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Cincinnati Bengals

The Bills have set us free, so now what do we do at center

Cody Tewmey

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Until Russel Bodine was officially signed by another team, thanks again Bills, we all were in fear of his return. With all of the options that the Bengals are “familiar” with off the table, what is next? The free agent pool that the Bengals might have considered are all signed now, or they won’t be signed until after the draft, so that leaves us with one main option draft our new center in April. There are multiple options in this draft that would be upgrades to Bodine in the upcoming draft and I will cover those in a bit. The Bengals are very fortunate to have this draft have three top tier options at center for them to choose from and with the trade down to pick 21 they are right in the spot where teams would start considering the position.
 
James Daniels – Iowa 6’3″, 305 lbs
The only player I’d consider at pick 21 is Daniels. I can already feel the OSU fans scrolling to the comments section to tell me about Billy Price, but please just hear me out. In Frank Pollock’s wide zone scheme (ZBS) athleticism at the center position is critical. The last time Pollock had a shot at a center like this, his name was Travis Frederick and he took him at pick 31, after a trade down. Since then interior offensive line has gained some value, but at pick 21 he is still going to be in rare air for a drafted center. With Daniels you are betting on his ceiling, not his floor as the better floor player is Billy Price, for those OSU fans still reading. I’ll get to him soon with more detail though. Having a center that is athletic enough to pull and get to the second level, and actually block his intended linebacker, will be a huge benefit to Mixon/Gio. This won’t help as much with the 3-8 yard runs, but will provide more opportunities for home runs if Daniels can clear out the second level it’s the RB versus the DBs with a full head of steam. Make one man miss and you’ll hear Lap all the way in Covington from the booth on the call; I’ll take those odds. Does Daniels have some issues, sure all players do, but if I’m taking a center in the first round I want the chance that at some point of his career he’s the best in the NFL, Daniels gives you that. For those that want a guy with local ties, Daniels fits that as well. He played high school football in Ohio and actually against Billy Price, who he claimed to have pancaked twice at an interview during the NFL Combine. Daniels can sometimes get overpowered by bigger guys, but he has already added weight since the seasons end and if he can carry that weight well it will help with that. He’s is great at controlling the quicker 3T defensive tackles to seal off running lanes. 
Bodine upgrade Rating 4X
 
Billy Price – OSU 6’4′ 306 lbs
Let the heavy breathing begin for the Buckeye faithful. This is one of those rare times where a huge need in Cincinnati matches up with a top flight prospect from Columbus and thus the excitement begins. Would Billy Price be a terrible pick at 21, not really, but he is likely reach there so I wouldn’t do it, now at 46 that’s a solid pick. As they say in the scouting world “you don’t get fired for hitting doubles,” and Price is likely that, his floor is solid, but he doesn’t have the athletic upside that Daniels does plus he just doesn’t have the wow plays. Is Price athletic enough to run Pollock’s system, yes he is, but is he such the prospect that Pollock will stand on the table at 21 for him, I’m not sure. People will talk about his size, but Daniels has put on nearly 15 pounds in the draft process so I expect them to have similar playing weights in the NFL. People will talk about his leadership and his grit/heart, well a lot of players play hard in the NFL, but that doesn’t make them great. Price was a vocal leader on the offense, super durable (starting every game in his career), and has played both guard and center, so that is a big bonus. Price is a very powerful blocker, so that is useful attribute in this division with all the big NT that they will face, but he can get too aggressive and miss at times. I think the Bengals are going to go a different direction at 21 with this center class, although I would say it is a mistake just take your top guy and start off this draft well. I have a feeling they will see it is so deep, so they will likely just wait until pick 46 and take the best guy in their board between Daniels (5% chance he’s there), Price (60% chance he’s there), and Frank Ragnow (85% chance he’s there). It very well end up that the Buckeye faithful go to bed unhappy on Thursday night only to be filled with joy early into day two of the NFL Draft.
Bodine upgrade rating 2.5X
 
