7-15-14: Cincinnati has begun to let word spread about their offensive philosophy as they creep closer to their July 21st training camp. Although it was widely assumed so, the Bengals are reportedly leaning toward more of a “ball possession” offense, where they will take the ball out of quarterback Andy Dalton’s hands more and try to control the game with their rushing attack. The team will also look to take advantage of their depth and talent at the tight end position, as they try to use Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham together to create mismatches. Cincinnati has managed to stay relatively healthy during the off-season, but could actually be getting an injured player back. Guard Clint Boling (knee) is reportedly recovering quite well from a torn ACL he sustained in week 13 and could be back in time for camp.
6-5-14: Veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis could be on his way out of Cincy, as rookie running back Jeremy Hill is already running ahead of him at OTAs. Giovani Bernard is expected to enter 2014 as the Bengals’ top running back and the younger Hill could supplant “The Law Firm” as Gio’s top backup. Cincy has some troubling news on the injury end, as stud interior defensive lineman Geno Atkins is still not a lock to return by week one, while second-year tight end Tyler Eifert is missing crucial practice reps due to a shoulder injury. Eifert might be OK despite the missed time, however, as fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham is also out with an undisclosed issue.
5-19-14: Some wondered if the Cincinnati Bengals might spend a first round pick on a successor for Andy Dalton. Cincy might have thought about it, but ultimately they simply decided to take the best available players off of their draft board. Let’s see how they did in the 2014 NFL Draft:
Round 1. Pick 24 Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St.
Round 2. Pick 23 Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
Round 3. Pick 24 Will Clarke, DL, West Virginia
Round 4. Pick 11 Russell Bodine, OG, North Carolina
Round 5. Pick 24 A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Round 6. Pick 36 Marquis Flowers, LB, Arizona
Round 7. Pick 24 James Wright, WR, LSU
Round 7. Pick 37 Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern
The Bengals needed help at corner and they got it. They probably never expected the draft’s (arguably) best overall corner to fall to them, but when Darqueze Dennard did, they didn’t ask any questions. Dennard has the ability to start and lock down one side right away, but at the very worst projects as a long-term starter thanks to rapid aging at the position in Cincinnati.
Jeremy Hill was a nice value pick in round two, but not necessarily at a position of need. However, he’s a better talent than BenJarvus Green-Ellis, so perhaps this pick is the writing on the wall for The Law Firm.
Cincinnati did a solid job grabbing depth pieces like Will Clarke and Russell Bodine for the offensive and defensive lines, but they exited this year’s draft with one glaring hole: no safety.
5-9-14: With talent brought onto the offense in last year’s draft, everyone knew the Bengals had to focus on rounding out the depth on the defensive ball this year. That’s exactly what they did to start round one, as they addressed an aging secondary with quite possibly the best overall cornerback in the draft in Darqueze Dennard. The Michigan State product isn’t the fastest corner, but he has a great skill-set and is a physical corner that can play in all types of coverage. Cincy has just one young corner to work with, so landing another is great for their depth and long-term health at the position.
4-28-14: Is Andy Dalton the guy that can get playoff wins in Cincinnati? For now, it looks like the Bengals believe he is, so on the offensive side of the ball, there isn’t much reason to look much deeper. Cincy added two offensive players early in the draft last year and they seem to be pretty much covered there. That means they’ll likely spend much of the 2014 NFL Draft making a very good defense even better. That could mean an early pick on a linebacker, safety, defensive lineman or cornerback. Safety appears to be the biggest need with middling talent starting there for years now, making Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor tempting picks if they’re still around when the Bengals pick in the first round. They could also opt for a different position and then cross their fingers they can land someone like Dion Bailey or Jimmie Ward in the second round.
