Much of the talk surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason was about how the team had gotten younger and faster in an effort to overcome some of its major deficiencies from last year.
But when game day finally got here, where was all of that youth that we had heard so much about? They were sitting on the sidelines, where all Marvin Lewis rookies sit on opening day.
On offense, John Ross, the Bengals’ first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft and the man who set the NFL Combine record in the 40-yard dash with a blazing time of 4.21, was inactive as he attempts to recover from a sore knee. Ross was able to practice and probably could have played.
Josh Malone, a fourth-round pick by Cincinnati this year who himself was one of the fastest receivers at the combine, was inactive.
Cincinnati’s starting offense featured fourth-year running back Jeremy Hill and second-year slot receiver Tyler Boyd, along with the incomparable A.J. Green and tight end Tyler Eifert, who, when healthy, has proven to be one of the best in the business. Who needs youth when you have experience?
But that experience did not help the Bengals on Sunday. Eifert was not even targeted until late in the second quarter, when he made his only reception of the day for four yards, and he got no attention on the Bengals’ three trips into the red zone.
Green finished with five receptions for 74 yards. But three of those receptions came on the Bengals’ first trip into the red zone early in the second quarter. Yet, inexplicably, Andy Dalton did not even look his way before tossing his first interception on a pass intended for Brandon LaFell.
click here to read the rest of this story