The highlights of the offseason have been capped with one word in Cincinnati: change. There has been a change in the offensive coordinator. The team fired Bob Bratkowski after his lack of offensive creativity. They then hired Jay Gruden, the brother of Super Bowl champion coach John Gruden, and with Gruden came the addition of the West Coast offense.
The Bengals have changed their quarterback. Carson Palmer retired after the Bengals refused to trade him. The team is now trying to replace the All-Pro quarterback with a rookie from Texas Christian University, Andy Dalton.
There’s a change at the No. 1 receiver spot. Chad Ochocinco, and all the baggage that comes with him was sent to New England to be Tom Brady’s headache. They replaced him with AJ Green. He is a highly talented player out of Georgia with a lot of upside.
Soon after free agency began, the Bengals lost their very talented corner Johnathan Joseph to the Houston Texans and the Bengals try and replace what was lost by picking up Nate Clements.
Yes, there has been a lot of change in Cincinnati since last year’s disappointing 4-12 record. The question of the year has been, will all the changes have a positive effect on this season?
The Bengals didn’t start things off right in tonight’s game against the Lions. On the kickoff, they let the return man get 30 yards by not keeping their designated lanes. It was the first preseason game of the year, but you want to start the season off right.
Matthew Stafford led his team downfield with ease on a touchdown drive in the first offensive series, capping the drive with a 26-yard pass to Calvin Johnson for a 7-0 lead. After a fumbled kickoff return, it didn’t take long for Stafford to make his second touchdown pass to Nate Burleson, thus ending his night.
The team was down 14-0 before their first offensive snap of the game. When the offense took the field, all eyes were on Dalton. Most coaches would call a short route for their rookie quarterback to get the game day jitters out. However, Dalton tried to bomb the ball to Green and got intercepted.
Following the interception, it appeared as if former OC Bob Bratkowski had been calling the plays because Cedric Benson was getting the ball time and time again. In a third-and-long situation, Dalton again delivered an off-target pass.
After that incompletion, it seemed that Dalton began finding his rhythm and finished the first half 11-15 for 69 yards. He didn’t lead the team to a single touchdown, but instead led his team to a field goal. That sounds very familiar to Bengals fans.
Another offseason addition for the Bengals was Bruce Gradkowski who he took the field after halftime. He also failed to really impress, going 6-11 passing for only 58 yards.
Carson Palmer’s little brother, Jordan, went 1-4 tonight with an interception, and Dan LeFevour completed the only pass he attempted. Neither will really pressure Dalton or Gradkowski for the starting position.
The end result to this game was a 34-3 blowout Bengals loss. It is still only preseason football, and the first time we saw the team come together. However, have they given us anything to look forward to this season?
If there was any positive I saw in the game, it was Cedric Benson. I think that the offensive line looked more comfortable in the trenches attacking the defense. In pass protection they looked as if they were on their heels the entire game. If the Bengals have any chance at success this season they need to work on their pass protection, but the running game will be key in Andy Dalton's development.
Defensively, I thought they looked better in stopping the run. They were getting picked apart by Stafford and the Bengals felt the absence of Johnathan Joseph.
I’m sure Carson Palmer was sitting on his couch watching this game laughing—glad he wasn’t a part of such a pathetic performance.
There was a lot of change this season, but I have yet to see where the majority of the change was for the good. This was the first preseason game, but the Bengals started off their season with a humiliating performance. Only time will tell if this team will amount to anything this season.