4-18-14: With three straight trips under his belt Andy Dalton will roll into the preseason with his Cincinnati Bengals trying to overcome a few remaining flaws. The Cincinnati Bengals preseason schedule should assist in doing that, giving Cincy a tough opponent right out of the gates in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals return home in week two to welcome Rex Ryan’s New York Jets, and then kick it out to the desert to battle the Arizona Cardinals. Cincy will try to shutdown Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald in their key game of the preseason, while this could also be a good measuring stick for Dalton heading into the regular season. Arizona’s spare players will fight for a gig in the finale, when the Bengals host the Indianapolis Colts.
4-7-14: The Cincinnati Bengals have been extremely quiet thus far this offseason, letting stud pass rusher Michael Johnson and solid offensive tackle Anthony Collins leave for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Slot receiver Andrew Hawkins also got away to the Cleveland Browns, as the Bengals managed only minor signing in safety Danieal Manning, offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse, quarterback Jason Campbell and cornerback R.J. Stanford. Despite three straight trips to the playoffs, a fairly talented Bengals team will enter the draft with numerous questions - specifically in the secondary and on the defensive line.
3-21-14: The Bengals have slowly improved over the last three years, making the playoffs each time and building up their core of young talent. Marvin Lewis and co. hope to keep things going in that direction in 2014, but the only way to do so is to have a stellar offseason. So far, Cincy has done enough to have Bengals fans keeping the faith. The cats shed some dead weight in linebacker James Harrison, while adding some more flash to their offense in shifty slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. Cincy is likely destined to lose stud pass rusher Michael Johnson in free agency, but overall did well to hold onto depth pieces. They didn’t make any huge splashes, but will likely try to do so in the early rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft
1-7-14: Andy Dalton seemed poised to bust out of his playoff funk after a stellar 2013 regular season, but that wouldn’t end up being the case in a rough 27-10 loss to the visiting San Diego Chargers. Dalton managed to pass for over 300 yards and a touchdown, but threw two picks and lost a fumble late that helped ice the game for San Diego. The Chargers played ball control offense, pounding the rock with an effective trio of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. Philip Rivers was needed so little that he attempted only 16 passes and had just 128 passing yards.
The wild card playoff loss ends Cincy’s 2013 season and puts a few things in doubt for 2014. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is expected to jet for a head coaching gig, while another poor performance by Dalton may have the Bengals questioning if he is the guy to trust in under center for the long haul.
12-31-13: Andy Dalton almost single-handedly let the Baltimore Ravens walk into the playoffs. And then he buried them. Dalton overcame four horrible interceptions to account for three touchdowns, as the Bengals broke a 17-17 tie and ran away with a 34-17 win at home.
12-24-13: Andy Dalton threw four touchdowns and spoiled Adrian Peterson’s return to the starting lineup as the Bengals took care of business at home in a 42-14 thrashing of the Minnesota Vikings. With the Bengals struggling in the running game, Cincy took to the air, putting up 366 passing yards as the Bengals claimed the AFC North division title.
12-17-13: The Bengals entered week 15 as the darlings of the AFC North. They left without any progression. The Steelers jumped out to a formidable 24-0 lead early and Andy Dalton’s efforts were simply too little, too late in a tough 30-20 loss in Pittsburgh.
12-10-13: Andy Dalton accounted for four touchdowns in week 14, as the Bengals took advantage of an early 21-0 lead over the visiting Indianapolis Colts and held on for the convincing 42-28 home win. The week 14 victory was one of Cincy’s most impressive of the year and lined them up to win the AFC North division.
12-3-13: The Cincinnati Bengals opted for a defensive battle in week 13 when they traveled to San Diego to take on the Chargers. As it turns out, that was a wise decisions. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard helped keep Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense off the field and the Cincy defense did the rest in a close 17-10 road win for the cats.
11-19-13: Cincinnati had seen better days on the offensive side of the football. Down 13-0 at home in the first half, it’s a good thing their defense was about to see their best yet. The Bengals rebounded from their early hole to block two punts and return two defensive touchdowns in what would be a franchise record 31-point second quarter. The Bengals played conservative football the rest of the way, holding on for the 41-20 win at home over the Cleveland Browns.
