Cincinnati Bengals: Offensive Preview – Are they stuck at the Bottom?
The Cincinnati Bengals are coming into the 2017 season hoping to better their utterly disappointing season in 2016. They went from the winner of the AFC North to a record of just 6-9-1. The Bengals were supposed to be a powerhouse and run the north, however, they were the bottom feeders, and may be there for the time being. Especially after a head scratching first round pick.
Without seeing any action from any teams right now, I would not be surprised if Cleveland finished ahead of these Bengals. The draft in which the Browns put together, and losing two key offensive linemen could easily lead to the fall of the Cincinnati Bengals. Speaking of the draft why John Ross at number nine? Yeah, he has 4.22 speed but what else does he add? Mind you, he ran that forty-yard dash without pads on. He will definitely be a great weapon for Andy Dalton, however, I still see it as a bit of a reach and someone the team could have traded down to get. Do not mind the fact that there were bigger holes than the receiver position.
However, the main group of players on the offensive side of the ball is still together. The Bengals faithful are hoping for a full healthy season of AJ Green, and Tyler Eifert. However, do not hold your breath on the latter. In addition to those two, you have Andy Dalton who at this point has something to prove to the rest of the league. Is Dalton elite? Looking at the weapons, he has at both the receiver and running back position he should be however we have yet to see him stay consistent.
Looking at the backfield there may be too many backs and not enough downs. Giovani Bernard will be returning at some point this season from his ACL injury, they still have Jeremy Hill, and then drafted the troubled running back out of Oklahoma Joe Mixon in the second round this year. A first round talent that fell to the second round due to off the field issues, so who knows how this player could play out. A crowded backfield could leave one or more of these running backs unhappy leading to locker room issues. We will see how Marvin Lewis handles this.
The biggest weakness of this team will be the offensive line. Losing both Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth to free agency will prove to be a bigger problem than some think. Two of the big men up front that helped Dalton be as successful as he has been at times could cost him and the running game big time. If Dalton cannot stay upright, the Bengals will be in major trouble. For Dalton’s sake, I hope the replacements can stop a couple of the rushes coming their way.
Overall, I feel like we could see the Bengals take a step in the wrong direction. Especially with a little tougher schedule, do not anticipate Cincy making a huge rebound this season. That being said the Cincinnati Bengals might no longer be the team of Ohio; the Browns will certainly make a push for that title this season.