1. The Bengals have a pretty balanced offense considering they're ranked 16th in both passing yards and rushing yards. What would you say is Cincinnati's strength on the offensive side of the ball?
I think the strength is the balance. Cincinnati is starting to show the true "west coast offense" that we were sold when offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was hired two years ago. They work on getting the ball out quick whether it is a run or a pass and let the players create. Last week, we saw quick passes turn into huge gains, and I think with the speed and talent the Bengals have on offense they can do really well to continue with this kind of attack. Obviously we have a huge talent in A.J. Green that can get behind the defense and also the typical power running back in BenJarvus Green-Ellis that can pick up the hard yards. There are also two very talented tight ends that Andy Dalton can use to find the mismatches in the defense.
2. Andy Dalton is completing 65.1 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,552 yards, 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions so far this season. What kind of ceiling do you think he has as an NFL quarterback?
Bengals fans are hard on Dalton. Many think he is not performing very well and think he is holding the team back. However, he is the QB of a team that has gone 11-5 in their last 16 games and was just named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. For every QB, their development progression is different, and I think we continue to see positive growth from Dalton. At times his consistency is questionable and to be a great QB in the NFL you need to consistently play well.
3. The Bengals are a solid team against both the pass and the run. What makes them so good defensively?
I think defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is great at playing up the strengths of the personnel. The Bengals defense is led by an outstanding rotation of guys up front. The defensive line creates havoc for opposing quarterbacks, which in turn allows the corners and safeties shorter amounts of time to cover wide receivers. The Bengals have been pretty good at dealing with injuries on the defensive side of the ball because Zimmer is able to scheme and shift guys to play to the strengths of the defense and limit exposure to the weaknesses.
4. Aside from A.J. Green, what player should the Lions defense be most concerned about on Sunday?
It is another wide receiver, named Marvin Jones. Last week, Jones was a huge contributor in beating the Buffalo Bills. He had 3 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. His speed makes him dangerous, and if the Lions have issues in their secondary, the Bengals have enough weapons to find the holes. Jones could have a big game.
5. At 4-2 and in first place in the AFC North, the Bengals seem well on their way to their third straight playoff appearance. Assuming the Bengals do return to the playoffs, what would constitute a successful postseason run: simply getting a win, making it to the AFC Championship Game or going all the way to the Super Bowl?
For me I want to see the Bengals make it to the playoffs and win a couple games. 1 playoff win will be progress and take a huge monkey off a team that has not won a playoff game in 23 years. However, I think the talent on this team could carry them to the AFC Championship Game, and that is where I expect the Bengals to advance to.
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