Andrew Whitworth may think the Bengals need more swagger, but one current player has exactly the confidence and attitude he's talking about. That guy is Jeremy Hill and Chris Wesseling of NFL.com believes the Bengals' second year running back is "poised to break out as a household name in 2015."
As a well-rounded power back, Hill is in an exclusive club with the likes of Foster, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Le'Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles and DeMarco Murray.
How many running backs boast a three-down skill set, the ability to move the chains between the tackles, short-yardage prowess, the quickness to beat linebackers to the edge, screen-game capability, homerun distance and the ability to play in the two-minute passing drill as well as the four-minute clock-killing offense?
On top of that, Wesseling says, "[Hill] has a chance to rival Corey Dillon and James Brooks as the best backs in franchise history if he can avoid serious injury."
Hill is certainly on his way to doing just that. With only 16 games under his belt and nine starts, Hill already has the 24th most rushing yards in Bengals' history and 20th most touchdowns among running backs, one place behind Giovani Bernard. And, in 2014, Hill became the first Bengals rookie to reach 1,000 yards rushing since Corey Dillon in 1997.
If the Bengals can avoid injuries in 2015, this offense looks to be real threat to the competition. Between A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert and the highly regarded combination of Hill and Bernard, Andy Dalton has more than enough weapons at his disposal, with experience and play-making ability. It seems the Bengals have the tools they need to finally capture the elusive playoff win they've been chasing for 24 years.
Wesseling believes so too:
Hill commands a stacked box while four-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green draws extra attention from safeties, putting defenses in a quandary. With big-play machine Marvin Jones and tight end Tyler Eifert healthy this season to go with Bernard and Mohamed Sanu, play-caller Hue Jackson will spend the season toying with his counterparts by exploiting mismatches.
In other words, this is shaping up as a make-or-break season for Andy Dalton. If he doesn't produce a career year with the most firepower the Bengals have stockpiled since the 1988 Super Bowl squad, the team's brass will be tempted to seek alternatives.
Will the Bengals' offense live up to the hype?