11-12-13: Andy Dalton had his second straight head-scratcher of a performance with three interceptions and five taken sacks, but Bengals fans nearly forgot all of that thanks to an insane hail mary to A.J. Green that sent a game that was certainly lost into overtime. The Bengals had a chance to take the lead on a long field goal in the extra period, but head coach unwisely decided to go for it on fourth and two. Cincinnati failed to convert, giving the Ravens a short field that quickly led to the 20-17 win for the Ravens in Baltimore.
11-5-13: The Cincinnati Bengals were searching for a fourth straight elite performance out of rising quarterback Andy Dalton. In week nine, they didn’t get it. Only a week after tossing five touchdown passes, Dalton was a turnover machine, as he gave the ball away four times and took a game-ending safety in the end-zone to give the Miami Dolphins the win, 22-20 in overtime.
10-30-13: Andy Dalton, aka the Red Rifle, was unflappable for the third straight week, as he tossed five touchdowns (four to Marvin Jones) and led the Bengals to a 49-9 home whooping over the New York Jets. Cincy’s defense deserves just as much credit as the offense in this one, as they racked up four sacks and two interceptions in a truly dominant effort to help raise Cincy up to a stellar 6-2 record.
10-22-13: It was a battle of stud wide receivers in week seven, as Cincinnati’s A.J. Green put up 155 receiving yards and a touchdown against Calvin Johnson’s 155 yards and two scores. Johnson won the individual battle, but it was Green’s Bengals who got the last laugh. Cincy’s rushing attack found yardage hard to come by in this one, but leaned on quarterback Andy Dalton throughout, and he responded with a banner day, tossing three touchdowns and topping 370 yards in the big 27-24 road win.
10-15-13: The Cincinnati Bengals were supposed to steamroll a Buffalo Bills team that was playing without starting quarterback E.J. Manuel. Instead, they engaged in a shootout with former practice squad resident Thad Lewis and took this one to overtime. They had the last laugh in the end, however, as Mike Nugent booted the game-winning field goal in the extra period to allow Cincy to steal a road win, 27-24. Andy Dalton was the star of the day for the Bengals, as he tossed three touchdowns and had 337 passing yards to put an end to a bit of a personal drought.
10-8-13: Two weeks after finding a way to keep Aaron Rodgers at bay, the Cincinnati Bengals doubled up and found a way to make Tom Brady and the Patriots look average. Cincy’s aggressive pass-rush rattled Brady for much of the day, sacked him four times and forced a late-game interception in a narrow 13-6 win at home. The Bengals also forced a LeGarrette Blount fumble and became the first defense to keep Brady out of the end-zone for the first time in 52 games. Andy Dalton was average at quarterback for the Bengals again, but was at least very efficient, as he completed over 70% of his passes and let the Cincy ground game control the tempo.
10-1-13: The Cincinnati Bengals were riding high after a big comeback win over the Green Bay Packers a week ago. That high wouldn’t last long. In the first meeting of the “battle of Ohio”, the Bengals looked out of sync throughout as they got completely out-played by the seemingly less talented Cleveland Browns. Quarterback Andy Dalton was flat-out ineffective for the entire game, turning the ball over two times, while finding difficulty in getting star wide receiver A.J. Green the ball despite a whopping 15 targets. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard was the “star” for Cincy in this one, as the offense could only muster of two field goals in an ugly 17-6 road loss to the Browns.
9-20-13: Week two was capped off by an ugly defensive battle between AFC North rivals, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. This one understandably was a rugged dogfight, as the two teams entered halftime with the score knotted at 10. Not much changed in the final two quarters, but Bengals rookie running back Giovani Bernard did manage to put the game away with some timely offense, including his second touchdown of the night. The Bengals defense also held Ben Roethlisberger in check, sacking him twice and picking off a pass. In the end, it was a 20-10 win for the Bengals. Next week, the Bengals look to move to 2-1 when they host Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
9-10-13: Andy Dalton walked into a tough matchup on the road against the Chicago Bears and got things started off the wrong way with an interception on his first offensive play. He was able to rebound thanks to a freakish game from star wide receiver A.J. Green (160+ yards and 2 TDs), but two turnovers and ineffectiveness in the second half allowed Jay Cutler and the Bears to climb back into it. Down 21-10 at one point, the Bears staged a comeback in front of their home crowd, taking their week one battle, 24-21. Next week, the Bengals host the Steelers on Monday Night to open up their 2013 home schedule.
