LAST YEAR: In coach Zac Taylor’s first season, Bengals matched franchise record for worst finish and set club record by dropping first 11 games. They extended their streak of no playoff wins since 1990 season, fifth-longest in NFL history. QB Andy Dalton was benched at midseason but returned to get team’s two wins over Jets and Browns, who fired their coach after the game.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Joe Burrow, WR Tee Higgins, CB Trae Waynes, S Vonn Bell, CB LeShaun Sims, CB Mackensie Alexander, DE D.J. Reader, LB Josh Bynes, G Xavier Su’a-Filo.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: QB Andy Dalton, LT Cordy Glenn, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB B.W. Webb, G John Miller, LB Nick Vigil, TE Tyler Eifert, CB Darqueze Dennard, DT Andrew Billings.
PANDEMIC CHALLENGES: Burrow had to learn offense in offseason without actually running it, huge challenge for rookie quarterback. An overhauled offensive line also will be trying to develop chemistry in shortened time frame.
CAMP NEEDS: Coaching staff will have to figure out how much of the offense to install initially with Burrow running it for first time. Receiver A.J. Green signed franchise tag offer, keeping him around for Burrow’s rookie season. Now they need to develop connection on the field.
EXPECTATIONS: After essentially staying the course with roster in Taylor’s first season, Bengals launched makeover. They’ve at least made themselves relevant again after four straight losing seasons. How quickly Burrow develops will be overriding theme of season.
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