Frank Ragnow – Arkansas 6’5″ 315 lbs
If there is a prospect that Bengals fans will love, not named Billy, that they aren’t talking about it’s Ragnow. Were you a fan of Russell Bodine, if so Ragnow is not your guy. They couldn’t be more different in their on field play/demeanor. When Bodine would whiff on an block, fall to his keister, then clap his hands angrily at his mistake. Ragnow will quickly get to his feet and try to “find some work” to get some payback. Want a guy that “plays through the whistle,” then buckle up for some Ragnow kill shots. He’s got a mean streak and likes to finish dudes, and is pretty successful at it. The biggest issue with Ragnow will be one that no one will have an answer to until draft night. He had an ankle injury and a few other nagging ones that he played through could be a cause for some concern, but he is tough as nails and played through them. The Medicals for his injuries will largely determine some of his draft slotting, but those things we won’t know about until we see when he is picked he could go round one or as late as early round 3. He is the type that always wants to finish guys off, and somewhat surprisingly testing great athletically compared to other centers. He was a captain in his final year and was known to push his teammates to get better, something this offensive line room can use. His second level blocking is really good, so I think Pollock will really want him if Daniels is gone. He was the top rated center by PFF last year, yet another stark difference from what we have seen at that position the last four years. I thought with him playing through injuries and a slightly down 2017 year because of it he might be a target for pick 77, but more and more I’m hearing that might be his draft floor I’d bet he is gone somewhere before pick 55 now. Thus, hoping for him to be available in the third round might leave you holding the bag, so as I stated before I think the Bengals need to take their center at 21 or 46. If they pass on center at 21 & 46 then be ready to trade up from 77 to the 50s if only one center of the top three is left because Buffalo and Minnesota are both in that range and possible landing spots for a center. When it comes to early plans at center, these three guys are the only real options that are not reaches at 21 and 46.
Bodine upgrade rating 3X
 
Plan B, the later round options
 
Mason Cole – Michigan 6’4″ 310 lbs
Cole is a polarizing prospect, some love him some don’t, but the tape says to me he’s a quality player. For the same reasons that Price gets a slight boost in our area, I’d say Cole gets a bit of a bad shake, but that’s human nature it’s okay. Michigan didn’t do Cole any favors either, moving him from center to left tackle and back and forth did not help his development, or draft stock. I think Cole is likely in the same conversations as the other three guys if he plays at center his whole career at Michigan, but he didn’t and here we are. When we look back at the centers’ in this draft we very well may look back and see him as a better player then one or more of the top three and say he was the best value. I could see the Bengals using him as their parachute at center, knowing he’s most likely there at 77 and possibly even at 100, so they wait early to get maximum value if they miss on the others. He also has played some OT, so they’ll like his versatility/smarts too, as it’s not as easy to move around the line as Madden leads us to believe. I think I heard a recently signed free agent guard describe moving from one side to the next as learning to wipe with your other hand, now that’s a visual that we can all relate to, but please do not attempt this at home and tweet me the outcome. My point is playing center and left tackle are so different, which is why his development might have been slowed and his NFL upside has some added potential. Even right now, as he is he would still be an upgrade over what Bodine was, I know that’s a low bar, but think about how a fringe 4th rounder could be an immediate upgrade, that’s a good thing. If the Bengals decide to wait and the top three are gone at 77, I don’t think that they will risk it and will go with Cole at that pick to be safe. 
Bodine upgrade rating 2X now potential 3X with development
 
Will Clapp – LSU 6’5″ 310 lbs, & Scott Quessenberry- UCLA 6’4″ 310 lbs
 
These are the extreme last options for an upgrade for the Bengals. The problem is if we get to this point we should all be dissatisfied with this outcome. They is still an upgrade, but with this class you can get a guy that is a 4-5x upgrade over Bodine, yet these guys are is more like a 1.5x upgrade. That is missed opportunity, when the draft lines up with needs, you pounce and improve your team as much as possible, because the end result is felt much stronger. Having a center that can do the line calls and take that burden off of Dalton is a huge benefit to him and the offense.
Bodine upgrade Rating 1.5X
It would be hard pressed with this draft for the Bengals not to improve on what we have had at center for the last for year, but that cannot be the standard. The Bengals would be foolish to think there is a lot of value at this position and try to wait on what might slide to the middle rounds. Look at the draft with Kevin Zeitler as an example, they could have waited on that position, but they didn’t they took one of the top guys and it really paid off for this offense. I think that they should do the same thing with this center class there are three guys that can make an immediate impact and really change the landscape of this offensive line going forward. If they want to move down before picking one of them because they have similar grades on Price, Ragnow, and Daniels I am okay with that too. It worked for them the year they got Zeitler, and it worked for the Cowboys when they did it with Fredrick. There is something to just taking your guy at pick 21 and running with it, but as long as we have one of the top three by pick 46 it will be a big win for all Bengals fans.

