clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bengals have loaded up the fireworks for 2019, but will they be lit?

These things need to go right for the Bengals to be functioning like a well planned firework display.

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

What better way to celebrate the holiday than with some optimistic Bengals’ content for the new season?

In this post, we are going to look at some uncertainties with the current roster that need to work out for the Bengals to be celebrating at the end of the season. Feel free to leave any things that you think were missed down in the comments. Also, a hat tip to Big Blue View for popularizing the idea.

John Ross and other young weapons picking up new offense

It is pretty easy to see guys like A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert will be successful in just about any offense. Young players like Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd had breakout seasons in 2018, but we have seen that it is never a certainty that those breakout players continue on that trajectory. It is safer to say though that these guys should flourish, but we all remember Jeremy Hill.

The big one though is Ross. There are plenty of fans that were disappointed with his first two seasons, which included a rookie season without a reception. The new offensive minds in Cincinnati have a history of at least creating plays for speedsters to use that threat to get open.

Rather than just having them used as a decoy to open up space for other players. If the Bengals are trotting out four to five actual targets on offense that defenses need to be concerned about, then that will make Andy Dalton’s job that much easier.

The offense line playing at an average level

This one already took a huge blow with Bengals rookie first round pick Jonah Williams reportedly set to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, but all hope is not lost just yet.

Billy Price is coming into the offseason healthy, unlike last year, so we should expect some improvement from him at center. Also, the team seems to have replaced Alex Redmond with free agent John Miller at right guard. That change alone should help.

The part that makes this whole thing rocky is if Bobby Hart can play a little bit more consistently on the good side. He had flashes of looking like an actual right tackle, but there were far too many plays where you wondered what he was doing on the field.

New head coach Zac Taylor is bringing a more creative offense that is centered around play-action, which should only help cover any deficiencies in pass blocking.

Any sort of a defense

It was clear that even had things broke the Bengals’ way in the health department last season, that the defense simply wasn’t prepared to deal with offenses on the level of the Chiefs, Saints or Rams. That was pretty well illustrated by Cincinnati dropping Teryl Austin only halfway into his first season as the defensive coordinator.

It has been encouraging to hear defenders constantly talking about how Lou Anarumo’s defense is much simpler to understand, and that they feel more comfortable going into the season already.

The fact none of our corners had an interception last season, and running backs like Nick Chubb were beating linebackers outside was really really bad. The team also really felt the loss of Carl Lawson early in the season as they really struggled to create a consistent pass rush for most of the season.

Even if the Bengals finish near the middle of the road defensively, that should help out in the win column.

Andy Dalton

Any Bengals fan knows how divisive Dalton is as a quarterback. There are plenty of fans who wish we moved on years ago, and others who are ecstatic to see what he can do with an offensive-minded coach.

This team will go as Dalton goes. If he has a 2015 type season, where he was even discussed as being in the MVP race before injuring his thumb, then the sky is the limit for this team. If he struggles under the new coaching staff, then the team will probably be in a good position in the draft to look towards the future.

After seeing how Taylor helped Jared Goff grow in Los Angeles though, it is pretty hard to imagine things getting that bad for Dalton and the Bengals in 2019.