The Cincinnati Bengals franchise isn’t as ignorant as many may think. The rumors of cheap and drawn out negotiations have long been good fodder for the NFL. Some of that talk was put to rest recently, with the free agency reports surrounding Marvin Jones. His Detroit Lions contract was closely matched by the Bengals. Jones just wanted out. The Bengals’ priority is defense.
To get a good idea of what the Bengals are doing, just look at the recent re-signings. Early in the off-season, the talk was about retaining Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Bengals fans were at the point of losing their minds over the possible departure of one or both of the receivers. While fans were engaging in heated debates, deals were matched and considered. Sanu and Jones walked.
Head coach Marvin Lewis, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and the Bengals brass aren’t making mistakes. They’re building a Super Bowl caliber defense that will be able to carry the team. Fans are no longer content with winning seasons that end in first round playoff losses. A stout defense will be needed to propel the Bengals to the next level.
During the first week of free agency, the Bengals made a statement. By prioritizing the need to secure defensive players, they realize that the offense will be fine. Contrary to popular belief, there will be players available to fill the void left by Sanu and Jones. The Bengals weren’t desperate enough to sign Mike Wallace. According to NFL Network, the Baltimore Ravens have given the former Steeler a home.
The emphasis will be on defense for 2016. The Bengals offense will merely need to make a few adjustments. Once those tweaks take effect, the high-powered offense will roar with ease.
The free agent signings on defense were no surprise. George Iloka was retained as was Adam Jones. That bodes well, for a defense that’s already sound. Of the two, Jones can be looked upon as the most important. His re-signing assures that well-coached Bengals secondary returns intact.
Marvin Lewis has been like a father figure to Jones and spoke highly of him, via the Cincinnati Bengals site.
“Adam plays with great confidence, and it has a positive effect in the locker room, in the classroom and on the field. Adam never feels like any situation is too big for him. He’s eager for every challenge and he’s a veteran who has kept learning, kept getting better every season.”
Jones was equally as hyped and ready for the year to get under way.
“Coach Lewis is like a father figure, a brother,” Jones said. “Paulie G. is one of the best D-coordinators out there and Darrin is the best special-teams coach I’ve ever had. Kevin is a great coach and we’ve got a lot of good coaches on defense. I’m eager to get back.”
The Bengals have been committed to defense since 2009. The unit ranked fourth and started to turn some heads. In 2013, the Bengals had the highest paid defense in the NFL, per SB Nation. Watching the speedy duo of Sanu and Jones walk away may have been painful, but the Bengals have been moving towards defense for years.
The last piece of the puzzle would seem to be safety Reggie Nelson. The interest from other teams has cooled a bit and he’s already stated that he wants to remain in Orange and Black. Since turning down a rumored two-year contract, the Bengals have been silent on their negotiations with him. If Nelson isn’t playing for another team during the second week of free agency, he may end up with the Bengals for 2016.
Cincinnati has been quietly building a championship defense. The results should be in very soon.
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