Unsolicited Advice From the Peanut Gallery
Marvin Lewis says that he and his staff are “turn[ing] over every stone in search of an answer to the Bengals’ offensive woes.
"I think everybody involved is trying really hard to turn over every stone and find every way we can to find a way to block more consistently in the running game and be more consistent in pass protection. I will say that we are now up to speed most of the time on the perimeter (wide receivers), and that’s a good thing. We may lean harder and harder on those more experienced guys on the outside to give us more."
Not that anyone ever listens to me, but here is my unsolicited (and I’m sure, unwelcome) advice:
1. Blow up the offensive line. The current group is simply not getting the job done. And yes, I know, detonating the o-line in mid-season is a recipe for disaster, but what exactly do the Bengals have to lose? You are 0-6. You are not going to the playoffs. You are extremely unlikely to even climb back to .500. And owner Mike Brown has the slowest trigger finger in all of sports. Even at 0-16, Lewis’ seat probably stays cool and comfy.
So: flush Eric Ghiacuic and Levi Jones. Move Andrew Whitworth back to LT, sign Nate Livings to the active roster and plug him in at LG (or, alternatively, stick Anthony Collins in there), move Bobbie Williams to center and put Scott Kooistra in at RG.
Yes, there will be lots of missed assignments and miscommunication while the new unit gels (if it does). But it can’t be worse than what’s going on now. Poor Ryan Fitzpatrick is going the way of David Klingler as the line allows a defensive jailbreak every other play (and inserting the word “other” there is being generous).
Don’t like my suggested lineup? Fine. Re-arrange away. But a complete overhaul of the offensive line is in the offing whether you like it or not. Levi looks done. Ghiacuic is toast. Franchise player Stacy Andrews is an unrestricted free agent in March. Williams, whose deal is up after ’09, will turn 33 next September. Come next year, the Bengals may return just one starter, Whitworth. The sooner the rebuild begins, the better.
2. Bench Chris Perry and start Kenny Watson. Last year, when Rudi Johnson was averaging about six centimeters a carry behind a struggling o-line, you handed the ball to Watson. In 16 games (5 starts), Kenny racked up more than 1,100 all-purpose yards: 178/763/7 on the ground and 52/374/0 receiving. Yes, he had fumbling issues (3, 2 of which were lost) but hell, Perry has what, 5 fumbles in 6 games? The bottom line is that last season, Watson could find holes and get yards that our “bell-cow” couldn’t. It is past time to see if he can do it again.
3. Spread ’em out. From Marvin’s quote above, I believe we’re on the same wavelength here. More 3- and 4-wide sets. Get the ball downfield to Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry. Put Jerome Simpson in and just tell him to “go long.” As it was in the days of Blake, Pickens and Scott — a.k.a. The Flying Tigers — it’s bombs away on every play. Your offensive coordinator will love it, and shoot, you might actually score some points in the process. And any picks probably result in better field position for the defense than a Kyle Larson punt.