5 Cincinnati Bengals Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014
5 Cincinnati Bengals Who Shouldn't Be Back in 2014
The Cincinnati Bengals had another successful season in 2013. However, that depends on your definition of successful. The Bengals made the playoffs for the third consecutive season. They won the AFC North division, despite the presence of the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. And for the third straight year, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Since being eliminated, the Bengals have lost both coordinators. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was named head coach of the Washington Redskins, and the Vikings hired defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Cincinnati chose to hire from within on both new coordinators, so not much should change in terms of Marvin Lewis' system and philosophies.
Quarterback Andy Dalton, drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft, has been under fire because of his inconsistency and turnover tendencies. The Bengals have used recent high draft picks on WR A.J. Green, RB Gio Bernard and TE Tyler Eifert, so seeing Dalton continuing to struggle is still frustrating.
The Bengals have been led by their defense for years now. Despite injuries to Pro Bowl DT Geno Atkins and CB Leon Hall, the Bengals have had enough depth to withstand the losses.
Depth is usually a good thing. But with extensions due to some key players over the next few years (Green, Michael Johnson, Dalton, Vontaze Burfict), Cincy might be forced to make some cuts this offseason to get ready to dish out some big money extensions.
Whether it's because of salary reasons or performance-based, Bengals owner Mike Brown should consider moving on from these five players.
Leon Hall ended the season on injured reserve and former first round pick Dre Kirkpatrick played well. The Bengals also love Pacman Jones which could make Terence Newman expendable. Cornerback is a crowded position and Cincy needs to look at getting younger.
James Harrison is 35 years old and is certainly past his prime. He had only 16 solo tackles and two sacks in 2013. The Bengals would be better served freeing up money and drafting a linebacker early in the draft.
Jermaine Gresham's future with the Bengals is likely limited due to the presence of 2013 first round pick Tyler Eifert. He and Gresham had almost the same numbers in 2013. Gresham caught 46 passes for 461 yards and four touchdowns while Eifert caught 39 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns. Eifert is a better receiver while Gresham is a better blocker. It might benefit Cincy to highlight Eifert more in their offense.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis averaged just 3.4 yards per carry. He is considered a power back and former coordinator Jay Gruden insisted on giving him carries, despite the presence of 2013 second-round pick Gio Bernard. New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson likes to emphasize the running game, but expect the Bengals to pursue a younger, quicker back than "The Law Firm."
Rey Maualuga has spent his entire five-year career with the Bengals, but the emergence of Vincent Rey might make his time come to an end. Maualuga has seemingly lost a step and is weak in coverage. Rey offers a cheap, younger option.