81 episodes

A Cincinnati Bengals podcast featuring analysis, predictions, rumors and insights from cleveland.com's reporting team of Andrew Gillis, Mike Niziolek and Mohammad Ahmad.

Strictly Stripes: A Cincinnati Bengals podcast Andrew Gillis, Mike Niziolek and Mohammad Ahmad

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    • 4.0 • 7 Ratings

A Cincinnati Bengals podcast featuring analysis, predictions, rumors and insights from cleveland.com's reporting team of Andrew Gillis, Mike Niziolek and Mohammad Ahmad.

    Breaking down the Bengals' cap space and potential offseason decisions: Strictly Stripes Podcast

    Breaking down the Bengals' cap space and potential offseason decisions: Strictly Stripes Podcast

    Big decisions looming for the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason will make an impact in years to come.
    If free agency wasn't enough, the Bengals are also set to likely give Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow a contract extension that could reset the market for quarterbacks. All of that plays into how the Bengals will head into free agency and what that means for their potential draft decisions this April.
    All of that requires planning and attention on many fronts, including the salary cap. The Bengals have the sixth-best salary cap space in the league ($35.7 million) according to Spotrac.
    Will the Bengals try and make more room to pave the way for Burrow? What about wide receiver Tee Higgins?
    Higgins has one year remaining on his contract but, like Burrow, he too is eligible for an extension along with linebacker Logan Wilson. Mix in the fact that Ja'Marr Chase will likely ask for one when he's eligible in 2024 and that makes for some complex decision-making.
    The Bengals could possibly save cap space by restructuring some deals or cutting players to save money, although that's not a dire necessity. Running back Joe Mixon, offensive tackle La'el Collins and other veterans are examples of players who could potentially be salary cap targets in order to expand cap space.
    Do the Bengals try and expand their cap space, or do they try to allocate their resources through free agency and draft capital? What does that look like?
    The Strictly Stripes crew looks at the Bengals' salary cap numbers and compares and contrasts any decisions that can impact what happens not just this offseason, but next year as well. They also start looking at early areas of need for the Bengals as they are still not even a full week into this fresh offseason.
    This podcast features Mohammad Ahmad, Andrew Gillis and Michael Niziolek.
    Music: Starfields by Hallman
    Music Link: https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/nQ9ldbVF7D/
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    • 44 min
    What happens to the nucleus of the Bengals' defense? Strictly Stripes Podcast

    What happens to the nucleus of the Bengals' defense? Strictly Stripes Podcast

    The Joe Burrow contract extension era is officially underway.
    With the Bengals set to likely negotiate a contract extension with their star quarterback, that means there will be tough decisions to be made with key players on both sides of the ball, particularly the defense.
    Safety Jessie Bates and linebacker Germaine Pratt have likely played their final games in a Cincinnati uniform. Bates was franchise tagged last season and Pratt may have given away signs that he could be elsewhere next season.
    Next to Bates though, safety Vonn Bell is also entering the offseason with his contract set to expire. Bell has played his last two seasons in Cincinnati making a large impact through many angles, tying Bates for the team lead in interceptions (4). A team captain who has been one of the leaders of not just the Bengals' secondary, but the defense overall, keeping Bell will be critical if Bates and Pratt do indeed walk.
    Moreover, cornerbacks Eli Apple and Tre Flowers are set to become unrestricted free agents as well. They've each spent the last two years together in Cincinnati after coming over from Carolina and Seattle, respectively. Both played significantly different roles but saw lots of action in that span.
    Apple, who is entering his eighth season with four different teams, could be at a crossroads. The Bengals might decide to stick with Chidobe Awuzie and rookie Cam Taylor-Britt as their two starting cornerbacks. That means Apple could either be behind them, or he might search for another opportunity elsewhere as a start. Given his age and controversial social media, that could make for an interesting offseason for him.
    Offensively, there's a bevy of free agents but the biggest name headlining the offense is tight end Hayden Hurst. Hurst, who's played just one year in Cincinnati, has expressed desire in wanting to stay with the Bengals - his third team he's played for in five seasons. However, the Bengals have shown they're historically not afraid to draft tight ends early. Backup tight ends Drew Sample, a second-round pick, and Mitchell Wilcox both being free agents could sway the Bengals in that direction.
    The Bengals' coaching carousel has sped up a bit as Lou Anarumo has interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals and his coordinator cohort, Brian Callahan, is set to do the same. Callahan also has a second interview with the Colts coming up and wide receiver coach Troy Walters has been requested to be interviewed by the Houston Texans for an offensive coordinator position.
    That doesn't even scratch the full surface of the Bengals' pending offseason. The Strictly Stripes crew talks at least about those aforementioned free agent names and where the coaching search could turn in Cincinnait. They toss other names that could be considered for other coaching vacanies as well.
    This podcast features Mohammad Ahmad and Andrew Gillis.
    Music: Starfields by Hallman
    Music Link: Hallman - Starfields | Epidemic Sound
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    • 49 min
    What does the Bengals' championship window look like? Strictly Stripes Podcast

