Given that they are one of the several teams who have hired a new head coach this offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals had the opportunity to begin their offseason workouts earlier than other teams for whom that was not the case.
That means that we get to hear from their players earlier than we will with most teams. So we got to hear from quarterback Andy Dalton for the first time since the Bengals parted ways with Marvin Lewis as head coach and brought in former Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor to take over that position.
“They’re not telling me everything that’s going on around here, but there’s going to be a lot of change”, the veteran quarterback acknowledged as the team looks to make departures from how Lewis ran things for 16 years. “Just the way we do things, it’s going to be different. It’s obviously a different perspective, a different philosophy”.
Not that he was complaining.
“With Zac getting here and the whole change”, he said, “let’s make it all feel new and feel different. I think he’s done great. From the day he stepped in here you felt the change. Obviously he had a plan for what he wanted and they’re doing it here. You can see it with all the construction happening here and the way the staff came together. They’re all in for what Zac is wanting to do”.
The beginning of Dalton’s career since he was drafted in 2011 coincided with arguably the most fertile period in Bengals history, or at least recent history. With the one-two draft punch of himself in the second round paired with fourth-overall wide receiver A.J. Green in the first round, Cincinnati reached the postseason for five consecutive years.
That might not sound overly impressive, especially when you consider the fact that they lost in the Wildcard Round in each of those years, but the simple fact of the matter is that it’s the only time in franchise history they have ever done that. It’s just the second time they reached the postseason in consecutive years, actually, and the previous streak was just two seasons in a row.
The Bengals are riding a three-year streak of not just missing the postseason, however, but also posting losing records. Some of that, especially last year, has had to do with significant injuries, but it seemed all were on board about making a change this offseason.
“That’s just part of it. ‘we want things to feel brighter’. From the talking, that was the first thing they saw. It was dim in some places”, he said. “I guess it gives you energy….The cosmetics of this place, it was a little plain and (Taylor) had a plan for making it a little different. From what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen, (the entrance) is going to be really nice. I think that’s one thing. When you walk into the building you want it to feel like it’s ours. It’s new, it’s up to-date, its ready-to-go and it looks really cool”.
So at the very least, should they fail again next season, they will be able to wallow in their own misery in a well-lit environment.