The Bengals aggressively addressed multiple weaknesses in free agency this offseason. From signing D.J. Reader to adding Vonn Bell. The roster looks much different than it did in the season finale.
The Bengals also signed veteran guard Xavier Su'a-Filo to a three-year, $9 million contract. He's entering his seventh season in the NFL. Houston drafted him 33rd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
He is expected to be the Bengals' starting right guard this season.
"You have to take it," Su'a-Filo said when asked about the starting job on the Bengals Booth Podcast. "Everything's earned that way and I know that it's not going to be easy ever coming in to a new place with a new system with other players to complete. That's what I'm planning to do and I'm very, very excited."
The Bengals are hoping Su'a-Filo can transition from the left to the right side. The 29-year-old has primarily played left guard in the NFL.
"I've done a lot of reps and taken a lot of work on the right side, especially in practice and some preseason [games]," Su'a-Filo said. "Getting comfortable there in a game is something that is going to have to be by experience, but I definitely feel good there and getting in a right-handed stance and doing things on the right side — it's not foreign to me."
The Bengals' coaching staff envisions a starting offensive line consisting of second year players Jonah Williams (tackle) and Michael Jordan (guard) starting on the left side. Trey Hopkins is the starting center. Su'a-Filo projects to be the starting right guard.
Right tackle is still a question mark, but Bobby Hart and Fred Johnson will likely compete for the starting job.
The Bengals' rushing attack had success in the second half of last season with a pin and pull scheme that offensive line coach Jim Turner installed.
Running back Joe Mixon ran for 100 or more yards four times in the final eight games, which is a feat he didn't reach once in the first half of the season. Su'a-Filo believes he'll fit right in and help in the ground game.
"I'm an offensive lineman. I love running the ball. We always do," Su'a-Filo said. "And we know that a lot of stress gets taken off of the quarterback and the rest of the offense if you're able to run the ball successfully.
"Having a big strong back like Mixon definitely helps. I've been fortunate to block for some good backs in my career."
Listen to Dan Hoard's conversation with Su'a-Filo on the Bengals Booth Podcast below: