Over the last decade, the Cincinnati Bengals have a reputation of not being big spenders in free agency. If they were, star offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth may still be in the Queen City.
That’s why their offseason turned some heads.
They added the necessary parts on both sides of the ball to majorly improve their two-win roster from a season ago. There was one specific need though, and it pertained to stopping the run.
The Bengals, allowing 148.9 yards per game against opposing rushers, were the league’s worst run defense in 2019. That’s why they spent the money to bring in the player now the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL.
D.J. Reader, the superstar for the Houston Texans defensive line, is taking it upon himself to lead this front, one that should be improved just with his added presence.
“That’s the way it works. What you have to go out there for every day. You have to go get it. Nobody is going to care. There are 31 other teams out there dealing with the same elements and they are going to practice hard. You think they are going to stop running the ball just because you don’t got the opportunity to practice you are crazy. You better get out there and practice playing the run,” Reader told Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson.
The Bengals have a few studs already on the line in defensive end Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Both of those players have been getting at the quarterback in Cincinnati for about a decade, and healthy, they’re primed for a terrific season.
The trios should at least be able to tame some of the best rushing teams in the NFL.
They’ll be taking on the Baltimore Ravens, the league’s top run offense, averaging over 200 yards per game, twice. They’ll also take on the Cleveland Browns twice, the No. 12 rushing offense.
Reader was a necessary addition, and looking to lead by example, expect a big season from the Bengals defensive front.