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Tuesday Trenches: It’s all gravy

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By: Jason Garrison

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals have built a pretty solid biscuit.

I refused to try biscuits and gravy when I was a kid. I thought it looked gross, and I equated anything gravy to Turkey gravy, which I didn’t (and still don’t) like. Despite my dad trying to get me to try biscuits and gravy every time we took a morning fishing trip, I treated the stuff like poison.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I finally tried it, and of course, it was delicious. Now I also understand the term “it’s all gravy.” When I think of the Cincinnati Bengals, which I always do, and I think about biscuits and gravy, which I’m thinking of right now because I’m hungry, I see some similarities in how the Bengals have taken their offseason approach.

Just roll with me here, there’s not a lot going on that I’m focused on outside of March Madness.

Good teams have their biscuits all ready to go before the draft when they get their gravy. They do this by having a team they could field and be competitive without the draft, using their existing players and free agency. That forms a good, solid biscuit rolled up with chunks of cold butter before it goes into the oven. When the gravy comes, the biscuit holds up.

This is stupid, but I’m 229 words in, and I’m committed to the bit!

The Bengals have a solid biscuit (I’m almost done, I promise). They brought in a right tackle with the signing of Trent Brown and now have a complete offensive line ready to go. They brought in two safeties, including Vonn Bell, who knows defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s system. They signed a 3-technique defensive tackle primed to boost the interior pass rush bringing in Sheldon Rankins. They signed tight end Mike Gesicki, who is capable of stretching the field, and re-signed Drew Sample, a capable blocker on the edge. They signed Zach Moss who is a running back more comfortable running out of shotgun and who knows how to pass block.

If the season started tomorrow, and everyone was healthy, the Bengals would be one of the few teams who are still contenders without the draft helping them out.

Whoever the Bengals select in the draft is your sausage gravy. Is it necessary to eat a good biscuit? No, but holy hell, a great sausage gravy combines with a great biscuit to weaken the knees of any willing consumer. Butter and Jelly? That’s good, but it’s not B&G.

Perhaps the best available player isn’t an offensive tackle, a tight end, or a safety. What if it’s a wide receiver? Would that be so bad, considering the Tee Higgins situation? What if it’s a corner, a pass rusher, or an interior offensive lineman (Ted Karras will be a free agent after 2024, and Alex Cappa will be a free agent after 2025)? Who knows?

So it’s all gravy.

There, I’m finished, but I’m not sorry.

Here are some other random, non-food thoughts:

  • The Bengals aren’t done in free agency, but the initial storm is over. There are still players to be signed, including some big names, but they won’t happen every day. Once the draft is over, we’ll see another wave. The Bengals will sign more players, but I don’t expect any more big moves.
  • I still expect them to address cornerback depth and possibly nose tackle in free agency before the draft.
  • When it comes to the draft, the nice thing about addressing your needs in free agency is it opens all doors. Why be forced into taking a right tackle when you can take the best player available as long as that player isn’t a quarterback.
  • Do you use a lot of mock draft generators? If so, which do you prefer: PFF or PFN? Or a different one?
  • What do you think the Bengals’ next steps are?
  • I do think the Bengals are the most improved team in free agency in the AFC North. The Ravens added Derek Henry while they purged key defensive players who signed with division rivals. The Steelers added a lot of potential at quarterback, but that’s all they have at quarterback right now, potential. The Browns added wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and replaced Joe Flacco with Jameis Winston as their backup quarterback. The Bengals did some real work at key positions of need.
  • After saying all that, I still think the AFC North is the toughest division in football.

Who Dey!

Relevant song lyrics:

Whenever I think of strong foundations, I think of home.

I know they say you can’t go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma’am, I know you don’t know me from Adam
But these handprints on the front steps are mine

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and learned to play guitar
And I bet you didn’t know, under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

Originally posted on Cincy Jungle – All Posts