Cleat Geeks

HOMER’S NFL ODYSSEY(7): Cincinnati Bengals

Welcome to Homer’s NFL Odyssey! Like the original hero Odysseus we will journey from NFL shore to NFL shore. Casting a light on each NFL squad and their 2015 fortunes from the perspective of a “Homer”. An upbeat tale of NFL fandom illuminating the chances of the your favorite team in a completely favorable light. This is the ultimate guide to your favorite team told from the perspective of a “Homer”.

 

QB: The Red Rifle is an elite NFL QB. The arm, both in strength and accuracy is as good as there is in football. The mental awareness is what sets Andy Dalton apart. Especially considering how young Dalton is. Well ahead of the curve and has been since his rookie year. With the pieces placed around him 2015 has all the signs of a looming career year.

RB: The RB position is a huge advantage for the Bengals. Some teams have 1 star RB, some teams have no star RB. The Bengals have 2. Jeremy Hill is a monster in between the tackles RB. Combining great vision and finishing ability Hill destroyed NFL defenses in the second half of 2014. Running over, bouncing off or making tacklers miss consistently. A true star at the RB position. Joining Hill in the backfield is ultra talented Gio Bernard. Gio possesses great running ability with a skill set including great vision, speed and agility. However where Gio is most dangerous is in the pass game. Few other receiving RBs can compare to the hands, route running and consistent production Gio showcases weekly. The best part is that Gio and Hill are not splitting touches. They each have a huge role in this offense. The offense in Cincinnati goes through the RB position. With the best backfield in the NFL the Bengals offense will continue to pile up yardage and points.

WR/TE: AJ Green has been a superstar in the NFL since the moment he set foot on the field. A big bodied dominant target at 6’4″ 207 pounds. Green possesses great deep speed, fantastic hands, elite awareness and the ability to make tough catches in traffic to extend drives. Green is the prototype. The best of what an NFL WR can be. Supported by former first round pick Tyler Eifert at TE, a player with mercurial talent who is primed to explode in 2015. WRs Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu provide great depth in the receiving group. As a collective unit of pass catchers the versatility and big play ability of this Bengals group is as good as there is in the game.

 

OL:  A rapidly improving and aggressive front line. Led by star Veteran Tackles Andre Smith and Andre Whitworth this unit is loaded with talent. Kevin Zeitler former 1st round Guard is a rising star. 2015 1st rounder Cedric Ogbuehi and 2015 2nd rounder Jake Fisher will provide top notch line work starting game 1. Add in the veteran savvy of Eric Winston and you have the core of a truly dominant offensive line. In a single off-season the Cincinnati brass showed a commitment to obtaining talent to create a fierce and controlling offensive line. The movement will pay huge dividends.

Defense: The Bengals are ferocious on defense. Opportunistic, aggressive and loaded with talent. Starting in the middle with DT Geno Atkins. A pass rushing monster from the DT position. A true luxury in the NFL. Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson is a superior DE tandem providing great pressure off the edges. Vontaz Burfict is a once in a lifetime talent at the LB position. Veteran Ray Maualuaga, newly acquired AJ Hawk, rising talent Vincent Rey and 2015 3rd round pick Paul Dawson join Burfict in one of the NFL’s most talented LB groups. The defensive backfield is where the Bengals really become a dominant team. The perfect compliment to a great front seven is a great group of defensive backs. The CB position is insanely talented. Super veterans Leon Hall and Adam Jones are joined by young rising stars in 2012 1st rounder Dre Kirkpatrick and 2014 1st rounder Darqueze Dennard. This CB Quartet is the best group in the entire NFL bar none. The safety position is manned by star Reggie Nelson. Joined by George Iloka and 2013 3rd rounder Shawn Williams the safety position is a great compliment to the CB Quartet. This Bengal Defense is loaded and set to dominate.

 

Coaching:  Head Coach Marvin Lewis returns for his 13th season with the Bengals. The second longest tenured Head Coach in the NFL. A defensive genius and morale builder. This is a team first Head Coach who demands accountability from staff and player alike. A great set of supporting coaches join Lewis in one of the league’s top staffs. Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson, Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther, Assistant HC Paul Alexander and a slew of bright minded NFL minds provide the support for Marvin’s system.

 

Division Outlook:

The Pittsburgh Steelers won the division last season by one game over these Bengals. That will not happen again in 2015. Big Ben is aging poorly. His arm strength is diminishing rapidly. Frankly, Ben is really, really Big. Like fat not phat.  Leveon Bell smokes too much weed to stay on the field. Even when he is on the field he is hardly the ultra talented RB some claim. Bell is a product of volume, a sophomore slump is to be expected.  Antonio Brown is another volume player. With no other verifiable weapon of real merit Brown is constantly targeted. Allowing the small framed average speed WR to appear greater than his sums. Martavis Bryant is a flash in the pan. Heath Miller a 5 yard threat. The OLine is aging and porous. The defense is frankly a PITTiful shell of a once great unit. Old in many places and devoid of LB talent. They either get hurt or cannot play at the NFL level. Pittifulsberg is on the way down. Bengals are on the way up. A little cat scratch fever of the wrong kind in the Steal City.

 

Quote for the Baltimore Raven, Nevermore will you lead the AFC North. Joe Flacco is a hack as an NFL QB. Glorified game manager at best. Joe Hacko?  The starting and only decent RB on the team is a 51 year old journeyman coming off a career year. May have gained more yards in 2014 than Forsett’s entire previous career combined. Did I mention he is 57 years old. Which is young when compared to the only recognizable receiving threat on the team. Steve Smith turned 234 years old in May. Let us just say his best days, hell any even kind of good days, are far behind him. A rook WR who can’t catch. But lets not get into Breshad Heshad drama.  A rook TE that is meh at Max.  A depleted and underwhelming OLine. A defense with old guys imitating football players and young guys making a name off hype with nothing to support it. Roster turnover and overall lack of talent makes the Ravens cat food. Bengal Chow if you will.

 

Do I even have to write anything about the Cleveland Browns? I think the question I just asked sums Cleveland up very nicely.  Joannie Foosball is not an NFL caliber QB. He is a clown running around throwing up jump balls and hoping or the best. Josh McCown is pure journeyman garbage but at least he is not a douche bag no talent hump like Mr. Foolball. Either way the QB position is doomed. The RB position is no better. Crowell, Mason and Johnson create a 3 headed RB monster who has no teeth and is more pathetic than scary. WRs consist of Dwayne Bowe Don’t Know Football. At least it is obvious Bowe don’t know how to be a good WR.  Then 38 journeyman slugs vie for a role. TE is dead with Cameron gone. The OLine is still a disturbingly underwhelming group. The defense, despite having several high draft picks, is one of the weakest in the entire league. But that is why who is picking your draft picks is more important than where you pick at.

 

2015 OUTLOOK: Pitysburgh is flushing out. Nobody is Raven about rebuilding Baltimore. Cleveland is just plain horrible. Easy walk for the Cincinnati Bengals as they blast past Big Boned Ben(fat), Dirty Joe and Johnny Doucheball on the way to division dominance. Playoff victories and a Super Bowl Championship follow close behind. 2015 is the Chinese Year of the Bengal Tiger.  Watch out for this kitty, it has claws.

 

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