To say that this offseason has been a big test for first-time head coach, Zac Taylor, would be an understatement. After two days of practice, Taylor is without five former first-round picks still on the roster in A.J. Green, John Ross, Jonah Williams, Billy Price and Darqueze Dennard.
The Green news is dominating most headlines at the moment. Initially, it seemed that the star receiver would only be out for the preseason after injuring his ankle on the first day of practice, but it now might be something that affects his ability to suit up at the beginning of the regular season.
As we sit here today, the issue with Green’s injury is the uncertainty of the ailment having a lingering effect. He is apparently getting a second opinion and hopes to avoid surgery altogether, but even if he does, is this going to be something similar to the toe ligament issue of last season?
And, of course, this injury throws the whole contract discussion into flux. After completing the necessary deal with Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati’s front office has some tough decisions to make, when it comes to the future of the wide receiver position.
Part of the equation is in who steps up in Green’s absence. Part of the issue is in Green’s absence, but others are stepping up in the face of adversity.
When things were broken down, guys like Tyler Eifert and others stepped up in the wake of injury. And. even with Green’s early absence from camp, players like Eifert ended up giving confidence to the fan base.
Additionally, Cincinnati welcomed back Andre Smith, who signed his fifth contract with the Bengals. He’ll be a backup with the team, but gives tackle depth to the team.
With both Green and Ross out of the lineup, former exciting players like Josh Malone and Cody Core took center stage. Things have been illuminated in the national spotlight, but it is what is.
Fortunately for many, these issues have been brought to light. Eifert and others were making a number of plays on the second day of practice.
Needless to say, the Bengals will need big coaching leaps and maturity shown from a number of critical players on the roster.