Our friends over at Cincy Jungle were nice enough to talk to us about their own miserable start to the 2019 NFL season and the Zac Taylor era.
It is a great way to see how another team, another franchise that has struggled to sustain success is dealing with a bad season after having some hope with a coaching change.
Enjoy and thank you to Patrick Judis for his time.
1. Zac Taylor, like Kliff Kingsbury, is still searching for his first win, but how are you and the fans feeling about the start?
Yeah it is a bit rough right now for Bengals’ fans. I’d say the general tone is upset, but most of that anger is being funneled towards owner Mike Brown and the others in charge of running the team. Generally, I’d say most fans are excited about Zac Taylor, but we also know that for him to make the changes we want that this team has to change how they’ve functioned for the past few decades.
2. No AJ Green, no John Ross, but Tyler Boyd has become a competent wide receiver one and will be an outstanding WR2 when Green is healthy. Talk to Cards fans about Boyd and his game.
Tyler Boyd is one of the most sure-handed wide receivers the Bengals have had in awhile. He shocks me sometimes with the contested passes he is able to hold onto. He isn’t a burner who is going to take the top off the defense, but he does a good job underneath of winning one-on-one matchups to give Andy Dalton a nice safety blanket. When it is third down, it is a safe bet that the ball is heading Boyd’s way.
3. Tyler Eifert has struggled stat wise, but it is the Cardinals. I’m setting the over/under for him to double his yards and TDs in this game, what are you taking?
Taylor’s staff has been weird with Eifert this season. They have drastically limited his snaps to about roughly half a game. It makes sense for a winning team to preserve one of their often injured important offensive weapons, but this is an 0-4 team that hasn’t had A.J. Green all season. Now the team will be without John Ross as well, so I don’t know that they can afford to keep going down this same road.
If they use him how they have been, he has mostly been used in the red zone. Now that Ross is also out of the picture I’d imagine some extra looks should be going Eifert’s way this game as well. He was targeted in the endzone twice on Monday Night, so they are looking for him. I’ll be conservative and say he catches a touchdown, but I don’t expect much in terms of yardage.
4. Defensively, who are the difference makers for the Bengals and what have been the struggles this year?
Difference makers pretty much starts and ends with defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Offenses should always start with a plan on how to possibly contain him. That usually opens up things for good players like nose tackle Andrew Billing and defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard. The secondary is also filled with a solid cast highlighted by cornerback William Jackson and safety Jessie Bates.
The struggles come from the linebackers. Preston Brown and Nick Vigil would be terrific linebackers about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, neither have the agility to take down players in open space, and the Bengals past three opponents have game planned around that fact, and it has worked with almost no failure. Any offensive play that forces either of they guys to run to a sideline or make a tackle in the open field works. The Bengals have rotated in rookie linebacker Germaine Pratt sparingly, and he may not solve all their issues in this area, but at some point you have to wonder how much worse could it really get?
5. Who gets their first win? Or worse, is there another tie?
If Marvin Lewis was still around my money would be on the tie. Unfortunately, these past three weeks have exhausted all my confidence in this Bengals team. They look like a bottom feeder team. They made that terrible Steelers team look like a throwback last week, and until they can show any signs of being a competent team I just can’t take them. I just hope they are actually watchable.
Bengals 13 Cardinals 24