Through the first three games of the Cincinnati Bengals 2018 season, there is one huge factor that you can see immediately. Andy Dalton has progressed finally after 7 seasons.
When Andy Dalton came onto the scene in 2011 he had to start as a rookie with no one to follow and learn from. He was a 2nd round Qb from TCU and wasn’t really a Qb that looked like can start right away and gain success right away in the league. He accomplished something rookie Qbs barely do which is lead their team to the playoffs in the first five seasons. The thing is though he never had a chance to learn the whole game and he never really progressed as a player in areas he struggled in.
The biggest area he struggled in was pocket awareness. Yes we all know he found his success with A J Green and he will continue to do that. With a receiver like that a young Qb will never learn pocket awareness and checking off a couple of receivers to find the open man. This year he is doing this.
The last two years Dalton has been relying on his quick release to get as much protection as he can get with a horrible offensive line. This makes matters worse for progression and being aware of the pocket presence. This year with a better offensive line that has been giving Dalton more time, it gives him the chance to take more time to check off his primary and go to a second or even third outlet. This year in every game he has been able to hit seven to eight different receivers on average. He is able to hit every TE on a two TE set. He doesn’t even hit Green his primary target when he isn’t open causing a forced throw. He feels the pocket if it collapses.
Dalton still struggles with over throwing his receivers but that will in time rectify due to learning pocket awareness. He will learn not to hurry his throws with time in the pocket.
These are situations rookie Qbs learn from the Qbs over them but Dalton never had the chance to learn. The Bengals still have a window for success. With Dalton finally developing he can lead them into a post season victory. This was what Dalton sympathizers have been waiting for. Think about how dangerous Dalton can be when he develops a pocket presence.
Dalton needs to develop more during the Atlanta Falcon game this Sunday. With the time he should get with an injury filled defense the Falcons have, he should have time to check off and hit a secondary and third target. He will be unstoppable when he masters pocket presence.
In week 4 the Bengals play the Atlanta Falcons. This season so far the Falcons allowed over 400 yards average on defense and has a ton of injures especially in the line backing core. Giovanni Bernard needs to be used and used often.
The Bengals this season is ranked 21st on the run and 12th in the passing game. A lot of the yardage is from Joe Mixon or Gio in the backfield. With Joe Mixon out for another week Gio will be picking up the slack again. The key to slowing down the Falcons offense is to never go away from the run at all. Gio should be 65% of the offense on Sunday.
A solid and effective run game will dominate time management. The defense will stay on the bench and will keep the high-powered Falcon offense on the bench also. Short passes will also help keep the time on our side. The Offensive line has been protecting Andy Dalton very well this season and still has one of the quickest releases in football. Gio will have huge miss matches in coverage with that hurt line backer core the Falcons have. The run game and short curl routes and screen passes will open up the deep ball which AJ Green and Tyler Boyd has miss matches.
When it all comes down to stopping a high-powered offense like the Falcons all you need to do is keep the offense on the bench. Long 7 to 8 minute drives and capping it off with red zone touchdowns. The Bengals defense will be so rested they can start with huge pressure on Matt Ryan.
Prediction for the game is 28-17 Bengals. As long as the Bengals overuse Gio they might even win by an even bigger margin.
All off-season the Bengals fans have been waiting for yesterday to come. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are here in Cincinnati to stay.
August 28th 2018 marked the day that Mike Brown secured the Bengals defensive line for the next four years. Mike Brown has been under a lot of scrutiny during his reign. A lot of fans express the feeling that he doesn’t know what talent he has on the ball team. He trades and/or cuts players that should have been a team staple like Andrew Whitworth. Now when he said we have two years to get this to a contending championship team he has made every step possible and this was the final piece to the puzzle. The signing of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap will secure the defensive line for another 3 to 4 years.
Geno Atkins DT was the Bengals fourth round pick in 2010 from the University of Georgia. He was a great talent but no one knew he would be talented enough 8 years later to be a Hall Of Fame player. He has made it to the Pro Bowl 6 times and the only year he didn’t was when he was injured. He has 61 sacks and only needs two more quality seasons to beat the Bengals all time sack record. His contract extension is good through 2022 which is four years at $65.2 million. 25 million is guaranteed and he gets 37.5 million through 2019. He is worth every penny.
Carlos Dunlap DE was the Bengals second round pick in 2010 from the University of Florida. He has two Pro Bowls and 64.5 sacks. He has been a force on the end for many years. His contract extension goes through 2021 for three years at 45 million. There are no other specifics on the contract at this time.
So we are in an era where offense reigns supreme. I love the old school mentality that the Bengals have. A great defense still wins championships. One thing I would like to add is: What is better? Having two great Defensive linemen or having one great Defensive lineman like Aaron Donald. Best part about that question is there are more talent on that defensive line that is coming. The best of the Bengals defense will come the next 5 years.
The supplemental draft has been held since 1977 and the Bengals have only picked up one player out of the 43 that have been in this draft. This year there are two intriguing names in the draft.
What is the supplemental draft?
This is a draft where players have had their eligibility eliminated after the regular draft. The Supplemental draft is designed to give underclassmen — who did not petition the NFL for early entry before the draft deadline but find themselves ineligible for the upcoming college season — a way to enter the league.
