These aren’t the same Cincinnati Bengals we’re used to watching

The Cincinnati Bengals are currently 3-1 for the first time since 2016 following a prime-time victory Thursday night over the Jacksonville Jaguars. With plenty of new faces on the roster and Zac Taylor finally getting the roster he’s envisioning, these aren’t the same old, regular Bengals we’re used to.

It’s a new era in Cincinnati. It’s a “New Dey. “

The last time the Bengals won three games in September, Andy Dalton was at the quarterback throwing the ball to his best targets AJ Green and Tyler Eifert, with Marvin Lewis running the show.

Since then there haven’t been many victories at Queen City with coach Taylor in the Kingdom as they went 2-14 in 2019 and 4-11-1 in 2020 and finishing last in AFC North both. seasons.

Now, yes, the Bengals are 3-1, but that’s early in the season, so to say that this team is a Super Bowl contender or a division contender is a bit of an exaggeration. However, this team is not the same as in the past. These players are finally buying into what Zac Taylor preaches, and Taylor, for the first time, has the roster he built.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive failure

The additions of Larry Ogunjobi, BJ Hill, Chidobe Awuzie, DJ Reader, Vonn Bell and Trey Hendrickson have been essential to the success of the defense this season; every move the Bengals have made in the past offseason or offseason a year ago.

As a result, the Bengals are currently one of the best teams to stop the race statistically. Additionally, Logan Wilson’s emergence in second year at linebacker was unprecedented. Wilson has 40 tackles, 16 solo, 3 INT, one sack and 1 QB touchdown in four regular season games this year.

In addition, he leads the entire NFL in interceptions and is second in the AFC in tackles. He plays as one of the best defensive players in the entire league, which has set the tone for a new and improved defense for the Bengals.

This group looks disciplined and determined to win the battle in the trenches, where good football begins. They’re deep and won a decisive road game against Pittsburgh, holding them to ten points. Seeing this team make adjustments like they did in the second half against Jacksonville is a fundamental reason why this Bengals team is different from the past.

Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive breakdown

Now the most important asset that separates this team, however, is Joe Burrow. Burrow has shown his ability to come back, make plays when needed and deliver in clutch moments when called up, and he’s not afraid of big moments. He really has the mindset you need to be a great quarterback.

This mentality and these vibes that Burrow gives off also reign over all the other players in this locker room. His teammates rave about his approach, his abilities and his intangibles. Plus, when the quarterback has control of the locker room, good things happen.

You could say that in the past seasons, the Bengals didn’t have that with Andy Dalton and even further with Carson Palmer. They were talented quarterbacks, but leadership skills were far below Burrows, especially in his second season.

When you look at the weapons Burrow has at his disposal, you haven’t seen this type of talent since maybe 2015, when the Bengals had a debut AJ Green alongside the best versions of Marvin Jones Jr., Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert. , Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

This team went 12-4 and nearly won the first game of the playoffs since 1991, but collapsed late in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are by far the most talented team in the Bengals since this season.

With the Bengals’ first pick, Ja’Marr Chase, setting the scene early with his performance, shows the chemistry alongside former LSU teammate Burrow, but he also shows that he is perhaps the best and most full team of receivers.

Plus, with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in the mix, that attack becomes exceptionally dynamic, and this could be one of the best young wide receiver lines in the entire NFL. There is still a lot to prove for this group to be placed at the top, but they are all in the pace for over 1,000 yardage seasons with the exception of Higgins, but he has only appeared in two games and has totaled over 100 yards between the two games.

Statistics by receivers:

  • Ja’Marr Chase: 17 catches, 297 yards, 17.5 average per catch, four touchdowns
  • Tyler Boyd: 23 catches, 259 yards, 11.3 average per catch, one touchdown
  • Tee Higgins (2 games): 10 catches, 118 yards, 11.8 average per catch, two touchdowns

However, we shouldn’t discredit Joe Mixon, who is currently second in the race in the entire NFL behind Derrick Henry. Mixon has won an AFC North crown before in his career and could be one of the most underrated full-backs in the league.

Mixon, much like Burrow, was the vocal leader of this team. He enjoys getting his teammates and fans moving, which leads to a better crowd at Paul Brown Stadium and makes the most of the other players on the team.

Sadly, Mixon only played six games after losing last season, and the Bengals finished with one of the worst rushing attacks in the league. But on the bright side, the fifth-year star is currently on the pace of over 1,000 rushing yards this season.

The Bengals might not finish first in AFC North; they might not make the playoffs this year. Still, the fact is, the culture in Cincinnati has changed, fan optimism has increased, and the team’s approach and focus has improved dramatically. Zac Taylor has this team that plays confident and team-oriented football.

They’re not the same old Cincinnati Bengals.

About Troy McMiller

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