It is funny you ask, because I was thinking the same thing watching the game on Sunday; the lack of fire/intensity has been a complaint of mine throughout the Marvin Lewis era. I think it is a combination of two things: First, the players seem to love Hue Jackson and if you ever meet him, it is easy to see why. He is a very engaging person and has an intensity about him, which I believe is beginning to rub off on the players on both sides of the ball. Second, most of the players on this year's Bengals team have been part of the last four Bengals teams who have lost in the postseason. I believe those failures along with the media constantly talking about the Bengals' inability to win in the postseason will drive the team this year. Despite their four straight postseason appearances, most of the national media is not taking them seriously as a contender - heck everyone is picking them third in their own division - and I think the players are using that as motivation and playing with a chip on their shoulder.
@CincyJungle will we resign Leon Hall after this season? I would love a bengals mailbag— Tristen Shifflett (@BengalsWhodey8) September 15, 2015
Hey Tristen, thanks for the question!
As for resigning Leon Hall, barring an injury to Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard or Adam Jones, I would say no. With that being said, I thinks it also depends on what Hall is looking for. At this point, Hall is the fourth cornerback on this team, so if he is looking for starter money, he would have to look somewhere else. With the drafting of Kirkpatrick and Dennard in the first rounds of 2012 and 2014 respectively, along with using a fourth round pick on Josh Shaw in 2015, the writing is on the wall that Hall's time is coming to an end in Cincinnati. Combine that with the fact that Jones is playing the best football of his career, Hall would have a tough time seeing the field next year. That being said, the coaches love him and he is the type of consummate "Pro's Pro" Marvin loves and he is a great leader. They certainly won't resign him as a starter, but, if he plays well this year, I could see them making him an offer and bringing him back as an experienced backup.
The other thing to keep an eye on when it comes to Hall is the safety position. Reggie Nelson and George Iloka will both be free agents after the 2015 season and the Bengals have put Hall back there a few times in the preseason. I would be shocked if they don't resign Iloka, but because of Nelson's age, he may not be resigned. That leaves a spot at safety open, so might they resign Hall as a backup safety/fourth corner in an effort to have a versatile veteran who can play both corner and safety (like Chris Crocker)? Possibly, but with the amount of free agents they will have at the end of this season, my gut says they let him walk after this season.
@CincyJungle if the Bengals beat the Chargers Sunday. Would it be okay to view the Bengals as the team to beat ?— Christian No Grey (@Call_Me_Flash) September 17, 2015
Thanks for the question, Christian! I don't want to get ahead of ourselves just yet, but, if the Bengals win on Sunday and look good doing so, they will put themselves in a good position from a division standpoint. But, as far as calling them the team to beat in the division, I don't think we can do that until they play Baltimore and Pittsburgh at least once. Personally, I believe the Bengals will win the division this year, so in my opinion, they already are the team to beat in the division. However, beating Oakland and San Diego is not going to make them among the teams to beat in the AFC, which in my opinion, would still be New England and Denver.