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It’s been quite a while since the Cincinnati Bengals have been a threat in the AFC, and from the looks of their offseason, it might take a bit more time before anyone will be watching them play in January.
Owner Mike Brown did a clean sweep of leadership and a new head coach and coordinators have been hired, never a confidence builder for the next season since it typically takes a while for a new regime to adjust.
With two years left to go on his contract and his injured thumb on the mend, quarterback Andy Dalton will look to prove his worth this season by making his Bengals relevant again, so we take a glimpse at some of the team’s biggest offseason moves and the odds and predictions of their 2019 season.
The 2018 Cincinnati Bengals did one win worse than the prior season, posting a 6-10 record and landing in the basement area of the AFC North for the third season in a row, so after sixteen seasons, owner Mike Brown said a final goodbye to head coach Marvin Lewis.
The season started out promising with a 4-1 run but hit a two-loss wall in Weeks 6 & 7 when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs took care of business and then the Bengals finished off with a 2-7 fizzle that kept them out of the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Due to torn ligaments in his thumb, franchise quarterback Andy Dalton could only play in eleven games, completing 226 passes for 2,566 yards and 21 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and a completion rate of 61.0.
After sixteen seasons filled with seven Wild Card playoff losses, the Bengals parted ways with Marvin Lewis, who in May was hired by Arizona State University as a special advisor.
Leading the Bengals franchise in 2019 will be 36-year-old Zac Taylor, formerly the quarterback’s coach and assistant wide receivers coach for the Los Angeles Rams, which now makes him the second-youngest head coach in the NFL behind his previous boss, 32-year-old Sean McVay.
As for Taylor’s overall strategy, he was clear to the media on how his team was going to handle their football business from now on when he said, “We’re going to have an attacking mindset.”
With a new head coach more often than not comes a new offensive and defensive coordinator, and Taylor has hired two men with unique connections to his past.
The Bengals’ offensive coordinator is now Brian Callahan, who served as the Oakland Raiders’ quarterbacks coach last season and whose father was the head coach at Nebraska when Taylor played quarterback there.
The new defensive coordinator in Cincinnati is Lou Anarumo, who last season was the New York Giants’ defensive backs coach and who also served on the same Miami Dolphins’ coaching staff as Taylor from 2012 to 2015.
In quarterback Andy Dalton’s first five NFL seasons, he took the Bengals to the playoffs every year but could never get them past their Wild Card opponents in the first round.
For each of Dalton’s last three seasons, though, the Bengals have only been able to win six or seven games and haven’t even been able to qualify for a Wild Card spot, meanwhile, Andy’s total passing yards have been taking a total scary nosedive (4,206, 3,320 and 2,566).
There were trade rumors floating around at the beginning of the offseason, but Taylor has stated that Dalton is still the man, and from the looks of who is currently in the Bengals quarterbacks’ room and given that Dalton still has two years left on his contract, he’ll get at least another season or two to prove he’s the guy.
The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line allowed 37 sacks last season, ranked 20th, and allowed 71 quarterback hits, ranked 26th, so the front office used their number one draft pick to snag tackle Jonah Williams, who should be an immediate starter in 2019.
Brown also used the draft to add depth to the defense, selecting NC State outside linebacker Germaine Pratt in the third round to hopefully make up for the loss of Vontaze Burfict, who was released after last season.
The biggest strategy for the Bengals or any NFL franchise with all new leadership is to establish an overall strategy and playbook and system that coaches and players can quickly learn and follow to get their struggling team better than .500 this season.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders worth $2 million, with $300,000 of that money guaranteed.
Tight end Tyler Kroft, who is now with the Buffalo Bills after signing a three-year deal worth $18.75 million, with $9.050 million of that guaranteed.
Offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars worth $895,000, with just $90,000 of that guaranteed.
Guard John Miller, who agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million deal, with $6.5 million of that guaranteed.
Cornerback B.W. Webb, who signed a three-year contract worth $10.5 million, with $2.5 million of that guaranteed.
Defensive line Kerry Wynn, who signed a one-year deal worth $1.4 million, with $300,000 of that guaranteed.
Offense: Offensive tackle, wide receiver, tight end, running back
Defense: Linebacker, edge rusher
The Bengals ended up with 10 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they were:
Over the last decade, the Cincinnati Bengals have been to the playoffs six times, all Wild Card defeats in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and all under head coach Marvin Lewis, who was named NFL Coach of the Year in 2009.
The Bengals have been to the Super Bowl twice, both defeats, in 1981 when they lost in Super Bowl XVI to the San Francisco 49ers, 21-26, and in 1988, when they lost in Super Bowl XXIII again to San Francisco, 16-20.
The first Bengals’ playoff game ever was in 1970 under coach Paul Brown when Cincinnati lost the Divisional Playoffs to the Baltimore Colts, 0-17, with Brown being named the NFL Coach of the Year.
As part of the NFL International Series, four games will be played in England during the upcoming 2019 season, and Cincinnati will be a part of the festivities.
The Bengals will play the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, October 27th at 5 pm at the renowned Wembley Stadium.
For this matchup, Cincinnati will act as the away team and Los Angeles will be the home team.
The oddsmakers apparently don’t see the 2019 Cincinnati Bengals as a big threat, predicting they will finish last in the AFC North again and that fourteen other AFC teams have a better shot at playing in the Big Game next season.
As for actually winning Super Bowl LIV, let’s just say there are only three other teams with worse odds of making that happen, so bet accordingly.
Chances are, 2019 will end up being a rebuilding year for the Bengals, but after sixteen years under the same head coach, that might not be such a bad thing.
Can Taylor the kid pull off head coaching in the NFL, or will he quickly get in over his head with all the pressure?
Will the improved front line protect Dalton and give Mixon some running gaps, or will that continue to be a weakness in Cincinnati?
Can the Bengals’ defense get fundamentally better under new management, or will it be like last season when they were ranked very last in the league?
You’d have to be a huge fan to believe these Bengals will be dominant next season, but maybe a new head coach was exactly what the doctor ordered for Dalton and he’ll have the season of his life in 2019, thereby putting his careworn team back on the AFC map.
If you live in New Jersey and want to bet on futures in NFL you can do so on 888Sport and BetStars NJ. Check out the latest odds here.
Cincinnati Bengals Postseason
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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