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After two straight seasons of losing in the first round of the playoffs, the Bengals are looking to get over that hump. According to defensive tackle Domata Peko, they're just a couple of players away.
The Bengals have made it to the playoffs for two straight years following the 2012 season, which is something that they hadn't done in 30 years. That's the good. The bad is the fact that in those two straight seasons they havent been able to win a playoff game as they were defeated by the Texans in Houston both years. The next step for the Bengals is obviously to get over that hump and win a playoff game. Defensive tackle Domata Peko doesn't think the team is far away. In fact, he just thinks it will take the addition of one or two more players.
"Our division is tough," he says after watching another Super Bowl title cut through the AFC North. "We're right there in the AFC North. We're on our way. We're a couple of players away. It seems like we could be (in the Super Bowl) doing that, too. I'm really excited to see what we do this offseason. We get some draft picks and we're on our way. We've got a bright future."
The Bengals are set at several positions, especially the defensive line and especially if they can re-sign a few key free agents. The defensive line, led by Peko's fellow defensive tackle, Geno Atkins, was once again the strength of the team in 2012 and led the defense that ushered the Bengals to their second straight playoff berth. Re-signing Michael Johnson will go a long way to keep that defensive line in tact.
Some of the positions that could be upgraded to help get the team to the next level include running back, safety, cornerback and possibly the No. 2 receiver position. With the most cap space of any team in the league and four selections in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft, the Bengals are in good position to take the steps needed to strengthen their team in order to get to the next level.
As for Peko and Atkins and the rest of the line, the plan for the offseason is the same as it was last offseason. Peko and Atkins, along with several other players, plan to meet in mid-March at Ignition Sports to begin their workouts long before the Bengals' offseason program begins so they can attempt to break their own personal records in the weight room this year. Peko says he feels great and he plans to keep growing out his beard (probably until it reaches Gandalf status).
"My body feels great; I feel that young," says Peko, who is still only 28. "I won't cut the beard now. I'll keep it growing."