The Cincinnati Bengals. They are one of the few teams that at times look competitive but once the postseason rolls around, the team is completely different. That was the case when they finished 6-10 in 2018 after a 5-3 start.

The first thing the team did was fire longtime coach Marvin Lewis after 16 seasons with the team. Lewis posted a career record of 131-122-3 but 0-7 in the playoffs. The long-running joke has always been why Lewis still had a job for so long but now there is a new era as the Bengals hired former Los Angeles Rams Quarterback Coach Zac Taylor in hopes to revive the Bengals long history of losing.

Other than that, there was no huge move made in free agency. As for the NFL Draft, the team drafted Alabama Offensive Tackle Jonah Williams to boost the offensive line but will miss the season with a torn labrum.

Here is the roster breakdown for the Bengals, which include the starters, backups, and preseason cut predictions.

Quarterbacks

Credit: Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Andy Dalton
  • Backups: Ryan Finley
  • Preseason Cuts: Jeff Driskel, Jake Dolegala

Dalton is not a bad QB but he isn’t good either. The definition of average. 2019 may be his last chance to show he is a quality starter. First-year coach Taylor will give him a few chances but it may be fewer than what former coach Marvin Lewis allowed.

Finley was drafted in the forth-round and has a chance to get some playing time in if Dalton struggles out of the gate. They may keep a third QB on the roster but may want to use that spot for another receiver after finding out A.J. Green will miss some time.

Running Backs

Credit: David Kohl/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Joe Mixon
  • Backups: Giovani Bernard, Trayveon Williams, Rodney Anderson
  • Preseason Cuts: Quinton Flowers, Jordan Ellis

Mixon took a big leap in year two with 1,168 yards and eight touchdowns. He’ll continue to be the workhorse in the Bengals backfield while Bernard is a consistent veteran backup that can catch passes. Williams and Anderson are both sixth-round selections and could get some looks but would likely contribute in the Special Teams department.

Flowers, a former South Florida QB, switched positions and could make some noise in the preseason with his running ability but needs to beat out one or two of the rookie RB’s.

Wide Receivers

Credit: Frank Victores/Associated Press
  • Starters: A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross III
  • Backups: Alex Erickson, Cody Core, Josh Malone, Stanley Morgan Jr.
  • Preseason Cuts: Ventell Bryant, Hunter Sharp, Auden Tate, Damion Willis

Green is one of the top wide receivers in the league, consistently posting 1,000-yard seasons but struggled with injuries in 2018. He got hurt during the first practice of the 2019 season and is expected to miss some time. Still, when he is back, he’ll be the lead man in the receiving core.

Boyd really improved in 2018 posting a 1,028-yard and seven touchdown season. He’ll start alongside Green. The slot receiver seems to be a wide-open competition with Core, Erickson, Malone, Ross III, and Morgan Jr. will all compete for downs played.

This may be a make or break year for Ross III as he has yet to show he is worth the first-round selection, having only 210 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons.

Tight Ends

Credit: Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Tyler Eifert
  • Backups: C.J. Uzomah, Drew Sample
  • Preseason Cuts: Moritz Böhringer, Cethan Carter, Jordan Franks, Mason Schreck

Eifert is talented and could be one of the best tight ends in the NFL but injuries have hampered his potential. He’ll look to bounce back in what could be one of his last few chances to be a star tight end.

Uzomah and Sample will provide solid depth and could get more playing time than expected if Eifert goes down with injuries once again.

Offensive Line

Credit: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
  • Starters: Cordy Glenn, John Jerry, Billy Price, Alex Redmond, Bobby Hart
  • Backups: Andre Smith, John Miller, Michael Jordan, Christian Westerman
  • Preseason Cuts: Brad Lundblade, Justin Evans, Trey Hopkins, Keaton Sutherland, O’Shea Dugas, Kent Perkins
  • Out for the Year: Jonah Williams

The Bengals selected Williams in this past draft in hopes to repair the offensive line but will likely miss the 2019 season after tearing his labrum. Price and Glenn look to be the immediate starters while there will be a competition for both guard spots in addition to the right tackle spot.

Defensive Line

Credit: John Grieshop
  • Starters: Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Andrew Billings, Carl Lawson
  • Backups: Sam Hubbard, Ryan Glasgow, Kerry Wynn, Renell Wren
  • Preseason Cuts: Christian Ringo, Immanuel Turner, Jordan Willis, Andrew Brown, Josh Tupou, Niles Scott

Geno Atkins is one of the best interior linemen in the league while Billings is a perfect complement to Atkins, forming a nice defensive tackle pairing. Lawson and Dunlap form a nice paring at the defensive end spots.

Hubbard, Glasgow, Wynn, and Wren is a nice combination of young and veteran lineman that’ll rotate nicely when called upon. Overall, a solid group on the defensive line.

Linebackers

Credit: Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Preston Brown, Jordan Evans, Nick Vigil
  • Backups: Germaine Pratt, Hardy Nickerson, Malik Jefferson, Deshaun Davis
  • Preseason Cuts: Curtis Akins, Noah Dawkins, Sterling Sheffield

Brown, Evans, and Virgil will likely start the year as solid veterans. The trio of Pratt, Jefferson, and Davis is a nice young group that when can see start in the foreseeable future. Nickerson will provide extra depth and help on Special Teams.

Cornerbacks

Credit: Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: William Jackson III, Dre Kirkpatrick
  • Backups: Darqueze Dennard, B.W. Webb, Jordan Brown
  • Preseason Cuts: Anthony Chesley, Davontae Harris, Tony McRae, Darius Phillips, KeiVarae Russell, Tony Lippett

Jackson III, Kirkpatrick, and Dennard make up one of the best-underrated trios of cornerbacks in the NFL, with the latter taking over the nickel back spot. Webb is a veteran who has been a nice plug and play corner for whatever team he has played for. Brown, a seventh-round draft pick, is a long corner who could see playing time down the road but might need to contribute on Special Teams in 2019.

Safties

Credit: Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Jessie Bates III, Shawn Williams
  • Backups: Clayton Fejedelem, Brandon Wilson, Demetrious Cox
  • Preseason Cuts: Trayvon Henderson, Tyree Kinnel

Bates III did fit in nicely during his rookie season for the Bengals and looks to be a future star at the free safety spot. Williams is a solid veteran starter and a perfect pairing with Bates III.

Fejedelem is a solid backup and Special Teams contributor. Wilson and Cox provide more solid depth and Special Teams help as well.

Specialists

Credit: Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports
  • Kicker: Randy Bullock
  • Punter: Kevin Huber
  • Long Snapper: Clark Harris
  • Preseason Cuts: Tristan Vizcaino, Dan Godsil

A tradition here so far outside of the Chicago Bears kicker spot. Bullock, Huber, and Harris were on the roster for the past few seasons and it looks to be the same once again.

So what are the expectations for the 2019 Cincinnati Bengals? Honestly, I don’t see them competing for a playoff spot. Green is a star and it is a shame that he has never been able to show what he could do with a winning team. Dalton needs to step up big time and lead the team to victories. Mixon should improve in year three, which could take the workload off of Dalton.

The defensive side seems to be the strong side this year with the impressive defensive lineman rotation. The secondary has a chance to be something special if they can stay healthy, especially in the cornerback department.

Overall, expect a down year again for Cincinnati. This may be the last time we see Dalton under center in a Bengal uniform.

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