9-3-13: Here are the Bengals final roster cuts of the preseason: QB John Skelton, FB John Connor, T Dennis Roland, LS Bryce Davis, S Tony Dye, T Reid Fragel, WR Cobi Hamilton, RB Daniel Herron, C T.J. Johnson, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, CB Onterio McCalebb, DE Dontay Moch, CB Shaun Prater, WR Taveon Rogers, WR Roy Roundtree, LB J.K. Schaffer, DT Terrence Stephens, G John Sullen and LB Bruce Taylor.
8-20-13: Cincinnati improved to 2-0 on the preseason with their 27-19 win over the Titans last weekend. Andy Dalton completed 9 of 14 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Dan Herron rushed it 9 times for 81 yards and a 40-yard TD run. Rookie Giovani Bernard also ran for a TD. The Bengals defense also held the Titans starters zero points (3 missed field goals). The Bengals head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys next weekend.
8-11-13: The Bengals beat the Falcons 34-10 in their preseason opener. QB Josh Johnson, who is competing with John Skelton for the backup job behind starter Andy Dalton, was 9 for 16 from the field for 100 yards and a TD. Skelton completed 4 of his 5 passes for 72 yards and a TD, and Dalton completed just 3 of his 7 passes for 37 yards. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and had 10 carries for 28.
7-10-13: The Cincinnati Bengals were among the best pass-rushing teams in 2012, and should only improve in that area with the addition of former Steeler linebacker James Harrison. Elsewhere, Cincy got better on offense by drafting explosive running back Giovani Bernard. At this point, only Andy Dalton’s continued development can prevent the Bengals from a third straight playoff appearance.
6-25-13: Once regular losers, the orange and black cats of the NFL have rebounded nicely since the days of Carson Palmer, and now own back to back playoff appearances under the guidance of young signal caller Andy Dalton. Backed by an elite defense and an improved rushing attack, the Bengals will try to make it three straight trips to post-season play in 2013.
2013 Bengals Draft Overview:
Round 1, Pick 21: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Round 2, Pick 5 (from Oakland): Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Round 2, Pick 21: Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist
Round 3, Pick 22: Shawn Williams, SS, Georgia
Round 4, Pick 21: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M
Round 5, Pick 23: Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas
Round 6, Pick 22: Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
Round 6, Pick 29 (from New England): Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas
Round 7, Pick 34 (Compensatory Selection): Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State
Round 7, Pick 45 (Compensatory Selection): T.J. Johnson, C, South Carolina
1-9-13: For the second straight year the Bengals made the playoffs and lost to the Houston Texans. Behind young quarterback Andy Dalton the Bengals won 10 games finishing second in their division. After losing four straight in early October, the Bengals went and impressive 7-1 the rest of the way including wins against the Giants, Steelers, and Ravens. Against the Texans in the playoffs they were unable to get any sort of consistent offense going as Dalton threw for only 127 yards. As a team they could also only manage 13 points and 6 of them were scored on an interception returned for a touchdown. Star Wide Receiver AJ Green didn’t catch a single ball in the first half but finished 5 catches for 80 yards. The Bengals should remain strong going forward because they have a good young quarterback and some strong talent at the skill positions, they should continue getting better every year.
12-4-12: A four game mid-season losing streak has the Bengals where they are; tied for second place with a 1-3 division record. With four games left, QB Andy Dalton will have to have a strong finish if the Bengals want to get into the playoffs. Dalton has had a strong year with 24 touchdown passes to only 13 interceptions. December 23rd’s matchup in Pittsburgh seems like it will be a deciding factor in both those teams playoff futures.