When it comes to the Bengals, which player could this team least afford to lose?
Frankly, it feels like an easy question to answer, but perhaps it’s not so simple.
We do know how scary it is to think about the Bengals’ offense without A.J. Green. He’s not only one of the game’s top receivers but also one of the best overall players.
Green carries this offense more than any player carries any part of this team, so not having him is a scary thought. That’s even more magnified when you realize Brandon LaFell is the team’s No. 2 receiver, the same guy who ranked 104th out of 116 eligible receivers in Pro Football Focus’ rankings.
Hopefully, Tyler Boyd in Year 3 and a healthy John Ross can provide a big upgrade to this offense and help take more of the load off of Green’s shoulders.
As important as Green is, a good case can be made that Geno Atkins is as, if not more important to the defense. He’s been one of the best defensive tackles of this decade, not to mention someone who will get serious Hall of Fame consideration when his career is over.
Even in the worst years of the Bengals’ defense, Atkins always kept this unit at least respectable, and more often than not, it was a unit that opposing offenses feared. Atkins also makes everyone around him better by drawing the focus of the defense.
Without Atkins, it’s possible opposing offenses would just be running around and through this defense, like we saw against the Bears this past season when Atkins was severely limited with a toe injury.
Then there’s Andy Dalton, who’s had plenty of ups and downs throughout his Bengals career. You could have made a great case for him being the one player Cincinnati could not afford to lose in 2015 when he was playing at an MVP level, and that was painfully evident when he was lost to a thumb injury.
But we’ve also seen Dalton have some so-so seasons that may have not been much better than what AJ McCarron or another quarterback would have brought to the table.
All said, we’re asking you, what player could the Bengals not afford to lose in the 2018 season?
Who is most critical to the Bengals’ success in 2018?
This poll is closed