Salesman by day, DraftTwitter by night, I’ve been working on film study of Draft prospects, and mocks for about 5 years now. Feedback and debate are healthy and it’s how we get better, so let’s engage.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Grading the Bengals victory in Dallas

Russell Heltman

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The Cincinnati Bengals are undefeated halfway through the 2018 preseason slate but if the 2017 Browns taught us anything it’s that victories before September matter a lot less than the performances that go into them. With that being said it was a victorious night for the orange and black but it was rarely pretty, time to assess their performance in each phase of the game.

Offense: C-

It was an ugly night on offense for Cincinnati, The starters basically no-showed in the first half and here’s how each drive looked before they headed to the locker room: Punt, Punt, Punt, Fumble, Punt, Interception.

All in all the first-team offense put together two drives with no first downs and 10 total yards.

That’s enough to put any team down three scores early in a regular season game and plenty of those struggles were linked to the offensive line. The left side looked decent with Clint Boling and Cordy Glenn proving they can be trusted with backside pressure. Outside of that, it was pretty rough, Bobby Hart started the game at right tackle and was shredded by Pro Bowl end Demarcus Lawrence. Cedric Ogbuehi was even worse as his replacement, allowing a sack to Taco Charlton even though he was called for a hold on the play.

As for right guard and center, Trey Hopkins didn’t make any egregious mistakes and contributed as the center on a 14-play, 92-yard TD drive in the third quarter. The argument could be made for him to be the backup center over T.J. Johnson.

Rookie center Billy Price on the other hand still has a lot of work to do, some of it looks like rookie mistakes but that is now two games into his career where he’s looked a little lost. The former Buckeye isn’t quite where we need him to be three weeks from Indianapolis. Right now Joe Mixon is averaging 2.4 yards per carry in the preseason, don’t expect that to get much better without improvement up front.

On a positive note, Jeff Driskel looked competent and collected in the second half. The Florida product went 10-of-16, for 116 yards and 1 interception but he led the Bengals longest drive of the night highlighted by this gem to John Ross.

The Bengals got the win and scored 21 points but still have a long, long way to go on the offensive line.

Defense: A

I fully expect this group to be the heart and soul of the 2018 Cincinnati Bengals.

They were absolutely dominant in Dallas, especially on the defensive line where they picked up five sacks including this power rush from Jordan Willis.

Sam Hubbard, Nick Vigil, and Carl Lawson tallied a sack and highlighted this crew’s biggest strengths: depth and versatility. Teryl Austin has the luxury of a talented front seven that isn’t reliant on one or two players but on the machine as a whole. The Cowboys could never get into a rhythm offensively because Cincinnati consistently won the first two seconds of each play. Andrew Billings was a big part of that equation, he got pressure on the inside all night and all but cemented a starting spot alongside Geno Atkins.

Pair this group with another deep crew in the cornerback room and all of those issues I mentioned above might not matter if the defense only allows 13 points on a regular basis.

As for the last line of defense, rookie Jessie Bates III got some first-team reps in place of George Iloka and looked the part, Austin has talked about running more three-safety looks all offseason and Bates III is making that game plan look more likely each week.

The offense might not be ready but this defense, despite missing Vontaze Burfict, looks ready to pounce on Andrew Luck in week one.

Special Teams: B+

This was arguably the Jonathan Brown game.

The soccer convert out of Louisville had never kicked a field goal at any level before coming to the NFL and now he has put the pressure on incumbent kicker Randy Bullock. Brown went 2-for-2 on field goal tries including a 55-yard field in the third quarter, that would have tied the Bengals regular season record set by Mike Nugent.

Marvin Lewis came out after the game and said Bullock is still the guy, which isn’t big news, he did go 18-of-20 for the Bengals last season, but keep an eye on Brown over the last two preseason games. Cincinnati let a young kicker go last year who is shaping up to be pretty special.

As far as the return game goes, Darius Phillips will be returning his fair share of kicks for the Bengals this season. he flashed serious game-breaking ability last night, finishing with three returns for 96 total yards. Making it pretty clear how he left Western Michigan as the NCAA’s all-time leader in return touchdowns.

