NFL Football is almost back!
The Cincinnati Bengals have reported to training camp, and there are things to talk about! The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith Tweeted (or X’d or whatever Twitter is now) some quotes from the team’s defensive coordinator, Lou Anarumo on Monday morning.
Some notes from Lou Anarumo— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) July 24, 2023
-"We're not a new group."
-"Full confidence in Chido. He's moving great."
-A lot of focus on how the safeties gel together in camp.
-The Bengals have the ability to have one of the deeper defensive lines he has coached. They'll mix combos.
The Bengals recently placed a few players on the physically unable to perform list, including Chidobe Awuzie. Considering the footage of Awuzie’s jackhammer drill, it was a little surprising he was placed on PUP, but it just means they’re not going to rush him back from injury. It doesn’t mean that he won’t be ready for the regular season, it just means they’re letting the cornerback take his time to recover from his knee injury.
The Bengals lost two veteran safeties this offseason in Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell. The two were replaced by Dax Hill, who was selected in the first round of last year’s draft, and likely Nick Scott, who signed as a free agent this offseason. Hill will play free safety, and Scott will play strong safety, but there’s also Jordan Battle, who was selected in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Alabama. He could see some playing time in the defensive backfield as well.
Regardless of who starts, there’s no denying that the Bengals safeties are going to be inexperienced when the season starts, and it makes sense that Anarumo and the rest of the defensive coaching staff are paying a lot of attention to the position now.
The Bengals selected Myles Murphy, the edge rusher out of Clemson, with the No. 28 overall pick in the draft this year. He’ll be added to a talented group of pass rushers that includes Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, and Joseph Ossai. The interior of the line, though, is a little thin behind DJ Reader and B.J. Hill. Many thought the Bengals would address the interior of the line in the draft or free agency, but they didn’t.
However, it seems that Anarumo is suggesting that some defensive ends could rotate inside during certain situations. Many are also expecting Zach Carter, the second year defensive tackle, to take a step and contribute as the team’s new three tech.
The Bengals defense is mostly set. While there could be some fluctuation at the safety position, the rest of the defense is almost written in stone, especially if Awuzie is ready to go before the season starts. However, the 2022 season could be the last for Reader, Logan Wilson, Awuzie, and others, as they’re all set to hit the open market as free agents.
The Bengals are primed to make another Super Bowl run in 2023, and with a fully loaded defense under Anarumo’s tutelage, the team could finally get over the hump.