Fixing the offensive line was identified as the biggest Bengals need coming out of their Super Bowl LVI loss to the Rams, but it wasn’t the only place where the team devoted its resources this offseason.
The Bengals also signed cornerback Tre Flowers and drafted three defensive backs as they worked to shore up the back end of a defense that ranked in the middle of the pack during the 2021 regular season. They stepped up in the postseason by forcing nine turnovers over their four-game run, but the focus usually remained on the offense when people discussed what the future holds for the Bengals.
That’s just fine with defensive tackle D.J. Reader. He expressed great confidence in the unit on Tuesday and said it won’t be a problem if others continue to pay less attention to that side of the ball.
“We know we’re good. We know how we feel about each other. The guys love one another,” Reader said, via the team’s website. “The guys want to fly around. We’re going to make plays, and I don’t really care if anybody on the outside notices. I’d rather them not and then roll into Cincinnati into Paul Brown on Sundays and get thumped in the mouth.”
It’s hard for the defending AFC champion to fly under the radar, but the magnitude of the moves made by other AFC contenders this offseason has shifted more of the spotlight away than usual. We’ll find out in a few months if that’s the right recipe for Reader and the Bengals to hit the ground running.