The Cincinnati Bengals are in an uncomfortable but all-too-common predicament. They have a 1-3 record and are 0-2 in the division entering Week 5. The good news is that if they win this weekend, they will be 2-3 and 0-2 in the division, precisely where they were in 2022 before going on to win their second consecutive AFC Championship game.
Of course, that’s looking on the bright side, which is what defensive end and team captain Sam Hubbard is doing. According to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, he appeared at practice on Monday wearing an old Ohio State jersey that said “We’ll Fight To The End” and “For OHIO!”
“That’s how I operate,” he said. “Our honor defend. We’ll fight to the end to defend.” The Bengals offense has failed to take off, but the defense has also struggled. There were several missed tackles, and the front seven was unable to stop the run for the second time this season, despite being great at it in recent years.
Hubbard, on the other hand, hasn’t given up hope. He believes the Bengals defense has what it takes to turn things around, and he believes it begins with each player looking within first.
“The key is to just stay the course,” he said. “Start with yourself, start with your position group, start out on your side of the ball, and try to keep getting progressively better. I’ve got a ton of faith in these guys in this locker room. We’ve got a lot of good people so that gives me a lot of hope to go out there and get right back on track.”
Before their Week 7 bye, the Bengals will play two crucial games. They will first go to Arizona to face the Cardinals, and then return home to face the Seahawks. The Cardinals are 1-3 but have proven to be scrappy, while the Seahawks are 3-1 and look every bit the part as tough as they did last season.
To keep their postseason aspirations alive, the Bengals must win at least one of their next two games. Hubbard is ready for the challenge, and he knows the rest of the defense is as well.
“I think we definitely have the want-to, no question about it,” he said. “I think we’ve got guys in this locker room that want to be great. We want to win games. That’s the reason we come to work.”