    What does the Bengals' championship window look like? Strictly Stripes Podcast

    The Cincinnati Bengals' championship window has tightened up just a bit after last weekend's AFC Championship game loss.
    Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has said that his championship window is his entire career. That reflects the team's standard of not just reaching but winning the Super Bowl after coming up just short in last year's Super Bowl.
    But Sunday's loss to the Chiefs was an opportunity that was just within Cincinnati's reach.
    Like last year's Super Bowl, the Bengals were just a drive away from possibly defeating the Chiefs in near walk-off fashion with two timeouts and 2:30 left on the clock. That makes the loss much more frustrating and worth dwelling over what could've been for a team that was riding a 10-game win streak.
    Things only get harder for the Bengals internally and externally. On the outside, the AFC is just as competitive, if not more competitive, with the Chiefs, Bills and even the Jaguars among some of the few teams that came close to this year's Super Bowl who could be contenders next year. Furthermore, the Bengals will have some tough decisions to make with Burrow's potential contract extension looming. Depending on how that plays, that will affect how they go about with free agency.
    Tight end Hayden Hurst is the only offensive starter whose contract is expiring. Linebacker Germaine Pratt and veteran safeties Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates also have their contracts coming up too, presenting a challenge for the Bengals' defensive nucleus that helped them reach back-to-back AFC title games.
    Those are just some of the biggest names though headlining the Bengals' free agents. Cornerbacks Eli Apple and Tre Flowers are on that list, along with running back Samaje Perine, backup quarterback Brandon Allen, punt returner Trent Taylor and kickoff returner Trayveon Williams among the other tier of free agents to name a few.
    Does this mean the Bengals' championship window is closing in fast? How much room is left for the franchise to try and get back to the Super Bowl and deliver Cincinnati its first ever championship?
    The Strictly Stripes crew opens up the offseason talking about what could've been in Sunday's stunning loss at Arrowhead Stadium and assessing how detrimental that was to the Bengals' title hopes. They also look at where coordinators Lou Anarumo and Brian Callahan fit in the coaching carousel and zoom in specifically on Bates and Pratt.
    This podcast features Mohammad Ahmad, Andrew Gillis and Michael Niziolek.
    Music: Starfields by Hallman
    Music Link: https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/8FjzZG4JFm/
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    • 39 min
    How Bengals are moving forward following AFC Championship loss to Chiefs: Strictly Stripes Podcast

    How Bengals are moving forward following AFC Championship loss to Chiefs: Strictly Stripes Podcast

    A historic run for the Cincinnati Bengals comes to a painful end.
    After winning a franchise-record 10 straight games that features a rare wire-to-wire road playoff win against the Buffalo Bills, the Bengals begin their offseason two weeks earlier than planned. Cincinnati’s season comes to a halt following a 23-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
    Much like their last three meetings, the game came down to a field goal score and a late field goal at that. Harrison Butker’s 45-yard game-winning kick avenged Kansas City’s last three losses to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Although Cincinnati had multiple attempts and plays to take a lead, they never led Kansas City once despite tying the game up twice.
    Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, despite playing with a high ankle sprain, was swallowed up left and right by Cincinnati’s defense, which sacked him twice, but he sustained those hits and kept going by any means necessary. He exploited Cincinnati’s defense through several explosive passes downfield to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and a series of screen passes to rookie running back Isiah Pacheco.
    Burrow, meanwhile, had flashbacks of last year’s playoff nightmares after the Chiefs sacked him six times. All-Pro defensive end Chris Jones took this game personal following trash talk remarks regarding Arrowhead Stadium’s name and image and took that out with two sacks of his own.
    Wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins each had some of the best catches in their careers that both kept the Bengals in the game. But, their efforts just weren’t enough, and they couldn’t fully complete the comeback that they put together in last year’s AFC title game.
    The Strictly Stripes crew does its final postgame podcast of the 2022 season as the Bengals prepare for a lengthy offseason that could see lots of uncertain changes. They explain how this game could have gone any other way and how the Bengals move on from the stinging loss.
    This podcast features Mohammad Ahmad, Andrew Gillis and Michael Niziolek.
    Music: Starfields by Hallman
    Music Link: https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/nQ9ldbVF7D/
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 33 min
    Bengals vs. Chiefs AFC Championship preview - Why Bengals can get back to Super Bowl: Strictly Stripes Podcast

