You hear words and phrases like chemistry and locker room culture when defining successful teams. On the outside, these talking points prove powerful during offseason arguments; people refusing to support the acquisition of a big-name superstar with a questionable attitude often use this argument, others deflect the argument as a silly fictional entity.
Regardless, the Bengals believe their locker room culture is one reason they're undefeated and why they're playing so well this year, noted by NFL Insider Jason Cole.
"In talking with Andrew Whitworth after the game on Thursday, when they beat the Cleveland Browns, one of the things he said is that the nucleus of players who really come in on their off days, and focus, and do all of the workouts and participate in all of the team activities has grown over the years," Cole said opening his video report. "It began as three or four guys, to now 30 guys. Basically, they're all leaders, they're all involved in the process and it's become much more of a family atmosphere for the Bengals at this point in time and all of the guys have bought in."
Cole continued, "One of the key things that happened is that A.J. Green really has bought in. He talked about, how after the game, when Eifert had the three touchdowns and joked and said, 'Tyler is taking all of the touchdowns' when he came into the locker room. All the guys cracked up about it."
Whitworth made a similar point last week in a separate interview for the mothership, adding points regarding camaraderie and growth as a unit.
"The thing people may not have realized, we have a lot of guys with a middle range of experience, in the prime of their careers, starting to take off together," said Whitworth. "We've grown together. People ask me all the time, what's different about this year. The difference is that our nucleus of core players is bigger than it used to be, even though we've been making the playoffs. It's just a bigger, stronger group, with a goal to not be just good, but to be great."