Now that the Bengals are deeply into training camp and have their first preseason game in a few days, I thought it made sense to take a look at some of the storylines to watch in the coming weeks. Here they are:
1. How will Andy Dalton and A.J. Green perform in their second seasons? Dalton and Green were suprisingly successful in their first year, but they will need continued improvement in order to get the Bengals back to the playoffs.
2. Will the Bengals have viable receivers outside of Green and Jermaine Gresham? Outside of Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals weapons are largely unproven. The team will need some significant contributions from the other guys in order to be effective offensively.
3. Will Rey Maualuga become a consistent force in the middle? Rey-Rey had great games last season, but was inconsistent at times. The Bengals defense could use a steady presence in the middle of its blossoming defense.
4. How will the Law Firm fare as a feature back? Benjarvus Green-Ellis has been a touchdown machine and a great inside runner in his career with the New England Patriots, but he will ge an unprecedented amount of carries in the Queen City. If he can pile up consistent yardage, Cincinnati’s offense could approach top 10 status.
5. How will the secondary shake out? The Bengals have a load of depth at cornerback and safety Reggie Nelson was pretty solid last season. Leon Hall is recovering from injury, Taylor Mays is expected to start at strong safety, and many of the Bengals corners are past their prime. The team should have a good pass rush, but it will need strong secondary play against some of the pass-happy teams in the NFC East.