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AFC North: More or Less

June 20, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



CINCINNATI BENGALS: The Bengals didn't sit pat after last season's surprising 9-7 season and a trip to the playoffs. Cincinnati had one of the most productive offseasons in the league, even though it didn't make a splash with a big-name signing. The Bengals' prize in free agency was former Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who provides more ball security and a bigger punch in the red zone than Cedric Benson. There was a significant upgrade at both guard positions with free agent Travelle Wharton and first-round pick Kevin Zeitler.

The biggest question is who will start at the No. 2 wide receiver spot opposite A.J. Green. After losing two of their top three wide receivers from last season (Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell left in free agency), the Bengals didn't sign a wide receiver in free agency and didn't draft one in the first two rounds. Cincinnati will likely go with either Brandon Tate, Mohamed Sanu or Armon Binns.

The Bengals' defense returns nearly intact after finishing No. 7 last season. Leon Hall, the team's top cornerback, is looking to get back on the field by training camp after an Achilles injury ended his 2011 season. But the Bengals don't need to rush him back after drafting Dre Kirkpatrick in the first round and signing three former first-round cornerbacks in free agency: Adam Jones, Terence Newman and Jason Allen. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap is looking to become an every-down player this year and could have a Pro Bowl-type season.

READ MORE: http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/49963


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