The Cincinnati Bengals went to the Super Bowl in 2021. That phrase is still so unbelievable. Just think, a few years ago the Bengals were beginning another rebuild and they were one of the NFL’s worst teams.

Now, everyone loves them. Well, besides maybe the Kansas City Chiefs.

While, yes, they didn’t win, that moment was still so surreal for die-hard, longtime Bengals fans. And even if they didn’t get the job done, they have a great chance to do so this year.

There were some obvious glaring holes in the Super Bowl that showed why the Los Angeles Rams were the better team. However, if these three players in Cincinnati can be “as advertised” the Bengals could make it back and have another chance at winning a Super Bowl.

Bengals need three players to produce as expected in 2022

1. D.J. Reader

The defensive tackle had an impressive year in 2021, as he was a big part of the Cincinnati defense that was able to reach the NFL’s biggest stage. He is a very good defensive lineman and definitely needs some more love from the national media.

According to Pro Football Focus, Reader has yet to have a season with a grade under 69 overall. And last season, he finished with an overall grade of 79.5, and a coverage grade of 77.1. Reader doesn’t need to have a pro bowl season, or anything of that nature, even though if he did, it would be amazing, but he does need to keep doing what he has been doing. Since coming into the NFL he has been a consistently good player. He has been, as expected.

Larry Ogunjobi is gone, which means it’s Reader’s and B.J. Hill’s room, now. Third-round pick Zachary Carter is in the mix, too, but the Bengals definitely need Reader to not only continue his play from last year, but step it up a notch, too.

2. Jonah Williams

In just his second year, Jonah Williams has put together two very impressive seasons. Yeah, the Bengals get a lot of hate for how bad their offensive line has been in terms of protecting Joe Burrow. However, Williams has been one of the better offensive linemen on the team.

Per PFF, Williams finished with an overall grade of 77.1, which is exactly seven points higher than his rookie year, 2020. Having now put together two straight years of consistently good play, Williams will be expected to have a season very similar. He will need to be ‘as advertised’ in 2022.

Williams protects Joe Burrow’s blindside. Is there any other reason for Williams to be on his game in 2022?

3. Trey Hendrickson

Trey Hendrickson has a knack for getting to the quarterback. In 2020, Hendrickson finished with 13.5 sacks with the New Orleans. This year, he finished with 14 sacks. There is no doubt that he has a talent for bringing down the captain of opposing teams’ offenses.

Having done that now for two years in a row, Hendrickson has shown that he is an elite pass rusher. He needs to be able to replicate that type of success and have a season that is ‘as advertised’ in order for the Bengals to see some success on defense.

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