023 did!