The Eagles have officially won their first Super Bowl. That means there are only 12 teams left in the NFL who have yet to win a Super Bowl. One of those teams is the Bengals. Don’t get mad though. The Eagles’ run should give Bengals fans hope that the team can cross its name off that list very soon.
Seriously. Let me explain.
Defense can still win championships
People will quickly point to the fact that this Super Bowl had the two teams combine for the most yards in Super Bowl history, and they broke that record in the third quarter. While the Eagles’ defense didn’t shutdown Tom Brady and the Patriots, it did get the Eagles to the Super Bowl. It also made the play that no one expected it to make to help seal the game. Brandon Graham finally got to Brady forcing a fumble that led to a field goal and an eight point lead.
The one thing the Bengals need to improve on to get to the Eagles’ level is creating turnovers. Cincinnati struggled to take away the ball form opposing teams last season, while Philadelphia created 30 turnover. That’s an area in which new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will work on early and often this offseason.
A team can make meaningful and productive splashes in free agency
The Eagles made a ton of moves this season. The biggest splash was Alshon Jeffery on a one-year, $14 million deal. That was their biggest move, and it is a move the Bengals don’t need to make since they already employ A.J. Green. Other moves the Eagles made include bringing in Torrey Smith, Chance Warmack and even Nick Foles. Including Foles’ two-year deal worth $11 million, those three players cost them about $17.5 million over two seasons.
The Eagles also were not afraid to deal away players that didn’t fit their schemes. They traded Jordan Matthews for Ronald Darby. Darby helped immensley at the corner position, and the Eagles didn’t need Matthews with players like Jeffery, Smith and Nelson Agholor. They also took a calculated risk and brought in Jay Ajayi right before the trade deadline after reports of him being a bad teammate. That only cost them a fourth round pick.
The Bengals make tiny deals (Marquis Flowers and Bene Benwikere, for example), but they don’t seem to do it often enough. They also don’t really take on risks like an Ajayi move offers. And, the Bengals don’t move players at positions at which they are very deep. I’m looking at holding onto Jeremy Hill despite having Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard, for example. Being more open to bringing in outside players is something we were promised when Mike Brown extended the contract of Marvin Lewis, but we will have to wait and see if that holds up.
If Nick Foles can win a Super Bowl so can Andy Dalton
There is an overwhelming belief that in order to win a Super Bowl you need a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning caliber quarterback. However, the Eagles proved if you put enough talent around around a quarterback and work to his strengths that anything is possible. It also helped that Foles didn’t deal with any pressure all game long and that the Eagles’ coaching staff did a phenomenal job. Foles wasn’t sacked a single time in the Super Bowl. He was also only hurried two or three times. Most of the time he was able to sit back and read the defense.
Obviously, the Bengals need to get serious about protecting Dalton. They can’t expect to reach a Super Bowl, much less win a playoff game, with Dalton running for his life and Cedric Ogbuehi protecting his blindside.
The Eagles had a very quick turnaround
The Eagles went through two seasons of mediocrity before their breakthrough this season. They went 7-9 in both of the last two years before making the leap this season. Some of the biggest reasons for that leap are making more moves in the offseason, the coaching change and even the quarterback change.
The Eagles drastically changed their team this offseason, and a lot of that was done through free agency and trades, but more of it had to do with the philosophy change, and finally getting players that could form a productive offense and defense. The coaching and quarterback changes were big deals, but finally getting in the personnel to execute the playbook was just as big. That is something the Bengals can do if they are aggressive enough to cut some cap constricting players and use that money to bring in talented players to compete.
Andy Dalton can catch that ball, too
Something that is now apparently a big deal for quarterbacks in the Super Bowl is whether or not they can catch the ball. We saw one of these plays from both teams during Super Bowl 52.
First, from the Patriots...
Tom Brady ROLLS OUT FOR THE CATCH!— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) February 5, 2018
.... lol jkpic.twitter.com/TtkUqPpsg5
Then one to Foles, which may go down as one of the best play calls of all time, since it was on fourth-down right before halftime...
This means the Bengals are in a great spot with Dalton. I’m not even going out on a limb to say he is probably one of the best receiving quarterbacks of all-time. Lets hope the Bengals pull out this gem during next year’s Super Bowl...