The Bengals’ defense in 2019 was one of the worst in the league. And the worst position group was the linebackers.
The two starters that took the field on In Week 1 of last season are now gone; Preston Brown was cut midseason and Nick Vigil walked in free agency.
Bengals fans got nervous when they didn’t sign a free agent to start next to Germaine Pratt until the second week of free agency. That was until the Bengals signed Josh Bynes.
It was clear that Zac Taylor, Lou Anarumo, and linebackers coach Al Golden were trying to transform the position. After signing Bynes, drafting three linebackers, and signing college and lower-tier free agents, Jordan Evans remains the only Marvin Lewis holdover.
Evans is the second-most experienced linebacker in the room, with 45 games under his belt. Bynes, who is 31-year old, has a total experience of 101 games. That means he has played in more NFL games than the rest of the room combined.
When more than half of the players at the position have less than a full season of experience, Bynes sticks out as the natural leader.
“My job is to impart that knowledge they can use and then they can pass it on in their career,” Bynes told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “There’s no point keeping it to myself.”
Most of the team’s activities have been through video conferences, but Bynes can’t wait to take the field and get some physical work in.
Bynes previously played for the Lions when Golden was the tight ends coach, and has high regards for him as well as the young group of linebackers.
“I can’t wait to get out on the field and we can have all that experience from him. Our linebackers loved him and I can see why.
“Right now, they’re picking it up,” Bynes said. “The changes come when you practice it. You get to a high level by practice. That’s what this league has been built on since before time. It’s good to be ready in the classroom, but you have to do it on the field.”
Bynes doesn’t think he will have a hard time keeping up, even though he is the oldest linebacker in the group by five years.
“I don’t consider myself old, just experienced,” Bynes said. “I’m as hungry as they are.”