As the NFL season approaches, the league would have you believe everybody has a shot at winning the Superbowl. After about week three we all find out that’s a bunch of nonsense. The truth is there are teams that realize this at the beginning of training camp.
Due to the fact that they want fans to come and spend money, these team will spin it in a favorable direction. They most likely won’t be that great but in the NFL, you never know.
Each of these teams has multiple question marks going into the season and some are glaringly obvious. I’ve taken it upon myself to ask a not so obvious question for teams who will most likely be looking up in the standings.
Will the Miami Dolphins ever fix their wide receiver and tight end problem?
Miami finished the season with Danny Amendola as their leading receiver. That sentence should explain everything but I’ll elaborate for good measure. For starters, Amendola is at best a third option on a good team.
To take it a step further, if the rest of your wide receiver corp is looking up at Amendola’s stats, you’re in big trouble. Kenny Stills is a deep threat anytime he touches the field but that’s pretty much it. Kenyan Drake was second on the team with 53 receptions but he’s a running back catching most of those passes out of the backfield.
The Dolphins have been waiting four seasons for DeVante Parker to turn into a threat. The 6’3″, 216 pounds wideout has only caught nine career touchdown passes, which is just two per season with a cherry on top.
Miami has also been waiting on a viable tight end threat. After years of getting an aging player trying to make a comeback, the Dolphins drafted Mike Gesiki in round two last season. He turned in a modest effort of 22 catches for 202 and zero touchdowns. A far cry from the nine scores he had in his last season at Penn State.
The Dolphins have had a serious quarterback and offensive line problem for years now. The lack of production from the receiving corps has been equally laughable in that time span. The difference is the chance at drafting one of the receivers (that works) comes around a lot more often.
What exactly is the long term plan for the Cincinnati Bengals?
For the last eight seasons, the Bengals have gone from pretty good to forgotten. Five straight wild card exits followed by three years of no post-season at all. The team finally parted ways with long time head coach Marvin Lewis and hired Zac Taylor.
With Taylor they hope to bring a fresh new face and a change in culture, especially on offense. The problem is they hope to accomplish this with the same old players.
The Andy Dalton to A.J. Green connection has produced many regular season wins and plenty of highlights. That tag team has yet to produce any playoff success and they are starting to break down physically.
Dalton finished the 2018 campaign with only eleven starts, sidelined by a thumb injury. Green played only nine games with an injured toe. The duo played the lowest amount of games in their careers and they are only getting older.
At what point do you change the culture of the team by keeping the exact same players? Sure, Cincinnati has gotten younger at running back drafting Joe Mixon a few years ago. Sure, the team has made an effort to get younger across the offensive line.
It’s like changing your car engine and putting the oil from the old one in it. They’ve changed the driver, the fuel tank, and even got a new paint job, but that engine still can’t make it over the hill.
Every move they’ve made seems more like they are trying to sustain a great run of seasons, instead of really looking towards the future. Maybe Zac Taylor and the Bengals hierarchy have an ultimate plan but it hasn’t gone into effect yet.
Green is already scheduled to miss a few games this season with an ankle injury. Dalton has been a solid signal caller for years but he’s never really put it in second gear, severely lacking that “it” factor.
The fans will get sick of not winning any playoffs games with Dalton at the helm, they’ve seen that movie before. His best weapon might be breaking down after crossing the 30 year old threshold. The team should have a plan in place but when do try think they should execute it?
Two teams, two very different rosters that will probably end up with very similar results. They will most likely duke it out for a top draft pick instead of a playoff berth. Then again, it is the NFL.