The Cincinnati Bengals made moves to improve both their offense and defense this offseason.
While many would’ve liked a more pinpointed effort to improve their linebacking core, the Bengals filled voided numerous voids, one of which was on the offensive line and the other at tight end.
That said, it may get the Bengals over .500, but it likely won’t get them to the playoffs unless they win a few pivotal games down the stretch. Without much star power and with talent that’ll find a way to win a few games, the Bengals are stuck in no-man’s-land.
The Ringer has similar views on the Zac Taylor-led team. They, for the most part, blame an inept front office.
“Cincinnati’s front office has long had a reputation for being cautious and devoting most of the team’s cap to extensions for its own players, but its decisions this year drifted into self-parody. Every notable signing involved retaining a former Bengals player: cornerback Darqueze Dennard, offensive lineman Bobby Hart, tight end Tyler Eifert, and linebacker Preston Brown. Successful teams have always made it a priority to draft, develop, and retain homegrown players, but that strategy only tends to work if those players are worth extending.”
They also believe Cincinnati could shock the NFL world this season if the Taylor-led team can stay healthy throughout the season.
That being said, Cincinnati, over the last few seasons, also hasn’t been awful.
While they’ve been under .500 for three straight seasons, they traditionally draft in the middle of the pack, not being lowly enough to snag a top-five pick. They’ve only drafted in the top-five twice in the past decade, and one of those picks was A.J. Green,
Overall, the team hasn’t drafted poorly. Duke Tobin has thrived with the Bengals, but a combination of injuries and holes due to a lack of free agency success has really crushed the Queen City’s dreams.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, or at least there could be.
A new offense, a healthy start, an improved offensive line and a defense that excelled to end 2018 all await Bengals fans in 2019. It may not be a 14-2-type team, but they certainly could figure out how to make the playoffs in an AFC North that saw two of the other three teams lose key players on both sides of the ball.