The 2023 season provides a ton of optimism for the Cincinnati Bengals. While they did lose a lot of key talent this offseason, they were able to compensate for that with solid moves of their own.
Let's take a look at the biggest changes to the starting lineup for the 2023 season.
Bengals lineup changes for 2023
Jonah Williams had been the Bengals' starting left tackle for the past three years but that time is over. The Bengals didn't sign Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency to have him move back to right tackle and keep an underwhelming Williams on the left side.
Williams, of course, isn't happy about this but hey, football is a business. Brown will be the starter at left tackle and gives Joe Burrow his best left tackle since entering the league in 2020.
As mentioned in the previous blurb, Williams is no longer the starting left tackle. He'll be playing right tackle for the 2023 season. Williams might not be happy about this but if he decides to not play his best ball, he's only hurting himself.
Bengals fans were sad when Hayden Hurst left in free agency to sign a three-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. No one can blame the former first-round pick for taking the deal but it still hurts after the Bengals helped him jumpstart his career.
With Hurst off to Carolina, it'll be Irv Smith Jr. starting at tight end for the stripes. Smith's signing might excite me more if he hasn't struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. The depth behind him isn't great but fortunately, the Bengals don't need a top-of-the-line tight end in their offense.
Both Safety Spots
The biggest blow to the Bengals' defense this offseason was the loss of both starting safeties. Everyone figured that Jessie Bates was a goner and he signed with the Atlanta Falcons. The true blow came when Vonn Bell inked a deal with the Panthers.
When Bell opted not to return to Cincinnati, the Bengals officially had to replace both of their starting safeties. Dax Hill was drafted in the first round of last year's draft to replace Bates when he inevitably departed but who would replace Bell? That was something the team probably hadn't accounted for.
Cincinnati ended up signing Nick Scott to slide into Bell's old spot. Scott played for the Los Angeles Rams before joining the Bengals this offseason. Can he fill Bell's shoes? Time will tell.