There have only been 43 players that have been drafted in this way since 1977. Only one became a Hall Of Famer. Cris Carter was picked in 1987 and was inducted in 2013. The Bengals have selected only one player in the supplemental draft. That player was Ahmad Brooks linebacker from Virginia in 2006.
This is how the supplemental draft works:
Teams are split into three groups.
- Teams that won less than six games
- Teams that won more than six games but didn’t make the playoffs
- All twelve teams that made the playoffs
Every team can bid on a player of interest and what round they want that player in. Whoever has the higher bid wins the player. No team has to bid. The teams that won a player has to give up the same pick in that round for the next draft season. So if a team picks a player in the 2nd round they have to give up their 2nd round pick in the next regular draft.
Do the Bengals have any interest in the three supplemental players this year?
Virginia Tech defensive back Adonis Alexander is a huge player on the Bengals radar. He had 7 picks and 17 pass deflections. Another defensive back on their radar is Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant. Bryant is a speedster. He was clocked at 4.24 and he can cover the whole field. He can hit like a freight train also.
Watch this footage on Brandon Bryant as he puts it into fifth gear on this pick six play.
In the 2019 NFL Draft the Bengals have five six round picks. If the Bengals want to make a move for either one of these star defensive backs they will bid in the sixth. The Bengals are looking extensively at Adonis Alexander but I have been looking at Brandon Bryant for a while now.
Tell me what you think in the comments section.
The Cincinnati Bengals best sack leaders will be on the spotlight. Both Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are on a contract year. Bet on those two.
Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins as we all know is approaching their contract year. Usually when players don’t get their extension in the off-season they have to play like it is their last time with the team.
Dunlap and Atkins are both approaching Eddie Edwards for the sack lead in Bengals history. It will take them two seasons to pass him. It will build the incentive for both players if they have a great contract year. This could be why they are waiting to hit a deal. Huge bonuses should be in order. Both players will be in their 30s but they will also possibly see the biggest paycheck in their age range.
Bet on this! The duo of Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins will total 25+ sacks within the 2018 season. Both players will also be ahead of the franchise sack leaders taking over Eddie Edwards spot. The disruption of younger players will also help their cause. Jordan Willis is looking more and more like a starter as an edge rusher and the rookie Sam Hubbard will have a stake at the Qb also.
Geno Atkins is more than capable of having double-digit sacks. He had 12.5 sacks in 2012 and 11 sacks in 2015. He has 61 sacks total in his career. Carlos Dunlap has only one double digit sack season with 13.5 sacks in 2015. He has been less consistent than Atkins but he is more then capable of making double digit sacks. He has 64.5 career sacks.
After the Cincinnati Bengals had their 3rd week of OTAs, it is clear they want to rely on the younger players. There have been interesting strides for rookie Safety Jessie Bates and second year wide receiver Josh Malone.
In week three Teryl Austin has put Jessie Bates on the safety position. This was due to the injury to Shawn Williams. Jessie Bates played free safety in college but has been put in the strong safety role. He has been playing lights out as far as how easy it is to adapt. He will start in place of Williams when training starts. I cant wait to see what he does in live contact and in the first pre-season game.
Most of the OTAs have matched Josh Malone with William Jackson III. Josh Malone had a poor rookie season but we can blame that not on his ability but on the offensive line and having no time for Andy Dalton to throw the football. Josh has been getting open and his routes are getting very polished. Putting him against the Bengals better cover guys makes them want more out of the wide receiver from Tennessee. His great hands and very good route running would make me believe they want him to make the team and maybe fight for that third receiver.
Jessie Bates already reminds me of a mini David Fulcher. He has shown he can play both safety positions and he has played some hybrid situations. He will be great in different defensive schemes. It will help that weak Line backer core with coverage on the tight ends and running backs. Now how hard does Jessie Bates hit? We wont know if he hits like Fulcher till they get the pads on.
Josh Malone reminds me of another wide receiver from Tennessee. Reminder Carl Pickens in the 90s. Josh has the hands , has the speed, and has disciplined route running just like Pickens but without the bad attitude. He knows he has to shine with a couple of other receivers shining past him last season.
Geno Atkins is still waiting on a contract extension. It could be easier if they negotiate quickly. There can be a lot of drama coming from Aaron Donald with getting his extension done.
The two front-runners on getting contract extensions this year is the Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and the Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. This whole off-season has been all about how big Donald will set the new standard for contracts for DTs. There has been slight difficulty on getting a fair deal done. Donald should be able to get any number signed but there are some other notable players ready for a contract extension also.
Aaron Donald is set to make 25+million a year and most of it guaranteed. Geno Atkins extension has been waiting to see what Donald’s price tag would be. The Rams also have Todd Gurley which is a running back that no one can afford to lose. He would most likely be tagged but they will have to deal with him sooner than later. They also have Tavon Austin and Brandin Cooks that should get extensions because of the way the Rams offense is set up for the receivers. The Rams have 16 free agents in 2019 not including Todd Gurley.
What does the 2019 free agent crisis of the Rams mean to the Bengals and Geno Atkins? It means the bar could be set lower than originally planned. This also could mean Atkins can set the bar and they can even go higher because of their 70 million in cap space for next season. Plus the Bengals have went through their free agent crisis last season. They have a ton to spend. The Bengals need to cut a deal now while the Rams are licking their wounds.
The saturation of star power is unbelievable for the Rams. This will give the Bengals leverage to strike up a deal now when there is plenty of cap space and margins won’t go up.