Phillips can slide in alongside Alex Erickson this season and form one of the most dynamic return duos in the NFL. The Cowboys put together a couple of nice kickoff returns but Cincinnati’s unit won the night in the end.

The Bengals were edged out in one phase while dominating the other two and that often leads to victories in the NFL. We will see if they can link all three together next week in Buffalo.

 

For more quick-hit thoughts on the Bengals follow me on Twitter: @russheltman11

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Cincinnati Bengals

Players are buying into Bill Lazor’s offense

James Rapien

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The Bengals finished dead last in total offense last season. Yes, the 0-16 Browns finished ahead of them. So did the Colts, who played all 16 games without quarterback Andrew Luck. If you love offense, then you probably didn’t enjoy watching the Bengals last season. They scored less than 10 points in five games and didn’t reach the end zone until week three.

The offense hit rock bottom in 2017, but they don’t expect that trend to continue. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor led a complete overhaul of an offensive that had been in place since Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were drafted in 2011. Sure, they made some tweaks over the past seven seasons, but nothing like this. Lazor rebuilt an offense that needed it desperately and the players are buying in.

“I like it. It’s different terminology, numbers and stuff like that,” Alex Erickson said. “It’s obviously challenging in the beginning, but we’ve had minicamp and OTA’s to really learn it. It’s allowed us to really progress this training camp.”

Erickson hasn’t played on a winning Bengals team. He beat out Brandon Tate for a roster spot in 2016, after going undrafted. The former Wisconsin Badger is one of the many weapons that Lazor has in his arsenal. Did he design a system that will put the skill players in the best position to succeed? That’s a question that cannot be answered until actual games start, but it’s been asked since Lazor was named offensive coordinator.

The Bengals used high draft picks on skill players over the past three seasons. They drafted a wide receiver in the top ten, a running back in the second round and multiple wide receivers in rounds two through four. They have former pro bowler Tyler Eifert, a talented running back like Giovani Bernard and a top five wide receiver in Green. Did Lazor design a system that will get the most out of a young, but talented offense? Third-year wide receiver Tyler Boyd loves the depth this team has.

“We got fresh guys out there. Guys that are hungry,” Boyd said. “Guys that are willing and dying to get out there on the field and make plays. Every guy wants the best out of each other. We do a great job of motivating each other, grinding hard and competing with one another. We all have a great friendship. We’re all cool and we’re all real tight. We all want everyone to play a part. We don’t want it to just be me and A.J. all of the time. We are able to get me and A.J. a break or get two fresh guys in there and continue what we were doing. It makes it a lot easier for the offense to improve from last year.”

That unselfishness is important to have, even on a team that finished dead last in total offense last season. There are a lot of mouths to feed. From Joe Mixon and Bernard, to Eifert and Tyler Kroft, who are both in contract years. Boyd is eager to prove last year was a mere speed bump, in what will be a successful career in Cincinnati. Former ninth overall pick John Ross not only wants to move past last season, he wants to show people that the Bengals made the right decision when they drafted him in 2017. Instead of worrying about their own touches, it seems like the offense is more worried about being successful.

Fans got their first glimpse of Lazor’s new offense last Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium. The first-team offense scored two touchdowns on three drives. Dalton completed six passes to five different players. They were nearly perfect, outside of an interception that occurred when Ross fell down on a route. The Bengals are buying into Lazor’s system and the skill players are excited about their potential.

“You look at the depth at each and every position. To me, it’s absolutely insane,” tight end C.J. Uzomah said. “It’s not fair – how much skill we have. The offensive line is protecting well. When we’re able to establish the run early, I think that opens everything else up.”

The Bengals will need to be better on the ground this season. They averaged 3.6 yards-per-carry last year and finished next to last in the NFL in total rushing yards with 1,366. Detroit was last with 1,221. If this team is going to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015, they’re going to need their rushing attack to take a significant step forward. The offensive line is expected to be better with the additions of Cordy Glenn, Billy Price and Bobby Hart. Improvement up front will give Lazor a chance to show he can properly utilize two dynamic and versatile running backs in Mixon and Bernard.

And while the Bengals offense may begin with the ground game, it certainly won’t end there. They have made a concerted effort to throw the ball downfield in training camp. That makes sense when you have Green, Ross and other young players who are capable of making huge plays. Rookie Auden Tate has been impressive and so has second-year wide receiver Josh Malone.

