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Bengals News (1/27): Keeping upbeat

D.J. Reader is excited for his next season with the Bengals.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Upbeat Reader Ready To Start Season As Bengals Defensive Front Eyes Elusive Health
Emboldened by his encouraging rehab, the addition of his college defensive line coach and the potential return of something near NFL normalcy for a team that had so many close calls, Bengals nose tackle D.J. Reader has the same snap-crackle-and-pop optimism he brought with him last season in free agency.

Photo Gallery | Best 2020 Images Of Joe Burrow
The best of photos from Joe Burrow's memorable 2020 rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Upgrading Joe Burrow projection will be Bengals' top offseason priority
The go-to phrase for the new Bengals offensive line coach is "Line 1," a piece of throwback verbiage he repeated often in his first press conference. And that line is so loud it might as well be screaming through a megaphone.

Kyle Pitts is why Bengals need to fix o-line needs in free agency
ESPN’s Ben Baby recently floated the idea on the basis the team could spend big in free agency on the offensive line: “But the fun pick? How about Florida’s Kyle Pitts? He could take Burrow and the Bengals’ offense to another level and has the potential to be a game-changing tight end for years to come.”

Finding fits for the Cincinnati Bengals: CB Caleb Farley
The dynamic athlete arrived at Virginia Tech having played quarterback throughout his high school career. After redshirting his freshman year due to injury, Farley returned and in two years became one of the premier corners in the ACC. Despite opting-out of the 2020 season, there is plenty of first-round buzz surrounding him.

Duke Tobin details Bengals’ Senior Bowl strategy ahead of draft
This year, teams can only send 10 representatives to the event. The Bengals are relying more on film than ever as a result. That’s especially the case after coaching the game itself last year before passing on the opportunity again.

Bengals’ futures odds to reach Super Bowl next year released
Does that make the Bengals a terrible bet? Historically, two teams out of nine that finished with five or fewer wins last year will post winning records. Luckily for the Bengals, they’re one of only 10 teams actually sitting pretty with a franchise quarterback ready to go for 2021 thanks to Joe Burrow. Add in a top-five pick and another trip to free agency and anything is possible, right?

Around the league

Matthew Stafford landing spots: Six teams that should trade for QB
As NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported over the weekend, Stafford and the Detroit Lions have agreed to mutually part ways after the veteran quarterback expressed his desire for a trade. And I understand why he'd want out. Since being chosen first overall by the Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft, Stafford has played for three head coaches (four, if you include interim coach Darrell Bevell, who replaced Matt Patricia during the 2020 season) in 12 seasons, going 0-3 in playoff appearances. And, if he were to stay in Detroit, he'd be operating under yet another new coaching-front office regime, with the Lions hiring Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes.

Seahawks hiring Shane Waldron as new offensive coordinator
With grand expectations and great numbers, Seattle's offense soared at the onset of the 2020 season with quarterback Russell Wilson seemingly headed for his first AP Most Valuable Player campaign. The Seahawks offense stumbled down the stretch, though, and Seattle was bounced on Super Wild Card Weekend by the Rams.

Vikings TE Rudolph not interested in pay cut: 'I think I'm worth every dime of my contract'
"With that being said, I think I'm worth every dime of my contract. That doesn't mean that I'm used to my potential and I'm used to do what I do well, so it will be interesting over the next few months. Like I said, I have three years left on my contract. I don't want to go anywhere else. I've somehow become a pretty decent blocker because I've been forced to. It certainly wasn't something that I ever did well at any point of my career. Maybe in high school because I was bigger than everyone else, but even then, I just wanted to run around and catch balls."

2021 Senior Bowl Day 1: Five stars from practice; Dolphins' Brian Flores weighs in on DeVonta Smith
With Reese's Senior Bowl practices getting underway on Tuesday, 100-plus prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft are in the midst of a crucial job interview. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah and Chase Goodbread provide a look at standouts from Day 1, as well as notes from player and coach interviews.

Sean McDermott acknowledges 'gap' between Bills, Chiefs, including 'the speed element'
"There is still a gap in terms of where we are and where they are. It's not just one answer that solves that problem," McDermott said, via Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN. "We all have to, starting with me, we all have to continue asking ourselves the hard questions of the what-ifs and the whys and the hows. We as a staff have to get better and improve, we have to improve our roster, we have to improve our operation and what we do."