With 2023 NFL training camps set to kick off the week of July 24, it's time to get up to speed on all 32 NFL teams. Eric Edholm has the lowdown on position battles, key players and notable subplots across the AFC North:
Catch up on the Cincinnati Bengals' offseason and 2023 outlook below ...
Training Camp Dates/Information
- Players report: July 22 (rookies); July 25 (veterans)
- Location: Kettering Health Practice Fields | Cincinnati (fan information)
Notable Roster Changes
|2023 Draft class||Selection|
|Edge Myles Murphy||Round 1 (No. 28 overall)|
|CB DJ Turner II||Round 2 (No. 60)|
|S Jordan Battle||Round 3 (No. 95)|
|WR Charlie Jones||Round 4 (No. 131)|
|RB Chase Brown||Round 5 (No. 163)|
|WR Andrei Iosivas||Round 6 (No. 206)|
|P Brad Robbins||Round 6 (No. 217)|
|DB D.J. Ivey||Round 7 (No. 246)|
2023 Schedule Notes
- Sixteenth easiest strength of schedule in 2023 based on their opponents' 2022 win percentage (.510).
- Play the entire NFC West in a five-game stretch from Weeks 3 to 8.
-- NFL Research
Subplots To Track
1) If there's one position that stands out as a big question mark, it's safety. Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell each topped 1,000 snaps last season, rarely coming off the field for Lou Anarumo's vastly improved defense the previous three seasons. But now both must be replaced after departing in free agency. Also gone is Tre Flowers, who ably filled a hybrid DB role in spots.
The expectation is that 2022 first-rounder Dax Hill and free-agent addition Nick Scott will both start, with 2023 third-rounder Jordan Battle also in the mix. But with Hill playing just 130 regular-season snaps last year, his readiness as a starter is in question. Scott started for the Rams last season but has nowhere near Bates' range to cover center field.
Can a strong pass rush offset some back-end concerns? It might be a bit dicey early.
2) With the signing of Orlando Brown, the Bengals might have their best O-line in the Zac Taylor era. Protecting Joe Burrow has been a recurring problem since he entered the league. Issues up front were obviously a massive factor in Cincinnati's Super Bowl LVI loss, but they cropped again to start last season and returned in the playoffs.
Brown will slot in at left tackle, supplanting Jonah Williams, who requested a trade earlier this offseason but appears ready to switch to right tackle as needed. The interior looks solid with Cordell Volson, Ted Karras and Alex Cappa. La’el Collins might start the year on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after tearing his ACL in December, but he'll provide starting ability upon his return. Backups Jackson Carman, Hakeem Adeniji, Max Scharping and Cody Ford all have started previously, too.
On paper, the unit looks good. But will it jell properly? If so, the sky's the limit for this offense.
3) Despite an offseason of uncertainty, Joe Mixon appears in line to lead the team's RB group for at least one more year. With backup Samaje Perine now in Denver, the rest of the Bengals' backfield is thin on experience, with veterans Chris Evans and Trayveon Williams (64 combined career carries) joined by rookie Chase Brown.
Assuming Mixon remains the lead option, he must make more people miss. The seventh-year back generated just 43 rushing yards over expected on 210 carries last season (21st among RBs, min. 100 carries), per Next Gen Stats, meaning he tended to pick up only the yards available. He's never been a true breakaway back, but improving his number of intermediate runs should at least help the Bengals' pass-happy offense (ranked 31st in RB rushing attempts) keep defenses honest.
It'll be worth watching whether the backfield continues to be heavily involved in the passing game. Bengals backs saw a 36 percent increase in targets last season (98 vs. 133), with Mixon accounting for a total of 75 -- 20 more than his previous career high.