Andy Dalton Struggled Mightily in His Bengals Debute
After the ugly bashing the Bengals took in their preseason opener, most of the fans that had any hope of a decent year from their team probably had those hopes swept away a few snaps into the game. The game vs. Detroit was ugly, there is no sugarcoating it. However, for the Bengals and their fans, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel.
There are quite a few reasons to remain excited about the 2011 campaign of the Cincinnati Bengals.
That's right folks, regardless of the subpar performance of Andy Dalton in the preseason opener, the former Texas Christian QB has shown that he may just very well put an end to the Bengals' search for a franchise QB by slipping into the shoes Carson Palmer has left.
Andy Dalton in camp has taken command of the team and has really embraced being the leader of the team since his arrival to Georgetown. He has all the tools to be a very solid starter in the NFL and with work in Jay Gruden's offense, and help from other young offensive players like Andre Smith, Jordan Shipley, Jermaine Gresham, Jerome Simpson and A.J. Green, he can really excel as the season moves along.
Whether you like Andy Dalton or think he is the answer or not, you know that they cannot hide behind Cedric Benson and the ground game all year, so we will get to see if Dalton shows any signs of being "the guy."
Already he has seemingly beat out all of the other QBs in camp and looks to be the starter from here on out. This will be interesting to watch develop all alone, but there is even more to look forward too.
Green leads a new Bengals offense with a ton of firepower
That's right, it's the young guys we have all been waiting to see on the field and the time is now. The Bengals have made a huge push to get younger and they have done so with good reason. Last year the Bengals looked slow, old and unmotivated, and what better way to fix this than to get a faster, younger bunch of guys with everything to prove. The Bengals have a plethora of young potential stars across the board.
The defensive line will be one fun place to watch with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap returning with their 12.5 sacks from last season to put pressure on opposing QBs. These two are tremendous forces on the defensive side of the ball and really get into opponents' backfields. Expect a ton of exciting plays from these two this season.
Right behind those two is third-year player Rey Maualuga who is now getting acquainted with his new position as the starting middle linebacker. The MLB position has commonly been know to be the "quarterback of the defense" spot and Rey has all the tools to be outstanding in this spot. If he can get the mental part of the game down he can be a tremendous asset to the defense moving forward.
However, the big names are coming from the offensive side of the ball, and boy is there a ton of firepower here. Jerome Simpson will finally be starting after years of being buried behind Chad Ochocinco on the depth chart. He will finally get to show what he can do with the starter position being his. Last year in the same role he was brilliant and finished with extremely nice numbers as he showed off the ability to hit the home run play.
He will be joining the fourth overall pick in this year's draft, A.J. Green, as the starters at wide receiver. Green has shown remarkable hands, speed, route running and overall play in training camp thus far. He didn't get too much playing time in the first preseason game, but this guy is a monster talent and will be one of the cogs of this offense in 2011 and into the future.
The Bengals picked Jermaine Gresham last year with their first-round selection and the move couldn't have gone better for them. The rookie tight end out of Oklahoma showed he was an elite force at the TE spot and really was a big piece of the offense last year. The Bengals have been in search of a outstanding tight end for longer than a decade and they have found one in this amazing player.
Jordan Shipley was also drafted last year to be the team's slot receiver and he has shown to be amazing in that role. He can make any catch and is not afraid to join Jermaine Gresham in going across the middle, catching a ball, taking a hit and moving the chains. These two add a lot of toughness to the aerial attack and look to continue their major roles in the offense. These two players are the kind you want to pay money to go watch.
Bernard Scott is also moving into his third year and looks to be getting more touches in the Jay Gruden offense. If they can utilize his immense speed and elusiveness we might see a ton of home run touchdowns for this running back in 2011.
And finally we get to Andre Smith. The infamous right tackle of the Bengals who was drafted after a horrendous pre-draft workout and has been plagued by injuries and being out of shape for years. Now he has shown up to camp looking like a new man. Even though it's not official how many pounds he has lost, it is clear he didn't use the lockout time to sit around and not workout like many had predicted.
He is trimming down and getting smaller and faster, but he still has a ton of work to do in learning how to be an everyday offensive tackle in the NFL. If he can pull it off, he will be able to laugh in the faces of all those who have been laughing in his for years.
This team has gotten a lot younger, and thus a lot of fun to watch. Tune in this fall to see these rookies and young players and their transition to the league.
Yes the reason sounds "corny," but it's true. The lockout is lifted and football is back and it's a time to rejoice. Yes the Bengals may make ESPN's "Not Top 10" numerous times this year, and yes there will be growing pains, but that is all part of what being a fan is about.So through thick and thin the Bengals will play on and continue to try and get better regardless of expectations. So get ready because this fall the Bengals will take the field, on time, and it will be a fun season full of new faces and change. WHO DEY!