Each week during the season (and pre-season) we’ll talk with the FanSided editor who covers the Colts’ upcoming opponent and try to get a better understanding of the enemy before us. This time around, we pull our Trojan Horse up outside of the Cincinnati Bengals‘ cage and talk to Cody Byers of Stripe Hype.
How is Andy Dalton progressing? Will he be the starter this season?
Over time he’s starting to look more and more like a competent NFL starting QB. (I know it’s only preseason and it’s the Panthers). He actually had a 107.5 passer rating last week vs Carolina, going 11/17. He shows the mentality that he’s a gamer and a leader in the locker room. Look for him to be the starter week 1 unless something drastic happens during the game.
Are there any other rookies set to make an impact for the Bengals this year?
AJ Green of course. The kid is a phenomenal talent and was the best offensive player in the draft last year. It looks like the Bengals will continue to have one of the NFL’s elite WRs (even if the team itself can’t become a year-after-year contender).
Another rookie making an impact was 4th rounder Clint Boling. Not many probably notice the big guys on the OL but Boling is making quite an impression on the Bengals coaching staff. Look for him to work his way into playing time soon.
In which area have the Bengals improved the most for 2011?
I’d say the most improved area would be the WR position. It’s addition by subtraction when the Bengals part ways with T.O. and Ochocinco. Drafting Green is actually that big of an impact. The Bengals also have a returning Jordan Shipley who lead all AFC Rookie WR’s in receiving yards last year. With all these things considered the Bengals may have a more overall talented corps then last year.
Are there any compelling position battles yet to be decided?
The most interesting position battles would probably going on at the Offensive Line, most fans are waiting to see Boling or another player break the starting line up for the Bengals OL. One of the most “hated” players on the team is Nate Livings, many fans blame him for QB pressures and sacks, honestly they might not be wrong.
How competitive can the Bengals be in the AFC North this season?
In all honesty I don’t think they can be very competitive yet. I think they can always surprise people because year after year bad teams win games they shouldn’t. I’m expecting top 10 draft pick, but like every Bengals year they’ll win enough games to keep them out of the top 1-3 picks.