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Bengals Mailbag: Facilities, draft options and free agency bargain bins

John Sheeran and Anthony Cosenza of Cincy Jungle take the air to answer the burning questions on the minds of Bengals fans—no fooling!

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It’s Friday and you know what that means—Listener Questions Live! John Sheeran and myself took the air to answer your Bengals questions!

On the show:

  • Might the Bengals take a surprising position early in the draft that doesn’t appear as an immediate need?
  • Do we think Joe Burrow is going to take a team-friendly or “hometown” discount on his next contract with the Bengals?
  • If the Bengals take a cornerback at No. 31 overall, is he the day one starter?
  • What are our expectations for Joseph Ossai and Wyatt Hubert in year two?
  • If the Bengals end up building a new stadium in the future, might it have a retractable roof? What’s the latest on the indoor practice facility?
  • And much more!

If you want to get yours in on a future episode, you can send your questions to us in a number of ways:

  • A number of live chats and comment threads. On this post, the above-embedded YouTube video (“Super Chats” get priority), Cincy Jungle’s Facebook and more.
  • Call/Text (949) 542-6241.
  • Email us at theobinsider@gmail.com.
  • Tweet @BengalsOBI or @CincyJungle.

Our thanks to those who submitted questions for the live show! Make sure to give it a listen/watch.

In the meantime, we’ll get to another topic we didn’t get to cover on the show itself:

From email:

“Joe Burrow’s first “normal” off-season. Rookie season had a lot virtually. Last off-season Joe was going through rehab. How much better can Joe be with a real off-season??

Thanks” - Cody

Appreciate the email, Cody. What a scary thought and, truthfully, not one the masses have readily seem to think about. We know how serious “Joe Brrrrr” approaches the game, so without any major hindrances this offseason, it seems as if the sky is the limit.

And, that’s saying something, given Burrow’s re-writing of the Bengals’ passing record book last season. Most single-season passing yards and most touchdown passes in Cincinnati history were part of his masterful 2021 season. Oh, and no asterisks with either achievement, as Burrow didn’t even play in that extra 17th regular-season game.

Aside from actually hitting the ground running this spring and summer, Burrow now has the added benefit of the team adding in three new, solid offensive linemen to protect him. Throw in the development of young star wide receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase and it’s easy to see why folks are talking “dynasty” in Bengals circles.

Burrow was on a pitch count, of sorts, last offseason, but that won’t be the case this year. Of course, he’ll be very limited in preseason games, but the team should hit its offensive stride earlier than last year.

One could make the argument that it took until Week 6 against the Lions wherein we saw the true potential of the 2021 Cincinnati offense. Sure, signs were there in Week 1 against the Vikings and Week 4 against the Jaguars, but the middle of the season showcased the offense coalescing.

There are a few goals in this now “complete” offseason for Burrow and Co., though. Of course, from a holistic perspective, general improvement in offensive line play has to be priority one.

With three new starters on the line, the spring and summer have to be about getting these guys up front acclimated to each other. Quality offensive line play is characterized by continuity. Getting these guys on the same page quickly is the first step in a critical process for 2022.

More specifically, if we look at the postseason, shoring up red zone efficiency and success in opponents’ territory are musts. And, that also starts with the offensive line. In their four postseason games,

Cincinnati scored just eight touchdowns, as opposed to 14 field goals. Five of those eight touchdowns came in the red zone, while the inability to get consistent positive plays largely resided in a porous offensive line. Burrow also needs to not run himself into the occasional negative play in this area of the field as well.

In truth, while we saw a franchise record-setting offense filled with excitement last year, there should be an even higher ceiling now. Development, a significantly-improved offensive line and, to Cody’s original premise, a full offseason for Burrow should all lead to another playoff run this season.

If you’re unable to join us live here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube for every episode, all of our podcast content is available here on CJ, the Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Google Play Music apps, our Orange and Black Insider YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes! Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels to be notified when we’re going live and when new episodes are available!