To prepare for tonight’s Chiefs-Bengals preseason game we talked with Cincy Jungle, the SB Nation blog for the Bengals. My Q&A with Scott from Cincy Jungle is below. You can find my answers to their questions here.
1. Are more Bengals fans pro-Andy Dalton or do they want to replace him? Feels kinda like the Alex Smith debate in KC.
CJ: That’s a good question. With Dalton’s struggles in primetime games, some Bengals’ fans have wavered in their support for Dalton with McCarron sitting behind him. As it stands now, most fans support Dalton as the starter, and the debate is whether to keep McCarron as a quality backup QB or trade him before they lose him as a free agent and get nothing in return. The Bengals’ reportedly want a king’s ransom for McCarron, which means he’s unlike to get traded. Interestingly, the reports from training camp are that the No. 3 QB (Jeff Driskel) is outperforming McCarron.
2. Did AJ Green suddenly become bad this offseason? How would you cover him if you were the Chiefs?
CJ: Sorry, A.J. Green is still A.J. Green. His effortless ability to get open and the way he catches balls that he has no business catching separate him from the rest of the league. He was on pace to lead the league in receptions and yards last year before getting hurt, so unless he gets hurt, he is typically going to get open. The best way to stop Green is to get to Dalton. The offensive line is reworked this year and expectations are not very high for the unit. If you can get pressure on the QB, you can minimize Green’s impact.
3. The Chiefs want to be better against the run this year. Are the Bengals a good test for their run defense?
CJ: Yes and no. The Bengals offensive line projects to be the weakest unit on the roster this season (especially in pass protection). So I don’t think the test will come from the line, but from Joe Mixon. He’s been excellent in camp, and looks to be as difficult to tackle in the NFL as he was in college.
4. Where can the Chiefs expect to have success against the Bengals defense?
CJ: That’s another good question. In 2015 the Bengals had the second best scoring defense in the NFL. Last year that dropped to eighth, but mostly because the offense struggled and couldn’t stay on the field. The Bengals are adding a lot of new, young players to that defense this year who we are very high on including NT Andrew Billings, CB William Jackson III, DE Jordan Willis, and OLB Carl Lawson.
So I’m expecting that defense to perform well in 2017. The best way to have success against this defense on Saturday would be with Travis Kelce. The Bengals safeties are banged up and outside of the two starting corners, they’re pretty young in the secondary. The Bengals have also struggled against tight ends in the past.
5. Are the 2017 Bengals a playoff team?
CJ: Of course. Seriously though, I think playoffs are an expectation from Bengals fans. If you polled us, you would likely get an average response of 10-6 with a wild card berth. At every position - aside from the offensive line, not to beat a dead horse - their roster is equal or better than the 2015 team that went 12-4. The defense looks to continue to be solid, and the kicking game should no longer drag this team down. The offense finally has a running back who doesn’t need huge holes to be effective, and if they can keep Dalton upright, they’ve given him plenty of weapons with Green eight Tyler Eifert, along with a second round WR last year and a first round WR this year.