This was a busy offseason for the Bengals as they made the leap of faith and pulled the trigger on letting Marvin Lewis go and bringing in a new face. Despite this change, the franchise still needed to make a roster and cultural changes. Did they do that? Let’s find out.
It would be pretty hard to get worse at the coaching position for a team who’s had the same dull, conservative coach for the last 15+ seasons. Thankfully, Cincinnati doesn’t have to live in that scenario. With the hire of Zac Taylor from the Rams Quarterback room, will come excitement. Cincy has always had the roster talent to bring home a championship, just never the coaching. Now, with a youthful, offensive mastermind at the helm to keep up with modern times in the NFL, the winds have shifted. The Bengals star players will be relieved to have new energy in the locker room and a system that best suits them. One noticeable attribute about this new coaching staff is the chemistry. Zac Taylor has some sort of connection with each one of them. With a fresh start in the building, Cincinnati can finally put together the finishing pieces that have eluded them.
How the 2019 draft order would have shaken out if the NFL had a draft lottery with the same result as last night’s NBA lottery:
14. Falcons https://t.co/qMw2ySvm3D
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) May 15, 2019
Day 1 Taylor preached character and getting things right. That’s music to my ears. Taylor will make sure things get done and get done the right way. No cutting corners, which is something that has become common at Paul Brown Stadium. Along with new character comes with a new culture as well. Cincinnati is in desperate need of a culture change. And it’s clear that Taylor has started that shift. With the releasing of Linebacker, Vontaze Burfict and sophomore Running Back, Mark Walton, the message is no bullsh*t in the Queen City. Along with plucking the bad apples, it’s also bringing in good ones. Through the draft, the Bengals did just that. Cincinnati hand picked team leaders in college and real character players to turn the franchise around.
“If you had asked any of our (scouts and coaches) if they had thought one of (Williams and Anderson) would be there in the sixth round, I don’t think anybody would have felt good about that,” Potts said. “The thing that really struck our coaching staff with Rodney is when we interviewed a lot of (Oklahoma) players at the Senior Bowl and every one of them said Rodney was the team leader on not just the offense, but their overall team and that was after early in the year he had a season-ending (knee) injury. He’s just there at practice in street clothes and the guys still regarded him as the team leader.”
It’s clear that Zac Taylor wants to send a message to the league that the new and improved Bengals are here.
In terms of improvements, this may be the most noticeable area of it. With a confirmed intention of making the ground game their priority, Zac Taylor made sure he backed up his intentions. Cincinnati drafted not one but two running backs in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL draft. That being, Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson. Two very skilled team leaders who can fill in at any time. This adds great depth behind Giovanni Bernard and Joe Mixon. To support those RBs, they selected the best lineman in this class in, Jonah Williams. They also grabbed excellent run-blocking guard, Michael Jordan from Ohio State. To boot, they selected the best blocking tight end of this draft class in Drew Sample. There is an emphasis on the ground game and with a good system, can set up many options for the offense such as play action, screens, and deep shots on this very diverse offense.
Although Cincinnati made some badly needed additions to the Linebacker and Offensive Line groups and now it’s stocked with potential, it is yet to be seen if that potential can be unlocked. This was a step in the right direction for this franchise as they look for their first playoff win in over 25 years.