After making the playoffs in five consecutive seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals took a step back in 2016, going 6-9-1 and finishing third in the AFC North. The Bengals entered the season coming off a heartbreaking playoff loss to the Steelers, and even though they beat the Jets 23-22 in Week 1, they still started 3-7-1.
“Everything went right that game,” Bengals safety George Iloka said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, referring to the win over New York. “But I felt like as soon as things started not going our way – we look a loss here, took a loss there – I think it was, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ That opened up that scar that was maybe already there. Here we go, self-imploding again. Because of that loss (to Pittsburgh), as soon as something started happening similar to that loss, it kind of opened it up.”
The Bengals have made the playoffs seven times under Marvin Lewis but are still searching for their first playoff win since 1990. Lewis, however, is returning for the 2017 season.
“Since I’ve been there, they’ve never really made a lot of wholesale changes, whether it’s personnel-wise or coaches,” Iloka said. “But I don’t think we need to make wholesale changes. I think they’re going to make the right tweaks in the right spots, how they see fit. We also had a few rookies hurt last year that I felt would have helped us a lot. We had Andrew Billings at D-Tackle and some of the things he did in training camp was amazing. He just happened to get hurt. Then our first-round corner (William Jackson) was showing a lot of strides and he got hurt in camp too, and they both (were placed on) IR. I think that depth hurt us a little bit, so we’ll get those guys back, and they’re obviously going to draft and sign a few guys. I think we’ll be fine. We turned it around the second half of the year with the guys we had, so I don’t believe we need to make wholesale changes.”