Hello again everybody, and welcome back to SportsKrunch.com with DKrom, I’m your host David Kromelow. We are less than a week away until most NFL teams are holding their first training camp practices of the summer, and in that spirit, we continue our 2017 team preview series with a look at the Cincinnati Bengals. To help us break down the Bengals and their prospects for 2017 and beyond, it is a pleasure to welcome back Katherine Terrell to the show. Last summer, Katherine was on this program to help give us a look at the New Orleans Saints as she was then covering them for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. A few weeks later, she got a well-deserved promotion to ESPN’s NFL Nation, where she currently covers the Bengals.
Katherine’s Twitter handle: @Kat_Terrell
1. Early last month, it was reported by renown Bengals website reporter Geoff Hobson that 2017 first-round pick John Ross might not be ready for the start of training camp as he is still completing his recovery from the labrum repair in his shoulder he underwent after the combine. Is there any hope he will be ready for the start of camp? If he isn’t, how much should Bengals fans temper their expectations for Ross this season?
2. No rookie arguably has more pressure to deliver this year than Joe Mixon. He wants to show Bengals fans his talent was worth the pick despite his major character red flag right away, and Marvin Lewis’s comments last week show the organization is counting on him doing so. What is a realistic statistical expectation (touches per game, rushing/receiving yards, TD’s) for Mixon this year?
3. In 2016, the Bengals defense was only able to muster 33 sacks, nine fewer than their 2015 total of 42. They tried to address that problem in the draft by selecting pass rushers Jordan Willis (Kansas State) who and Carl Lawson (Auburn) in round four, who could have been a first-round pick had it not been for his injury history. How much will those two factor into the rotation for the Bengals this year and how likely is it for the Bengals to get 40+ sacks this season given their presence?
4. Two other welcome additions to the Bengals defense this season will be two of their 2016 draft picks who didn’t play at all last year due to injury in CB William Jackson III and DT Andrew Billings. Which of the two makes the bigger impact this season? What was your impression of both in OTA’s?
5. The biggest question mark on this Bengals roster is the offensive line. Last year was not their best year, and the unit got even worse on paper with the departures of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler in free agency. The Bengals sound confident that Cedric Ogbuehi will make a huge leap and hold down the fort at left tackle but his tape last year does not give me such confidence. If Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher do not show satisfactory improvement (especially in pass protection) this summer, how will the Bengals tweak the offense to minimize their weaknesses at OT? Should we expect more shotgun and quick underneath passes?
6. What training camp position battles should Bengals fans pay the most attention to?
7. Could this be Marvin Lewis’s final year as the Bengals head coach?
I Think it’s a strong possibility this is Marvin Lewis’s final year as the Bengals head coach. Something has to change this year or they might be looking at a fresh start.
And that’s all for today here on SportsKrunch.com with DKrom. But we plan to be back next week with more fantasy football analysis just in time for training camp, so stay tuned!!! Also, be sure to check out the episode archive as well as an up-to-date blog of mine at SportsKrunch.com!!! For Katherine Terrell, our producer Chris Brodhead, man in the box, I’m David Kromelow saying so long, of course, and stay awesome!!!