Bengals coaches have tried to bait defensive players during camp to teach discipline
It’s fair to say that the Cincinnati Bengals saw their season end prematurely because their players, particularly Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict, couldn’t keep their cool in the biggest moments. The team’s coaching staff is already hard at work trying to change that.
Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther understands that the team needs to maintain its edge while not crossing the line, and he is trying to instill that in his players — from using real life examples such as Draymond Green challenging LeBron James in the NBA Finals to having offensive players try to bait the defense.
“That first meeting when we got back here in the spring, for at least my guys, it was one of the most important meetings I’ll ever have here,” Guenther said, via Albert Breer of the MMQB. “We gotta understand what we did good, understand what we did bad, can’t run from it. Handle it like men. Understand, hey, this is part of our history. We just can’t brush it to the side like it never happened.
“I told them, ‘We’re gonna continue to put our foot on the gas pedal, we’re gonna play fast and physical.’ But we gotta understand, it ended our season a year ago, being stupid.”
To that end, Guenther has Bengals’ offensive players trying to bait defenders into doing something stupid during the camp, under the reasoning that they’d better learn to control their emotions now before other teams do the same thing when it matters.
“They’re two very good players, very competitive guys,” Guenther said of Jones and Burfict. “They want to win at everything. Every drill. Everything. They don’t want to lose at anything. That’s how I want them to be. But they have to understand, they’re flagged by other teams. Other teams are going to try to get them out of their game, by doing some other things to them. They have to take the next step as a pro and walk away.”
So far, the coaches are pleased with their progress. It remains to be seen how they’ll respond in games, but if the Bengals intend to call themselves Super Bowl contenders, they can’t risk a repeat of the events that ended their season last year.