By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN
We don’t talk nearly enough about the Bengals here at OurTurf, so I figured I’d reach out to the experts. In my search, I came across Ace Boogie on Twitter. He’s a Bengals analyst and host of New Stripe City on YouTube. The perfect person to talk to! I asked him 5 questions to get the lowdown on Bengals Nation.
Me: How did the Bengals do in the draft?
Ace: I think the sense around the NFL is that the Bengals did great. I’d have to agree with this because they really attacked fixing one of their biggest weaknesses by drafting [tackle] Jonah Williams. [Tight end] Drew Sample was a bit of a head scratcher, but overall I think they did great. They were able to fill needs, add depth, and add character. One thing that changed was that they didn’t target any players with off-field issues and went after team captains.
Me: Being that it’s Coach Taylor’s first year, what are you expecting from him/the team?
Ace: One thing I will say is that I’ve noticed that the connection between him and the players already seems better than it was with Marvin. I think that was expected due to him being younger. I think I also expect the team to be prepared and organized. During the Marvin era, it always felt like the team wasn’t prepared for major games. From what I’ve seen so far, Taylor will fix both of those issues. I expect Taylor to have a good year with the Bengals. I think most believe the talent was there and that the coaching was the issue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar turnaround like the Rams had when McVay came in. I could easily see this team winning 9 games.
Me: Fantasy season is coming up. Who do you think is a sleeper player that we should know about?
Ace: I’m not sure if he would be considered a sleeper by Bengals fans, but a guy that goes under the radar is [running back] Joe Mixon. He has the making to be a fantasy stud this upcoming year. Last year he led the AFC in rushing yards, even after missing 2 games and playing behind a bad line. With him being the focal point of Taylor’s new system, I expect him to have a huge year in fantasy.
Me: What’s your opinion on how the offseason as a whole has gone?
Ace: I liked the move to hire Taylor. The Bengals went after a hot name and landed their guy. Free agency was underwhelming due to the [guard] Bobby Hart extension, but they were able to keep important pieces in [tight end} Tyler Eifert and [cornerback] Darqueze Dennard which was impressive. Free agency could end up being good if they land [defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy. The draft went well as well. My only concern from the offseason is I think they could’ve done more at the LB position. Overall, I’d give the off-season a B grade.
Me: It’s early, but how do you think that the Bengals will stack up in the division?
Ace: It is early, but the Bengals will be in the hunt. Talent has never been an issue honestly. It’s been coaching and getting the most out of the players. The last staff didn’t, which led to a lot of self-inflicted mistakes which led to losses. With the right coaching and system, this team could challenge for the AFCN crown, but I think finishing 2nd is more realistic. I think the Steelers will take a step back and they are generally the team that the Bengals struggle with. We usually have the Ravens number, and the Browns are a wildcard. I could see them challenging this year as most have them to finish last.
I would like to thank Ace for taking the time to answer my questions about the Bengals. Please make sure that you follow him on Twitter @NewStripeCity, and subscribe to his YouTube Channel, New Stripe City
Talk football with Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN
Talk Bengals with Ace on Twitter @NewStripeCity