CINCINNATI — The Bengals' defense is oozing with confidence after a successful first week of training camp
Guys like Jessie Bates, Mike Hilton, Chidobe Awuzie, Germaine Pratt and Vonn Bell have all made big plays against a struggling Cincinnati offense. Those highlights have led to plenty of trash talk over the past few days.
“When you start making plays on the ball and flying around, having fun, it breeds that confidence. And that’s what you want to have on defense—have that swagger," Bell said on Tuesday. "That’s what we’re creating. You’re starting to see it more and more, day in and day out and we just gotta keep building upon that into the season.”
We didn't see much of that swagger last season. In fact, the Bengals' defense looked disjointed at times. That hasn't been the case in camp. Part of that might have to do with fit. Hilton, Awuzie and Waynes have fit right in with the rest of the defense. The same goes for newcomer Eli Apple.
Throw in the fact that Bell is entering his second season in Lou Anarumo's system and there's plenty of optimism inside the Bengals locker room.
"I feel like the pieces we added are excellent guys we trust in the locker room and guys we trust in the unit," Bell said. We’re meshing and gelling very well."
Despite dominating the offense for most of camp, fifth overall pick Ja'Marr Chase has caught Bell's attention.
"He's going to be special now," Bell said with a smile. "When he starts learning the defense and what they give to him and how they align to him and how they're going to attack him. For sure. But right now, he's got a lot of upside and I'm happy to see where he goes."
Even though the defense has had the upper hand and talked a lot of trash in recent days, it isn't personal. It's all about making the team better.
“We're going out there and doing our job," Bell said. "They’re out teammates at the end of the day. We just want to get each other better. Iron sharpens iron and that’s what we’re out there competing for.”
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