The Bengals started off the year hot, going 4-1. Lately, they have been struggling. When the Bengals started the year, they were highly talked about. They now sit at 4-3, and things are not looking up. The Bengals are in trouble.
The offense was one of the better units to start off the year. Andy Dalton looked like a new quarterback, AJ Green and Tyler Boyd were making a killer combo, John Riss was semi-relevant, and the offensive line could block just enough for Mixon to get going. In just a couple of weeks, all of that has gone down the drain. Andy has been struggling, they have no run game, and Boyd is getting minimal receptions. To go along with that, they’ve had injuries to Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, Billy Price (who’s returning very soon), John Ross, and Giovani Bernard. The whole offense is starting to look like last years 32nd ranked offense. Most of the blame should go to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. It looks as defensive have caught up to his scheme. There has been very little creativity to his scheme. If it’s a run play, you will know it pre-snap. Bengals have recently failed to utilize Ross. In the early part of the season, teams were scared of Ross. His speed is a nightmare for defenses. Early in the season, defenses would put an extra safety on him. In them doing that, it made it easier for AJ Green and Tyler Boyd to get open. Defenses started to realize that the Bengals weren’t using Ross, and they just put a normal corner on him, and that’s made it easier for defenses to cover players such as Green. Ross is now hurt, again. What has really killed the Bengals, is not getting Mixon the ball. If Bill Lazor can get Mixon going, then defenses will have to respect the run, and that will open up the pass a little more.
The defense for the Bengals have been underwhelming. They have insane talent on the defensive line, and that showed early in the year. Recently, however, they would be lucky to even get any sort of pressure. You can blame defensive coordinator Teryl Austin for this. His defensive play calls look like they are straight out of Madden. He doesn’t call any blitzes. That makes it easier for the offensive lines to block and scheme around a very talented defensive line. Teryl Austin simply gets out-coached. Something that he doesn’t do, but recently said he would, is having his cornerbacks cover a certain wide receiver. The Bengals’ corners would just stick to one side, and that’s a huge flaw. PFFs man crush, William Jackson the 3rd, is clearly the most dominant corner on the Bengals. He is known for shutting down Antonio Brown. Last year, William Jackson did not allow Antonio Brown to have a single catch when he was in coverage. In their 1st meeting this year, William Jackson once again did not allow Antonio Brown to have a single catch while he was in coverage. Antonio Brown still stays dominant against the Bengals because they would figure the defensive scheme out, and just put Antonio Brown against the other corner. Bengals finally allowing their corners to shadow other Wide Receivers will improve their defense. The Bengals linebackers have been nothing but awful this year. Everyone loves to hate on Vontaze Burfict, and understandably why. Bengals have stuck with Vontaze because he would play at an elite level. This year, he has been awful. If he can’t get back to playing at an elite level, then the Bengals should move on. He’s simply not worth the headache. Bengals have some young studs, such as Sam Hubbard and Jessie Bates. The Bengals defense should be much better than what they are currently at. It’s up to Teryl Austin to fix it.
What Bengal fans should really be worried about is, this is typical Bengals. While Marvin Lewis has finally started to make halftime adjustments, he’s still the same old coach who can’t get it done. Bengals shouldn’t be worried about season going down, they should be worried that this team will have the same results if a one and done team.