The Cincinnati Bengals were oh so close to winning a playoff game and advancing to the divisional round in 2015, but a knucklehead play by Vontaze Burfict capped a season that began with eight straight wins. With new wide receivers to gel with, questions will remain heading into the 2016 season about whether or not the Bengals are ready to get over the hump and win a playoff game.
With newcomers Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd, Andy Dalton explained to Solomon Wilcots and Takeo Spikes on SiriusXM NFL Radio at Bengals camp that it will take some time before he finds the same comfort level he once enjoyed.
“I felt like I really grew as a player last year, and this year it’s just a little bit different,” Dalton said. “We have some new guys — new guys I’m going to be throwing to — so it’s just building the chemistry there. I think that’s the biggest thing, is making sure they’re up to speed on what we’re doing.”
Dalton has been impressed with most of what he has seen from LaFell so far.
“He’s been solid ever since he’s been here,” the quarterback said. “I think the first time we were out on the field, it wasn’t like he was asking a lot of questions. You could tell that he was in his book, he understood what we were trying to accomplish. He’s a bigger-bodied guy that can make some tough catches. So I’ve been really impressed with him.”
As for Burfict and Adam Jones, the memo is clear heading into the new season: play with aggression, but keep your cool.
“Well, when you have the owner come into the team meeting and tell you he loved the way we play football, he loved the aggressiveness, don’t stop the way we’re playing football but we’ve got to stop the stuff after the whistle is blown,” Jones said. “It’s different when somebody else is telling you that than the guy coming there that’s paying your checks that’s telling you that.
The experts at SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio give us their fantasy studs and sleepers for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Stud: With A.J. Green serving as the veteran on the Bengals wide receiving core, expect Dalton to throw his way often as the wideout looks to improve on his 10 touchdown, 1,300-yard 2015 season.
Sleeper: Wide receiver Tyler Boyd didn’t have the most ideal quarterback situation at Pitt, but he still managed to impress during his three years, and Dalton is on record as saying he’s liking the way Boyd’s game is progressing early on in his career.
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