New Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals rivalry could be brewing
Bengals defense still weak
Okay, enough gushing about the Bengals on offense. They will score points. Now, can they keep anyone out of the end zone? Browns fans can calibrate the state of affairs by noting that the Bengals gave defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi a $6.2 million dollar contract with $4.6 million guaranteed this year. Holy cow.
Carlos Dunlap quit on the team last year. Eight-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins was released after being a non-factor last year due to age and injury. You may be thinking, “OMG, how will the Bengals ever recover from the loss of an eight-time Pro Bowler?”
Then look at the stat sheet and see he only made one tackle last season and realize, sadly, he was already gone last season. They are just making it official this year.
In terms of free agency, the Bengals lost two very good starters in Carl Lawson and William Jackson III, but replace him with five players who should start. Trey Hendrickson is a comparable player to Lawson. William Jackson II is a very good cornerback, but Browns fans are very familiar with Mike Hilton, the ex-Steeler also.
Chidobe Awuzie was injured last season. It should be mentioned also that if your defensive line allows the quarterback to do whatever he wants, the defensive secondary grades are bad because of the way PFF grades.
The new Bengals are not superstars. They are not a shutdown, dominant defense that makes you think Super Bowl, but they are good enough to be a threat every Sunday. What they are trying to do is consistently hold the opposition to under 25 points so that Burrow can find a way to win in the fourth quarter.
Bengals lose Bengals add Comment
Carl Lawson, DE Trey Hendrickson DE (Saints) Lawson grades higher by PFF
Geno Atkins, DT Larry Ogunjobi DT (Browns) grade similar to Jordan Elliott
William Jackson III, CB Mike Hilton, CB (Steelers)
. Chidobe Awuzie CB (Cowboys)
. Ricardo Allen, S (Falcons) starter for Atlanta
A.J. Green, WR Not the same as three years ago
John Ross, WR never reached potential
Cethan Carter TE third TE
I have not flat-out predicted that the Bengals will finish ahead of the Steelers this season, but it wouldn’t be a shock if that happens. I will spend some time will the Steelers’ roster before making up my mind how serious I think their offseason losses are going to be. I can tell you immediately, however, I am less concerned about Ben Roethlisberger’s viability as long as they can manage his workload and not ask him to throw the ball 50-60 times each game, as they did down the stretch last season.
Also, I would tend to downplay the losses on the offensive line because those guys were not nearly as good as the rest of the sporting world believes.
Before I sign off, however, I have one more bone to pick with the Bengals. They are the only AFC North team to still have artificial turf in their stadium. Fans of all teams in the AFC North should respectfully urge owner Mike Brown to install natural turf at Paul Brown Stadium. It’s his team and there is no way to force the issue, but it could not be more clear to this fan that it would be the right move for all concerned, especially the Bengals.