The Cincinnati Bengals this year exceeded all expectations and then some when they finished with a 9-7 record during the regular season, which gave berth to a playoff appearance. This is all quite substantial when one considers some significant elements and factors.
- The use of a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton as the main starter behind center. To utilize a rookie signal-caller reflects a lot of confidence from the coaching staff to give the reins to someone so young so he can be groomed as a future, franchise QB. Though Dalton may have had rookie moments this year, he has also had multiple flashes of brilliance that will become more common as his pro skills develop. Overall, the “Red Rifle” has Cincy aiming in the right direction: toward victory.
- A.J. Green is a stud. Heralded as the best wide receiver in the 2011 drafting class, Green easily proved his ability by putting up record numbers this season as a rookie. Throughout multiple games this year, many defenses had to respect Green’s capabilities as if he were a 10-year+ veteran. Green has the physical tools to make plays, the right attitude to win and is only just beginning to carve his legacy in the Queen City. Are other NFL teams “GREEN with envy?” Definitely.
- Injuries plagued the Bengals at key positions. Fact is, every NFL team has to deal with the injury bug. It is a privilege to play 100 percent healthy as a pro. However, the Bengals lost a lot of important roster pieces here and there, such as the superb slot receiving play of Jordan Shipley and the consistent coverage skills of Leon Hall. When one Bengal went down, someone else had to step up to pick up the slack. As a young team, though, Cincinnati’s youth became more apparent as the season went on as other teams with more depth and experience in their rosters managed to outmuscle the Bengals. Nonetheless, with time, the Bengals should develop into a truly premier team in the NFL.
In short, the Cincinnati Bengals have a bright future ahead of them. The Bengals have some extra firepower in the 2012 NFL draft with the means to reel in some key players to upgrade and repair weak spots across the roster. The Bengals have certainly restored the roar in the Queen City. As a fan, I can only hope this team progresses and develops into a stellar team that other NFL fans can respect. It would be nice to jungle jam to the tune of more Bengal victories for next year and beyond, especially as this up-and-coming team claws its way into the elite category.