The Cincinnati Bengals will head into the 2021 NFL season eager to prove that the franchise is finally heading in the right direction.
It has been a tough few years for the Bengals, with the team failing to progress to the play-offs in each of the last five years.
When you factor in the fact that their last Super Bowl appearance was in 1988, it easy to see why the fans have had their dedication sorely tested.
However, the return of quarterback Joe Burrow from a knee injury will undoubtedly be a major boost, particularly if he can build on what he produced during his rookie season.
Burrow completed 65.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions, before his season was cruelly ended on November 22.
While the 24-year-old is expected to play a key role next time around, there are numerous other players who also could have a major impact on the Bengals’ fortunes.
The Bengals have the number five pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and are expected to choose either Ja’Marr Chase or Penei Sewell.
Chase has been widely tipped to be their selection, potentially reuniting Chase with his former college teammate Burrow.
The pair linked up to great effect at Louisiana State University in 2019, with Chase bagging 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns on the way to the national championship.
The 21-year-old is viewed as one of the hottest properties to hit the NFL in recent years and he will be desperate to live up to expectations in Cincinnati.
Having selected Burrow first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bengals made it clear that he was the player they planned to rebuild the franchise around.
On that basis, it came as no surprise when the Bengals recently claimed Moss off waivers from the Washington Football Team.
He previously played a key role in the LSU Tigers’ national-title-winning team alongside Burrow, completing 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns.
The tight end struggled badly with injuries at Washington, but if he can stay healthy he could prove to be a shrewd acquisition by the Bengals.
Veteran leadership is a crucial component of any NFL locker room, making the Bengals’ decision to agree another year with Mike Daniels a no-brainer.
The defensive tackle boasts a wealth of experience in the NFL and highlighted his capabilities during an extremely tough first year in Cincinnati.
He started 11 games last season and stepped up to the plate when many of his teammates were struggling with injuries.
His leadership could be invaluable to the Bengals as they try to improve on a dismal 4-11-1 season and his one-year $2.5 million deal may turn out to be money well spent.
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