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ArmyBengal

What About the Defense ??

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We have spent a ton of time discussing the concerns about the o-line and have all but totally dismissed the other side of the ball.
I don't know why either.  They carried a large amount of SUCK last year !!

Damn near every overall defensive statistical category was near the bottom of the entire league, with the exception of opponents TD's in the redzone.

In the off season, they were strangely very active with their additions:
DJ Reader, DT- Signed to a 4 year deal
Trae Waynes, CB- Signed to a 3 year deal
MacKensie Alexander, CB- Signed to a 1 year deal
Vonn Bell, SS- Signed to a 3 year contract
Josh Bynes, LB- Signed to a 1 year contract

There were also some players that left the team such as (Kirkpatrick, Dennard, Fejedelem, Billings and Vigil) which required the back fill that we saw.
If we are going to scrutinize the offense, specifically the line, we should be just as focused on the defense. 

Here's where I am at this point in time, especially how I view the given moves:
Waynes and Alexander in place of Kirkpatrick and Dennard in not far off an equal trade.  I'm hoping the change in scenery helps the two incoming players.
Reader coming in to replace Billings is a big upgrade in my opinion, as is switching Fejedelem for Bell.  I really liked those two specific moves.
Bringing in Bynes and seeing Vigil leave is a win in my opinion as well.  You can argue that Vigil made a lot of tackles, but where did he make those ??

So is it enough ??  If the thought is that defense will win you a championship, have they done enough to move closer to that realization ??
The one thing that really strikes me is that there are, what I view as, upgrades at all 3 levels (Reader, Bynes, and Bell).
 

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I mean, they literally poured about $125 million into it and then over-hauled the LB room in the draft. It may not be enough, but it represents the most honest and focused effort to address a deficiancy that this franchise has ever committed to a side of the ball in one off-season.

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I don't think they have to be the best defense in the league to see success appear on the field.
However, they have to get closer to the top 10 as opposed to the bottom 10.
Minus that, the offensive line could be top 5 and the team still falter.

I simply think that the offensive line gets so much focus (rightfully so) that the glaring bag of shit this defense was last year gets overlooked.
Reader excites me as a player to put in the middle of the line.
Bynes, certainly provides an upgrade and experience for the young linebackers.
Bell can be a force in the back of the secondary that I feel has been lacking.

I'm just curious what everyone else thinks about the defense and if they've looked at it as closely as the o-line ??
Or have the additions made gotten you to a point that you no longer are concerned about that side of the ball ??

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I am not concerned. Either the additions worked or they don’t, but they for damn sure tried.

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As you look at this to a path of when their next Division title occur.   The improvement of the defense is critical.    They spent a ton and then invested draft picks too.      They must have major success on that side of the ball so the focus can be turned into finishing off the O-line.

The job was simply bigger that 1 off-season IF you didn't trade down.  They didn't.

The Bengals added a massive amount of defensive talent.   I also don't think you take the CBs and call it a wash.   Scheme, and coaching points are very important.    When was the year that the world's best CB "Awesome-O" was pursued and the winning Eagles team won him in Free Agency and then was determined they were a dream team?   Flopped.

If these CBs are just better at tackling it's a major boost.   Anyhoo,   I think it's fair expectations to think this defense should move up dramatically in the rankings to near top 10.    If they remain a bottom tier defense,  I think you gut the entire Defensive coaching staff.     It's a drastic move but improving the defense after these investments is critical otherwise they can't move on to other areas of weakness like the o-line.    They'll realistically probably need to add 1-2 starters there.

 

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On paper I think the free agents (plus the three drafted LBs) are ALL clear upgrades other than the corners, and they could be upgrades too. The larger concern is getting them on the field together to gel, build rapport, and get repetition in Anarumo's system. There's nothing the Bengals can do about it right now that they're not already doing, so we just have to cross our fingers. I am with mem in the end regardless: whatever happens on the field, nobody can look at me with a straight face and say they didn't try to fix this thing.

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I'm so glad they viewed DT as a major priority. It's not something the fanbase talked about as much as the LB black hole or the looming free agency losses at CB. The defensive line was immensely disappointing to me in both 2018 and 2019 though, and I can't wait to see if Reader can make a difference. Hell, if he can just eat up a few extra blocks and get us one more big Geno Atkins season then that's huge. It could also provide Geno the push he needs to make a loud and final Hall of Fame case.

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1 hour ago, Stripes said:

I'm so glad they viewed DT as a major priority. It's not something the fanbase talked about as much as the LB black hole or the looming free agency losses at CB. The defensive line was immensely disappointing to me in both 2018 and 2019 though, and I can't wait to see if Reader can make a difference. Hell, if he can just eat up a few extra blocks and get us one more big Geno Atkins season then that's huge. It could also provide Geno the push he needs to make a loud and final Hall of Fame case.

Yup. If history tells us anything, the line will make or break the defense. Back in ‘03 they also made a big investment in the D, signing John Thornton, Tory James and Kevin Hardy to $50 million worth of deals (and that was when the cap was $75 million). Marvin also churned about half the defense roster (And would pretty much churn the other half in ‘04). And the D did improve, but it wasn’t until phase 2 in 2011 and the arrival of that killer line that they jumped into the top 10 defensive rankings.

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One positive about improving the offense - if they can actually hold onto the ball for a while this year the defense won’t be running onto the field every 5 minutes to get run over.  A little rest goes a long way.

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I think the 2 CB's are upgrades against the run and lateral moves in the passing game, so upgrade.

Reader is going to unless Atkins, or vice versa.  upgrade.

Bell is the best tackling Safety we have had for a long while, upgrade.

Like Army stated earlier, upgrade a all three levels on defense.  That should help the offense out, when the defense can finally get the ball back to the offense on third down.

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I think they have a chance to be top 15.  Just a lot of young guys and new guys.  No one talks much about Hubbard, who is in TJ Watt territory if he can bump his sack total up to 11-15.  

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Agreed, Hubbard flies under the radar.  And even further under the radar is Dunlap.  We all know how great he is, but if you ask a fan of the jets or the raiders or any other random team, his name gets faint recognition.  
 

Watching Dunlap run down a ball carrier from behind and try to tomahawk the ball out with his 8-foot long arm is one of the simple joys of my life.

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