With the 2021 NFL Draft over and the schedule officially being released, it’s time for my third annual 32 part series where the top three questions will be posed for each NFL team. Here are those three questions for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Be sure to check out all of Heller’s Three Burning Questions.
Will Joe Burrow Pick up Where he Left Off?
Last season, the No. 1 overall pick ended up with two victories in 10 games. Burrow’s rookie season ended after he tore his ACL in Week 11. However, at Tuesday’s OTA’s Burrow was in uniform and ready to go with his helmet. Which is a good sign for Zac Taylor‘s team. Burrow will look to build in the chemistry he had developed with his receivers prior to his injury.
His stats after the abrupt end to his season were 2,688 yards passing and 13 touchdowns passing with just five interceptions. He added 142 yards and three touchdowns on the ground as well. The Bengals drafted his former LSU teammate, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with their first-round pick this year. They also addressed the issues with the offensive line, by adding depth in an effort to help protect their young franchise quarterback as Burrow was sacked 32 times in his 10 games. In a division that boasts three of the better defensive units in the NFL, the front five for the offense needs to be that much better.
Can Joe Mixon Stay Healthy?
Mixon missed 10 games last season with a foot injury that fortunately for him didn’t require surgery. His 428 yards and three touchdowns were disappointing by his standards after coming off of back-to-back 1,100-plus yard seasons. Anything short of a 1,000-yard season will be a letdown for this team and Mixon himself.
Will the Defense Improve?
For a team that only managed four wins last season, the defense wasn’t terrible. For most of the season, they were ranked in the lower half of the top 20 but finished the season ranked 22nd in points allowed. In the offseason, the Bengals added depth to the secondary that already includes two of the best young safeties in the NFL in Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates. Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ricardo Allen, and former New Orleans Saints cornerback Eli Apple joined the Bengals, along with former Pittsburgh Steelers nickel corner Mike Hilton. Defensively this unit should be a much more improved one this season.
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