Going into the draft many experts assumed the focus for the Bengals would be on the defensive side of the ball. We talked ad nauseum about the less than stellar play of the linebackers and safeties. We mocked and shuffled and envisioned which stud safety would fall and save the secondary for the stripes. The Bengals were going to fill holes on the defensive side of the ball early in the draft, we were sure of it.
The Bengals went out and used 7 of their 10 picks for the offense.
Don't get me wrong, I am very excited about the three defensive guys they signed. I think I am more excited for the firepower we pulled in on offense. We have been a top 10 (range based on what stat matters to you) defense for a couple years now. The defense for the most part is still in tact. Our offense however, has not been as stellar. At times we looked pretty darn good. Season stats though were middle of the road:
- Bengals yds per game: 22nd
- Yds per play: 21st
- Points per game: 12th
What has really held this team back in the past two playoff seasons? It wasn't the defense. Sure, you can call out plays here and there where Crocker missed Foster, or Maualuga was out of position again. A good way to solve those issues is to sustain drives by the offense. Imagine if the Bengals scored freely against Houston in either playoff game, do you think Foster would have had as many touches?
The Bengals have recently been a team that has played defense well enough to allow the offense to come through in tighter games. I still remember grumbling at the games / TV that the Bengals are going 3 and out far too often. Additions like Tyler Eifert, Giovani Bernard, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and BenJarvus Green-Ellis compliment the combination of A.J. Green and Andy Dalton and make me think the Bengals are building an offense comparable to what they showed in 2005.
It's early, camp is still off in the distance, but I am already beginning to get excited. This is the proper way to build a team. Balance on both sides of the ball and a commitment to win. It is a great time to be a Bengals fan.