Plenty of Bengals players could set new team records this season
A handful of Bengals are projected to cement their names in Bengals' history this season.
Carlos Dunlap, A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard, and Geno Atkins have been core players for the team over the past decade. They could realistically etch their name in Bengals' history in 2020.
It’s only the beginning for Joe Burrow, but his rookie season projections put him in position for an impressive start as well.
Here are the team records that current Bengals players could break this season.
Carlos Dunlap – Sacks
Entering his 11th season, Dunlap is second in team history with 81.5 sacks — just two shy of Eddie Edward’s record (83.5).
Since entering the league in 2010, Dunlap has been a consistent problem for opposing quarterbacks. He has 58 passes defended and a combined 231 sacks and quarterback hits over that span according to Pro Football Focus. That gives him the third most from 2010-2019, trailing only J.J. Watt and Cameron Wake.
PFF named Dunlap to their All-Decade Team. They believe he's of the most underrated players of his generation.
"Drafted in 2010, Dunlap has never had an overall PFF grade below 70.0," Sam Monson wrote. "That comes on the back of nine straight seasons with 45 or more total pressures, topping out with 80 back in 2015 when he, along with most of the Bengals, enjoyed career seasons. Dunlap has been an impressive run defender and pass rusher, but he doesn’t get the credit he deserves because his best play falls just short of the top players at the position."
Dunlap is currently 11th among active NFL players in career sacks. Becoming the all-time Bengals sack leader would cement his name in team history.
Should the Bengals ever have a Ring of Honor, Dunlap would be on the list of inductees.
A.J. Green – Touchdown Receptions
Green ranks second in almost every receiving category behind Chad Johnson. Green has caught 63 touchdown passes, just three shy of Johnson’s team record (66).
Green is currently tied with Carl Pickens for the second-most in Bengals’ history.
His importance cannot be overstated. The Bengals are 66-44-1 in regular season games with Green in the lineup as opposed to 7-25-1 in the regular season without Green since 2014.
Despite missing all of last season and being plagued with injuries in recent years, Green is still held in high regard throughout the NFL. He was an honorable mention on ESPN’s best wide receivers list.
Many are still cautious about Green’s return in 2020. PFF has him finished with less than 1,000 receiving yards this season.
The 32-year-old believes he can still be one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. He thinks he has at least four elite years left in the league.
“A.J. is one of the best receivers in the NFL,” head coach Zac Taylor said last month. “He’s an important part of our plans, and we’re thrilled to have him in the fold from Day one. We’re looking forward to the impact of his talent and leadership on our offense this season.”
Green has solidified his spot in Bengals history as one of the best wide receivers to ever wear the orange and black. The injuries have hurt his overall numbers, but he should still post big numbers if he can stay healthy.
Hopefully, when it’s all said and done, he can play is way into the Hall of Fame.
Giovani Bernard – Receptions by a Running Back
Bernard is just two receptions (295) shy of breaking James Brooks’ reception record (297) by a running back of 297.
He could also break Brooks’ record of receiving yards (3,012) by a running back if he hauls in 501 yards this season.
A staple out of the backfield since being drafted by Cincinnati in 2013, Bernard’s versatility has been a key contribution to the success of the Bengals' offense over the past seven seasons. Bernard ranks seventh all-time in Bengals rushing yards (3,281) and 19th all-time in receiving yards (2,512). He could pass Harold Green (3,727) and move into sixth all-time in Bengals rushing yards this season.
Bernard has played in 3,351 offensive snaps during his seven-year career.
The team plans to give Joe Mixon the majority of the workload, but Bernard could be a weapon in this offense. Whether that be catching out of the backfield or pass-blocking, he is capable of producing on offense.
Taylor believes the offense has plenty of depth at the skill positions. Could he line up in the slot on some formations?
Bernard could be the Shawn Williams of the offense. He's a capable player, but he isn't projected to start and it's hard to see a scenario [other than injury] where he's getting significant snaps on a regular basis.
Bernard has secured himself as one of the top pass catching backs in Bengals’ history. Elusiveness and grit are two traits to describe his skillset. His thrilling run against the Dolphins is one of the best moments of his career.
Joe Burrow – Rookie Passing Yards and Touchdown Passes
Although Burrow has dealt with a virtual offseason and won't get the luxury of a preseason, it's realistic to expect him to break Andy Dalton’s rookie records for passing yards (3,398) and touchdowns (20).
BetOnline has set Burrow's over/under at 3,800 passing yards and 24.5 touchdowns. If he hits those marks, it would shatter Dalton's rookie records.
It would also give him the fourth-most passing yards for a rookie in NFL history. If he reached the 3,800-yard mark, he'd finish right in front of Carson Wentz (3,782), trailing only Andrew Luck (4,374), Cam Newton (4,051) and Jameis Winston (4,042).
With the supporting cast surrounding him and the praise he's received thus far, it's realistic to expect Burrow to have success early on this season.
Geno Atkins – Sacks
The race for the sack record has been a great competition to watch over the past decade. Atkins is third on the Bengals' all-time list, just six behind Dunlap with 75.5 sacks.
Atkins has caused havoc in opposing teams’ backfields over the last decade with 577 pressures according to PFF.
Atkins could very well pass Edwards on the all-time sack list, even if he doesn't do it before Dunlap. Don't be shocked if he does it this season. Atkins has had nine or more sacks in five of his ten NFL seasons. He reached that number in four straight years from 2015-18.
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