They have shown their potential throughout training camp. Don’t look now, but this offense may complete a 180-degree turnaround from where they were a year ago.

 

For more on Bengals training camp, listen to today’s Locked on Bengals podcast:

 

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Cincinnati Bengals

A Year in the Life of the Bengals – 2015

Andrew Dunn

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When I started this journey through time six months ago, this was the season I was most looking forward to talking about – as well as the one I most dreaded.  The 2015 Bengals are to the city of Cincinnati’s football dreams what the 2012 Reds are to their baseball dreams… a huge blown opportunity.  In 2015, Tyler Eifert managed to stay healthy for most of the season and proved how dominant he could be, the AFC North was down overall, the defense had some truly remarkable studs, and Andy Dalton was well on his way to being in the MVP conversation.  This piece will feature more than you’ve gotten before – and by that, I mean I’ve got some hot takes and insights I’ve been waiting a long time to get off my chest.

But before we get into the good stuff (plus my thoughts that I’m sure you’re not caring about), we flash back just three short years ago to when American Pharaoh became the first race horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown.  Jurassic World would have been the leader atop movie boards had the Star Wars brand not been re-launched with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  And this also was the year when Disney banned all selfie sticks from their parks, thus preventing the younger generation from taking selfies from slightly higher angles.

And here we go — let’s dive right in here.  The 2015 NFL Draft was not one that had a great impact on this particular version of the Bengals, but had lasting effects the team is still recovering from even here in 2018.  Cincinnati took offensive tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in the first two rounds as left tackle Andrew Whitworth’s contract began to come upon its expiration date.  Other notable picks include Tyler Kroft in round three and Josh Shaw in round four.  So, yeah, when Kroft is the star of that group, you know it wasn’t a great draft.

No offense to Kroft, who was great as a filler for Eifert last season, but that’s just the problem.  You drafted two guys meant to sure up the offensive line, only to find that your only mild hit from the draft was your backup tight end.

This aside, the Bengals got off to a hot start to the season with a dominating 33-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders, complete with two scores each for Jeremy Hill and Tyler Eifert.  This trend would continue for the team, as they rolled to an 8-0 start — a streak that included wins over the mighty Seahawks and in Pittsburgh.

And on a weird Thursday night in November – the only game I attended in 2015 – the Bengals stopped clicking for a night.  The offense struggled and wound up losing a battle to TJ Yates and the Houston Texans, 10-6, furthering the belief that this version of the Bengals can’t get it done in primetime.

Let’s jump ahead four weeks to December 13 – the Bengals were 10-2 and quarterback Andy Dalton was having, by far, his best season in stripes, even being included in MVP conversations.  And just like that, the season as this team knew it began to crumble.  Andy threw an interception to Steelers’ defensive end Stephon Tuitt to end the Bengals first offensive drive, and ended up breaking his thumb in his effort to tackle the big man.  That prompted second-year quarterback A.J. McCarron to enter the game – he was basically a rookie after being shelved for the entirety of his rookie season in 2014.

The Bengals did lose, 33-20, despite a valiant effort from McCarron, who threw for 280 yards and two scores.  Two weeks later, Cincinnati found themselves at Mile High Stadium in Denver to face the Broncos on Monday Night Football in a game that would see the winner clinch a first round bye in the playoffs.  The battle was a good one, as the Bengals took the Von Miller-led Broncos to overtime, but lost 20-17.  They ended the season 12-4, winning the AFC North and earning the AFC’s third-seed – this setup a battle with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium.

January 9, 2016 marks the worst day in Cincinnati sports – and it my mind, it isn’t close.  Sure, the aforementioned collapse of the 2012 Reds was horrible, the recent shortcomings of Cincinnati and Xavier basketball was disheartening, and the many losses of the Marvin Lewis era had their letdowns.  But how this game played out and ended is a situation that will forever live in infamy.

I’ll run through the first three quarters, as there isn’t much to discuss – the Steelers ended the third quarter with a 15-0 lead, the result of three field goals from Chris Boswell and a Martavis Bryant touchdown (failed two-pointer, if you’re doing the math at home, made the score 15-0).

But, early in the fourth, Jeremy Hill scored from one-yard out, and with 5:12 left on the clock, kicker Mike Nugent hit a 36-yarder to pull within five.  And finally, after three quarters of offensive mediocrity, the offense scored again with 1:50 left in the game behind a 25-yard touchdown toss from McCarron to AJ Green.  Finally, with just 1:30 remaining, deep in his own territory, Steelers’ backup quarterback Landry Jones threw an interception into the waiting arms of Vontaze Burfict, which should’ve ended the drought in Cincinnati.

