Each day we creep closer and closer to training camp and the NFL regular season. Currently, OTA’s are taking place across the NFL and poses the age old question, “is this the year?” The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that can’t answer that question just yet. There are still a number of variables that could change the outcome of their season this year. In this article, we’ll take a deep look into what I believe could be game changing for the Bengals this season.
1) Who is the number one running back?
The backfield for the Cincinnati Bengals is looking a bit crowded going forward. They still veterans Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard who is coming back from an ACL injury, and now have rookie Joe Mixon who was a second round pick. With the amount of talent, the Bengals have acquired for the backfield brings up the question who is the number one? Jeremy Hill took over after Gio Bernard’s injury last season and didn’t perform well in that role. Mixon who can be a game-changer looks to compete and take that position out of training camp. How will Head Coach Marvin Lewis treat this backfield situation? That’s a question we won’t have an answer to until the end of August. If I were to take a stab at this I’d say we see Mixon sitting and watching for the first half of the season, maybe getting a few touches here and there. However, I believe at some point we will see Mixon be a starter.
2) Who is the number two receiver?
Last year we saw the Bengals draft wide receiver Tyler Boyd out of Pittsburgh, and sign veteran Brandon Lafell. This year we saw them use their ninth overall pick on speedster John Ross out of Washington. We also saw glimpses of big bodied receiver Cody Core who could end up being the real deal. With that, we now have a question surrounding the receivers. Who takes over that number two spot behind the phenomenal AJ Green? Tyler Boyd who many believe may be too small for the NFL looks to be the favorite going into training camp. However with the emergence of Core and drafting of Ross that competition will tighter than many expect.
3) Can Tyler Eifert stay healthy?
Tyler Eifert might be one of if not the best tight end in the NFL. However, throughout his career, he has had his fair share of injuries which have ultimately hurt the Cincinnati Bengals. Eifert who at times has been one of the most reliable receivers for Andy Dalton has missed eleven games the past two seasons. His health and productivity will have a huge affect on the outcome of the Bengals season. A healthy Eifert will lead to only good things for the Bengals going forward.