Bucs Nation: What is going on inside the Bengals locker room? Is the team falling apart that they hold a players only meeting after the loss Kansas City?
Patrick Judis: It is hard to say exactly what when on inside that meeting. Aside from the news that the likes of Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins were the main speakers, we can’t really know what exactly what was said. It was clear that after a heartbreaker against Pittsburgh that Cincinnati wasn’t even ready to get off the bus to play the Chiefs, and those players who spoke know how important it is to respond after a game like that.
BN: Seems like the Bengals offense is heading south and struggling to sniff 30 points the past three weeks. What are the reasons for their struggles?
PJ: Injuries have really stacked up. Between injuries to Tyler Eifert, John Ross and Giovani Bernard, it has forced the Bengals to have to change how the offense operates. It also seems that the Bengals could do a better job of getting Joe Mixon involved earlier in games, but him being fresh off a knee surgery could be deterring them.
BN: I was a huge fan of Joe Mixon coming out of college and it seems like he may have some rhythm brewing this season. Are their plans to keep him heavily involved in the offense?
PJ: He is the starter this season, but the Bengals still love to mix Bernard in there as well to do some different things as well as try and keep both fresh. Mixon has shown flashes of what we thought he could be after the team drafted him, but he still hasn’t had that signature big game this season, but a lot of that can be blamed on the knee surgery he required.
BN: Do the Bengals need to turn to the trade deadline to get things heading in the right direction and if so, who or what position should they target?
PJ: The simple answer is, yes they do. The more complicated answer is that while they should make a deal, there is little to no chance that happens. The Bengals covet their picks to the point it becomes a problem even getting rookies to make the team because they end up with extra picks and a roster without too many glaring holes. I’d love to see a trade for a tight end since the Bengals don’t have many tight ends on the roster who aren’t playing on the last year of their deals. A Jared Cook trade would be nice, but it feels more like a bandaid that isn’t going to push the team over the edge.
BN: Prediction for Sunday’s game?
PJ: After predicting the Bengals to lose the past two weeks, I have a hard time believing they lose this one. My perception of this team hasn’t changed really. They are a team battling to reach the playoffs, but they aren’t contenders until they start beating teams like they played the past two weeks. Defeating a team still finding it’s footing like the Buccaneers shouldn’t be too much to ask from them.