The Bengals of this decade are not accustomed to losing much.
From 2011-2015, Marvin Lewis’s team went 52-27-1 in the regular season. In the two seasons since that five-year stretch, they’re 13-18-1, a far cry from the playoff contending franchise they established themselves to be. But in the NFL, it’s a “what have you done for me lately” industry.
From the national perspective, recent underwhelming campaigns have put a poor awareness on the Bengals roster, and in turn, some of the players as well. Negative regression hit a few players in specific last year, and the losing only seemed to compound on the perception.
These three Bengals may have been written off by some, but they have the talent to be an important part of the Bengals’ success. All three have are working with new position coaches and are poised to make an impact in 2018.
As is the standard for defensive rookies in Cincinnati, Kirkpatrick’s career got a slow start. He was barley seen in his rookie campaign in 2012. The next two seasons he played well, but in a reserve role due to injuries. 2015 was his first season as a full time starter and he had his struggles, but the following year he played very well.
Unfortunately, he took a step back in 2017. With a new defensive coordinator and position coach, look for Kirkpatrick to make a comeback in 2018. As teams learn to avoid William Jackson III their will be much more pressure on Kirkpatrick and the team will need him to bounce back in a big way.
Boyd has played pretty well when he has gotten the chance. He caught five passes in each of the last two games of 2017. With John Ross and A.J. Green threatening vertically their could be a lot of opportunites for Boyd to get open underneath. He is a skilled receiver who should be an important part of this offense. Don’t be surprised is Boyd is a big part of the Bengals’ success in 2018.
Some people love to hate Dalton, but the fact is with enough talent around him he can play at an extremely high level. The last time he had that was 2015 when he threw for 25 touchdowns in 13 games and had a QB rating of 106.2. Dalton can lead this team to the playoffs and be the trigger man for a high powered offense.
With Joe Mixon becoming the primary back, Tyler Eifert looking healthy, and young receivers like Boyd, John Ross, and Josh Malone waiting for their opportunity, this offense could be stellar in 2018.