It’s that time of year again. Here are three burning questions for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Will Green be healthy and return to Pro Bowl form?
A.J. Green missed all of last season and the end of the prior season due to injury. Without him, the Bengals offense and Andy Dalton struggled mightily.
When healthy Green has proven he is among the upper echelons of wide receivers in the league. But missing an entire season has proven to take a toll on the best players. Best-case, Green is his All-Pro self. But if he loses a step, can he be the top-tier weapon Bengals fans have watched since he entered the league?
Will No. 1 live up to expectations?
First-overall pick Joe Burrow, to pretty much no one’s surprise, will be the Bengals starter immediately. The skeptics who thought he would sit and learn from Andy Dalton temporarily were put to rest when Dalton was released shortly after the draft.
Even if Burrow goes through some growing pains, and although the expectations are high, he’s joining a team that has managed eight wins combined over the last two seasons. Perspective is important with Burrow, and fans need to manage expectations.
A consistent running game with Joe Mixon, a healthy A.J. Green combined with fellow receivers Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, and second-round draft pick Tee Higgins will go a long way towards easing Burrow’s transition to the NFL.
There’s a good chance he could lead this team to a .500 season in his rookie season.
Will the secondary compliment Geno Atkins and the defensive front seven?
Other than signing former Texans defensive tackle D.J. Reader, Cincinnati spent most of the free agency period signing secondary help. Former Titan corner Leshsaun Sims, ex-Saint safety Vonn Bell, and former Vikings cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander are now manning the Bengals’ back end.
The secondary was an area that needed the warranted attention. With the top-notch wide receivers in AFC North, Cincinnati had no choice but to focus almost solely on addressing that area. While they weren’t able to land a “shutdown” defensive back, they were able to secure some solid assets.
The defensive front of Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and co. should be able to put pressure on opposing offensive lines. Hopefully, the secondary can pull their weight.