    Bengals vs. Chiefs AFC Championship preview - Why Bengals can get back to Super Bowl: Strictly Stripes Podcast

    The Kansas City Chiefs have few flaws, but one of them is the fact that they can't seem to find a way to beat the Bengals.
    For as much praise as the Andy Reid-led Chiefs have received for their play style that earned them their fifth-straight AFC Championship game appearance - all at home - the Bengals have somehow found a way to play spoiler. One of Kansas City's three losses this year came in Cincinnati back in Week 13.
    The Chiefs didn't play poorly. They were just outplayed.
    In all three of their head-to-head meetings, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has helped give his team a fourth quarter lead. But whether Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow went off at the right time or the Chiefs just went south at the wrong time, Mahomes and the Chiefs just haven't been able to find the Bengals' kryptonite.
    That doesn't take away the challenge the Bengals face heading into an always-challenging Arrowhead Stadium environment. It took an 18-point comeback for the Bengals to come into Arrowhead last year to pull out an overtime victory to head to their first Super Bowl in over three decades.
    Neither team is in this game by coincidence. Round four of this classic AFC rumble is quickly turning into one of the NFL's hottest rivalries with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Cincinnati seeks back-to-back AFC titles for the first time in franchise history. Kansas City wants to get back to the big game for the third time in four seasons after winning it all three years ago.
    Burrow vs. Mahomes has all the makings of one of the league's best quarterback duels. An MVP finalist, Burrow goes against a one-time MVP winner and current frontrunner in Mahomes. Reid will look to get his first-ever win against Bengals head coach Zac Taylor who continues leading the Bengals ascension in the AFC.
    A more youthful, robust Chiefs defense, led by defense coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, will try and do what Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has done and that's stop Burrow in his tracks. That includes his receiving corps, led by Ja'Marr Chase, which has also been a force to be reckoned with in these games.
    Who takes round four of this hot, fiery rivalry that's featured no shortage of bulletin board material? Kansas City is a 1.5-point favorite but that hasn't meant anything to a confident Bengals squad. Will Burrow or Mahomes possess the hot hand?
    The Strictly Stripes crew gives a comprehensive, full-on preview filled with game predictions, including scores and the top playmakers to look for in Sunday's championship game. They also assess the significance of injury updates for both teams, such as the Bengals' offensive line and Mahomes' ankle injury.
    This podcast features Mohammad Ahmad, Andrew Gillis and Michael Niziolek.
    Music: Starfields by Hallman
    Music Link: https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/nQ9ldbVF7D/
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 41 min
    Stopping Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes requires...a vanilla gameplan by the Bengals? Strictly Stripes Podcast

    Stopping Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes requires...a vanilla gameplan by the Bengals? Strictly Stripes Podcast

    The Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes meet yet again.
    Mahomes beat the Bengals in his first ever meeting against Cincinnati during a Sunday Night Football showdown at Arrowhead in Week 7 on the 2018 season. He lit up the Bengals' defense by leading the Chiefs to a 35-point victory as that year marked Mahomes' first-ever AFC Championship game appearance.
    Times have since changed though. Mahomes has not beaten the Bengals since quarterback Joe Burrow joined the franchise, losing to Burrow in each of their last three head-to-head matchups. Burrow outdueled Mahomes in a Week 11 showdown that saw the Bengals defeat the Chiefs, 27-24, as Mahomes completed just over half of his passes while throwing for a near season-low 227 yards.
    However, none of that has changed the fact that Mahomes is the league frontrunner to win what could be his second MVP award. He's also still the league leader in most passing categories ahead of even Burrow. And this Sunday's AFC Championship tilt with the Bengals is the only thing separating Mahomes from his third Super Bowl appearance in four years.
    Sunday will be anything but easy for Mahomes and the Bengals' defense. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has gotten the last laugh but Mahomes had nearly come close to doing the same in those three matchups.
    What do the Bengals do differently against Mahomes? Do they do anything differently? They've faced Mahomes with and without star receiver Tyreek Hill who's now in Miami. Don't forget about All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce though. He's been Mahomes' go-to target and that will leave linebacker Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt with their hands full.
    The Strictly Stripes Crew compares and contrasts the last three matchups between both teams to what's coming up this Sunday at Arrowhead. They debate whether Mahomes' ankle will be much of a factor and all and how much that changes the gameplan.
    Special contributor Lance Reisland also breaks down the film from the Bengals' divisional win last weekend over Buffalo to explain what went right. He also weighs in on how the Bengals should get to Mahomes.
    This podcast features Mohammad Ahmad, Michael Niziolek and special contributor Lance Reisland.
    Music: Starfields by Hallman
    Music Link: https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/nQ9ldbVF7D/
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

A37400 ,

Meh

Ok. Don’t seem to have covered the team for as long as other Bengals pods.

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