The NFL season is over and the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. Yay. Woopty fu... But that's the thing about seasons and Super Bowls. It comes around every year and every year teams have the opportunity to win it. Well, most teams (looking at you Cleveland, Jacksonville). Now that the season is over, we have seven labels to apply to seven players that will help Cincinnati reach next year's Super Bowl. After my list, give us yours.
Enforcer: Andrew Whitworth
Imagine for a moment that Andy Dalton goes from good-looking character-strong quarterback to intense results-driven gangster. Or imaging Dalton announcing that he's a Rock God on the top of houses just below a swimming pool around strangers or those wishing to do Dalton harm. No matter what he does, Dalton has someone watching out for him.
Brain: Kyle Cook
Though not the favorite offensive center among fans right now, largely due to conjecture based on the timing of his return and a stalling Cincinnati offense, Cook is a cerebral player, shouting adjusted calls by the futile efforts of an opposing pass rush. For the most part, he will find the rush and call out plays to put hats on everyone. Whether those defenders stay blocked is another matter.
Technician: Leon Hall
Leon Hall has never been known as an athletic shutdown cornerback. Nor will he ever. Instead Hall relies heavily on instinct and the application of technique, which enables Hall to be in position to make a play. He instinctually read Heath Miller's route to return an interception for a touchdown, doing the same against Matt Schaub and the Texans.
Loose Cannon: Adam Jones
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Jones is an emotional player and when that emotion surges northward, he becomes a fantastic variable to have in the hip pocket. Not afraid to rough it up at sprinters speed against the run or run through a receiver as the ball arrives risking pass interference, Jones is the type of player that becomes better when he invests his emotion in the game -- but sometimes they can get the best of him. But then, one wouldn't be a loose cannon if they successfully controlled their emotions, would they?
Motivator: Mike Zimmer
Ask yourself this. If you're working in a cubicle and Mike Zimmer is your boss, do you flip your chair around and acknowledge him as he approaches? Probably not. Because in his mind you're not working and if you're not working, you're not helping the bottom line. And if you're not helping the bottom line then you might as well get your steaming pile of s*** out of his f***ing office.
But it's not fear that requires infinite respect from those under him. Well yes it is. It's the fear of letting Zim down, which is one of the worst things a player feels he can do on the field. Instead of doing something that causes that feeling, Cincinnati's defense generally does their job to avoid it.
Prankster: A.J. Green
Don't let the calm and humble demeanor fool you. A.J. Green, one of the league's most talented wide receivers, has a prankster personality that hasn't been documented much, but you know it's there.
Muscle: Geno Atkins
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is the type of player that will be celebrated during songs of legend many years from now. He's not a prototypical defensive tackle in terms of size, but his leverage and deceptive strength literally ends with Atkins lifting offensive linemen up, setting them to the site and sacking quarterbacks. His brutal assault on Steelers rookie David DeCastro in Week 16 turned man into boy with a significant contribution for Cincinnati to win a postseason berth.
That's my list. You're turn. Name your seven role players.