My Thoughts at the Halfway Point: Offense
By Vance Meek
Receivers and Tight Ends
The receivers on the Bengals have been all over the place in terms of production. A.J. Green, of course, is doing as expected, and having a monster season. He’s already one of the top WRs in the NFL. Aside from him, the rest have been a mixed bag. Andrew Hawkins has provided excitement and been a big play threat, but his size makes him vulnerable to injury. Armon Binns and Brandon Tate were the front-runners for the #2 WR spot in the preseason, but neither one has proven to be reliable. They fail to get any separation and generally allow opponents to roll coverage to Green to take him out of games. Until the #2 receiver spot proves that it can contribute regularly, Green will face constant double and triple teams. The rookies, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, have looked solid, but have seen limited action. Their roles could increase as the year goes on. At TE, Jermaine Gresham has seen the bulk of playing time. He has been highly inconsistent, making a few nice plays, but missing several easy passes as well. He has also looked really slow when he gets the ball, making him less of a big-play threat. If Jones and Sanu can garner some time on the field, they might improve the overall quality of this unit, especially Jones, who will be a downfield threat.
The offensive line has been much improved over last season, but still has room to get better. Andrew Whitworth is the anchor of the unit, and has played pretty well after a shaky preseason. Andre Smith has developed into a very good tackle as well, though he had a bad game last Sunday. Rookie Kevin Zeitler has been fantastic, and one of the better players taken in the entire draft. He has barely allowed any pressure on Dalton, while doing a solid job of run blocking as well. Clint Boling has been an adequate replacement at left guard. The center position has been the problem for the Bengals. Injury struck early, forcing the team to start either Jeff Faine or undrafted rookie Trevor Robinson. Neither has been the answer, but will have to carry the burden for the rest of the year.
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