The Bengals ground game is still struggling, going into Week 3. Big Ben was able to torch a “healthy” corner. Both have to be fixed before the home opener.
The sting of another loss to the Steelers is still fresh with Bengals Nation. But, things can’t stop moving. Cincinnati has no time to hang their heads in shame. In fact, the Men in Stripes have no reason to feel the least bit embarrassed. Despite being “jobbed” in the Steel City, the Bengals defense played a sound game.
On Sunday, the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos roll into Paul Brown Stadium. There are a couple of tires that need inflating.
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Is The Ground Game Ready?
The biggest concern? The Bengals running game–or severe lack of one–has to be addressed. The offense won’t click with Andy Dalton dropping back to pass 60 times. Dalton has matured to the level of Peytonesque comebacks. But, putting it on the quarterback every game is not the key. The offense has been built on the play action fake and a strong offensive line.
The red flags went up in New York. When the Bengals ground game was anemic, that was the first warning of a sputtering engine. Before anyone starts running around like Chicken Little, remember the season is early. But, then the Steelers game happened. Hello? Earth to Ken Zampese…you can make the team pound the rock. Trying to set the tone with a solid running game will make a defense respect the pass.
Say what you must about the recent loss at Heinz Field. But, Todd Haley wasn’t afraid to run the ball. That’s the only way to work things out. The Big Uns have to start feeling a groove. Bengals offensive lines that featured the likes of Max Montoya, Anthony Munoz, Joe Walter, and Willie Anderson had two things: Talent and repetition.
Feel like you need to rip Jeremy Hill? That’s your problem. What was the major difference in DeAngelo Williams out gaining Hill 94 to 22? Haley allowed him to touch the rock 32 times. Are you amazed? You should be. That averages out to 2.9 yards per carry. Bengals fans are yapping about Williams having a great game. Last year, those same fans wouldn’t accept similar numbers from Hill.
Dennard A Bust?
What happened at cornerback? Bengals Nation was hyped about Darqueze Dennard’s return to the lineup. He was reported to be healthy and ready for the Steelers rematch. Before you could say, “I’d like butter with that toast,” Dennard was smoked by Sammie Coates.
Ben Roethlisberger tried to connect with Coates, as a deep threat. Dre Kirkpatrick shut that option down. Unfortunately, Dennard surrendered two bombs of 44 yards and 53 yards. Both completions led to momentum touchdowns.
Coming back from numerous injuries, Dennard has to work himself back into shape. After all, he missed most of camp. But, there will have to be a serious software upgrade before the World Champion Broncos gallop into PBS.