Five Bengals to Watch vs. The Ravens
Nov 10, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil (58) jumps over running back Giovani Bernard (25) and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) to record the sack at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
This picture is exactly what cannot happen on Sunday. The Ravens are loaded at outside linebacker with Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, and Pernell McPhee, so you better believe the Bengals tackle duo will have its hands full on Sunday. In the Ravens win last year, Dumervil had three sacks alone and if the Bengals slack at all, any of these backers are capable of disrupting plays at such a rate.
Bengals’ right tackle Andre Smith was able to practice fully yesterday, but he missed the entirety of the preseason, so it’s unclear whether he’ll be ready for this weekend. If he can’t go, reserve swing tackle Marshall Newhouse will presumably take his place. Regardless of who starts opposite of veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, this duo had better come ready to play. Andy Dalton has historically struggled against pressure, in Baltimore, and in big games, so giving him time to make plays will be vital.
Along with this, the Bengals seek to run the ball more effectively this year, enabling the offense to be more balanced; something that Dalton has benefitted from in the past. The tackles must be ready to take on these outside linebackers in the running game while also contributing towards blocking the likes of Chris Canty and Haloti Ngata.
This Sunday will be a huge test for the Bengals line as a whole. But as the Ravens’ strength may lie at the ends of its line (amazingly with Haloti Ngata in the middle), the Bengals’ tackles had better be ready to have one of their best games of the year right away in week one.