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Coaching change providing Bengals veterans a “needed spark”

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One of the Bengals’ best players recently noted that the organization making a head coaching change is the shakeup that’s been needed.

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We’re a few days away from the biggest game of the year for the NFL, as the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots face-off in what is known as almost an international sports holiday, of sorts. Even so, the Cincinnati Bengals are sitting at home, while the team’s brain trust plots out their next series of moves for 2019.

Some of the sights and sounds recently emerging from those connected to the franchise were very interesting, given this year of massive upheaval in The Queen City. Some were made by Cincinnati’s star receiver, A.J. Green, on “Radio Row” during Super Bowl LIII’s week-long media frenzy. We discussed them on this week’s OBI episode.

Aside from proclaiming the surgery on his foot a success and describing his rehabilitation process, the usually-low-profile receiver talked about Marvin Lewis’ departure as a team need. While it may be an obvious statement to those who have endured the past 16 years filled with numerous postseason failures, it was a surprise to hear Green echo fan sentiments.

Of course, Green also briefly mentioned that this year will also be “tough” without seeing Lewis around the locker room. The comment proved that even though things had seemingly gotten stale under Lewis, the long-tenured coach had some level of reverence from his players.

Personally, the comments harkened back to the 2017 images of Green punching and wrestling with Jalen Ramsey. Aside from the Jaguars defensive back being a known smack-talker and our knowledge that his comments to Green were likely personal and over the line, many conjectured that No. 18’s rare on-field explosion was also a powder keg moment for what was then a year and a half’s worth of losing.

In all likelihood, it stemmed back from the team’s loss to the Steelers in the 2015 Wild Card game.

It’s probably a sentiment shared by other veterans, star players and team leaders currently on the roster. They also now see one of their old captains, Andrew Whitworth, playing in the big game this Sunday and wonder what could have become of their own star-crossed careers.

Co-host John Sheeran said that he believes Green was speaking for at least a significant contingent of the team with these comments.

“If A.J. Green is saying this, then he’s kind of saying it for the rest of the team,” Sheeran said on this week’s show. “Because, naturally, veterans and rookies will always follow Green, as he is like the de facto leader because he is the best player on offense and what he says kind of determines the direction of where things are going to go.”

“I think that if he’s (Green) saying this, I think there’s a clear distinction that the whole team is with that message. So, I think he’s kind of taken it upon himself to kind of say: ‘This is the direction, or type of P.R. we’re going to go into because Marvin’s gone and there’s not a whole lot we can do about that right now.’ And, I do think that players would have welcomed Marvin back because he was well-liked in that locker room and is a ‘player’s coach’, but I think that Green realizes the reality and face it head-on.”

Additionally, we touched on Zac Taylor’s recent comments as well. Though he was unable to confirm reports that he will be the Bengals’ next head coach, he talked about how he has prepared for the opportunity and we all received a glimpse into how he briefly presented himself to the media.

“I think it was kind of what we expected. (We expected) Someone who, in the same way as Marvin Lewis’ early years, had a way with words,” Sheeran said of Taylor. “He (Lewis) kind of had a way of persuading people; a guy who came across as one who belongs in this position and is worthy of a position like this...If the Bengals had their eye on this guy (Taylor) weeks before the season ended, you have to think that he’s much more than just a guy who was buddy-buddy and close assistant of Sean McVay”.

We also had these topics on tap this week:

  • Which prospects at the Senior Bowl impressed the most this past week?
  • How much did Duke quarterback Daniel Jones help his draft stock by being the game’s MVP?
  • There were a lot of receiving weapons on display in Mobile—could they Bengals add some this spring?
  • Which guys really made a name for themselves in the Senior Bowl, akin to Will Hernandez’s rise to prominence last year?
  • Could the Bengals look at Derek Carr as a possible quarterback swap-out option? We connect the dots of him potentially landing in Cincinnati.
  • What other coaching names are out there to take the open Bengals’ assistant coach spots?

Our thanks to the live listeners and to those who submitted questions this week. Hit us up with yours next time, and, as always, thanks for listening!

If you’re unable to join us live for here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube every episode, all Orange and Black Insider content is available here on CJ, the Stitcher and Google Play Music apps, our YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes! You can tweet us @BengalsOBI or get in touch with us via email at theobinsider@gmail.com. Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels!