At least someone has hope in the Cincinnati Bengals.
That someone is star receiver A.J. Green. After diving into an injury update and then his view on the new rookies, Green told the media that he believes the Bengals will “surprise a lot of people.”
A.J. could be right. Let’s all pray he’s right.
That said, almost every analyst doesn’t believe Cincinnati will be good this year. Recent ESPN projections have them not even winning one of their six divisional games and totaling a mere three wins all season long.
Much of those projections are probably based on a few assumptions.
One of which is centered around one of the many rookie head coaches in the NFL. Coming off three-straight losing seasons, Zac Taylor has work to do on both the offensive and defensive side of the field.
Unlike Marvin Lewis had at his disposal, Taylor may get a full year of both A.J. Green and Andy Dalton at full strength. More importantly, Tyler Eifert will also be a viable option in the middle of the field.
Those two pass catchers along with 2018 breakout player Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon and maybe even Drew Sample will give Dalton options he hasn’t had in years. But, will he make use of those options in Taylor’s new offense is the better question.
Being a quarterbacks coach on the league’s second-highest scoring offense, Taylor knows what a terrific balance of running and passing along with the inside-out of what makes a good quarterback is. Dalton should reach a new level under Taylor.
Then, combine a healthy defense with Preston Brown back in the middle of the field. The Bengals were 4-3 with their only losses coming at the hand of the Panthers, Chiefs and Steelers in the seven games that Brown played last season.
Add in another year for players like Sam Hubbard and Jessie Bates, and the Bengals defense could also be surprisingly solid.
Altogether, it’s not idiotic to side with Green. The analysts may not have faith in Cincinnati, but that’s never stopped the Bengals from thriving before.