Morning Stripes: Key Bengals questions

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
8:00
AM ET
There are several storylines that will follow the Cincinnati Bengals into spring workouts and training camp that will eventually need to be addressed.

For now, they are simply conversation starters. They're scenarios that arrange certain roster or schematic conditions in order to predict what might happen for the Bengals when the 2014 season officially begins.

An example: If defensive tackle Geno Atkins makes it to training camp without any issues in his ACL rehab, then the Bengals' front-seven rotation will be set. If that happens, it'll also be pretty good. By then, the Bengals will have either re-signed Michael Johnson or found a replacement for him at defensive end. And the rest of the line will have returned, looking to build off its success and growth that came in Atkins' absence late this past season. The D-line was gashed on occasion during the Bengals' playoff loss, but otherwise the line was pretty good without Atkins.

So with Atkins back, the unit has the potential to be markedly better and deeper this fall, because of the experience younger players like Brandon Thompson and Margus Hunt received as they helped fill Atkins' spot.

There are so many other hypothetical situations that can be debated -- and will -- this offseason.

As we unveil this short list of Friday's Morning Stripes, we begin with a posting that addresses five of those concerns:
  • Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson took a little time late Thursday to pose five questions he looks to see the Bengals answer by the time training camp begins in August. Many of them revolve around what the changes at offensive and defensive coordinator might mean for Cincinnati. Will Hue Jackson get Andy Dalton to play at a more consistently high level? Will Jackson's intense, high-energy style translate to other players on offense? What will change as far as the Bengals' defensive philosophy in the secondary now that Mike Zimmer is gone? All good questions to ponder with football still more than 200 days away.
  • You may have seen this on ESPN.com on Thursday, but if not, here's a link to what running back Giovani Bernard said about having Jackson as the team's new offensive coordinator. In an interview on NFL Network's "NFL AM," Bernard spoke about how Jackson is going to install the "craziest" playbook.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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