When Wyche talked about improving team speed, he meant the secondary. Thomas, who endured some shaky games as a rookie starter last year, is the blazer. He claims he ran a 4.27 40 in camp this year. Dick LeBeau, the defensive coordinator, says Thomas was "pretty close" to that time, and adds that he has four cornerbacks—the others are Lewis Billups, the starter on the left side; nickelback Rickey Dixon, Cincinnati's first pick in this year's draft; and Daryl Smith, who's on injured reserve—who can go 4.35 or better. Free safety Solomon Wilcots is the ball hawk, and 6'3", 228-pound strong safety David Fulcher is the big thumper. "He's bigger than most linebackers," says LeBeau. "I doubt whether there's another strong safety like him."
The Bengals are a storehouse of talent—eight first-round draft picks and seven seconds were in uniform on Sunday—and now they have come together. What's more, Wyche hasn't given up on his no-huddle offense, which got Cincinnati two 12-men-on-the-field penalties on TD drives. The Jets complained about one of them—while 12 players were still standing out there. "They're arguing, and I'm counting," said Munoz. "I'm not a math major, but I got 12 every time. We had to smile at that."
Indeed, 1988 has been nothing but smiles for the Bengals.