And my, oh my, how quickly things can turn.

Jeremy Hill turned right around and allowed himself to be stripped of the ball on the first play from scrimmage of the drive, turning the ball back into the Steelers’ hands.  Injured Ben Roethlisberger re-entered the game, his shoulder really not allowing him to do nearly what he would normally be capable of.  He managed to get the team to midfield before chaos ensued.  Burfict lost his cool, and on a pass across the middle to star receiver Antonio Brown, lowered his head in an effort to ram Brown.  That drew a 15-yard flag.  Arguments between Burfict and Steelers’ linebackers coach Joey Porter ensued, which caused Adam Jones to charge in and bump a referee… 15 more yards.

And of course, the fourth of the Steelers’ killer B’s put the nail in the Bengals coffin with a chip shot field goal with 14 seconds left.  The Bengals lost 18-16.

Alright, here goes a little personal venting and I’ll get pack to professionalism.  The Martavis Bryant somersaulting touchdown in the third quarter was one of the most egregious calls I remember seeing.  The ball was clearly moving around as he pinned it to his thigh, and I’ll forever make the argument that not only did he not get two feet down, he didn’t get even one down with full control.  The Shazier hit that sent Giovani Bernard to the sidelines in the third quarter was also a joke – he clearly lowered the crown of his helmet and jolted Bernard upwards.  Where was the penalty on Porter for entering the field of play?  Where is the criticism of Mike Munchak yanking Reggie Nelson’s hair?  And finally, I recall the entire Jim Nantz-led broadcast seeming to be very pro-Steelers, reaching to tear down the Bengals at every turn.  It’s all irritating, to say the least.  I recall staring dumbfounded at my television screen without blinking for the next 30-40 minutes following the game’s conclusion, unable to force myself to go to bed.

Now then, two things I’ll never understand about this game.  On that ill-fated final drive, why would you not force Big Ben to throw deep?  Let him do it, his arm was at half strength at best.  And of course, how… how… HOW do you fumble the ball with under two minutes left deep in opponent’s territory?  I would have been more satisfied with Hill laying down at the line if he wasn’t going to wrap both arms around the rock like it was his child.

Well, sadly, it all happened, the game was lost, and here we are.  Onto our stats portion of the piece…

Just how good was Andy this season?  He had thrown (through 12 games) for 3,250 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions before his injury.  McCarron was no slouch, as he collected 854 yards and six touchdowns with just two interceptions in his three starts (plus three quarters in the game in which Dalton was hurt).

The running game proved to be something of a struggle, at least as it came to Jeremy Hill.  He continued his downward spiral, only managing 794 yards on the ground with a subpar 3.6 yards per carry, but he did score 11 times as the team’s goalline back.  Gio Bernard touted a much more impressive 4.7 yards per carry, racking up 730 yards on the ground and 472 receiving yards – unfortunately, scoring was a struggle for him, as he only found the endzone twice.

Of course, the receiving game had a few beneficiaries of Andy’s success – star wideout A.J. Green caught 86 passes for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Tight end Tyler Eifert had an incredible bounceback season after missing basically all of 2014 – he reeled in a league-leading 13 touchdowns, even having missed three games.  Marvin Jones also had himself an impressive bounceback season with 65 catches for 816 yards and four touchdowns.

On the surface, the defense seemed to struggle as they allowed some high scoring games, but there were some serious stars on this unit.  Linebacker Vincent Rey recorded 95 tackles, a sack and a pick, while Burfict – having only been in 10 games – notched 74 tackles, a sack and two interceptions.  Reggie Nelson was a stud in the secondary as he had eight interceptions and two fumble recoveries.  And finally, the Bengals were a terror on the front four, as Carlos Dunlap recorded 13.5 sacks, with Geno Atkins adding 11 more of his own.

Here’s what the worst part of this season was – we went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, and unfortunately, we’re still sort of in the doldrums of the lows.  We’ve got two weeks left of our journey and they will ultimately be recaps of a team we’re about to see kick off in a few short weeks.  We’ll be seeing the formation of this Bengals unit and explore what will be coming this season.

 

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