Cincinnati Bengals’ bounce back starts with offensive line

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CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26: The offensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26: The offensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Heading into Week 3, the Bengals are facing a tough game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. With Bill Lazor now taking over as the offensive coordinator, the Bengals can now try to bounce back. However, it all starts with better play from the offensive line.

In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Bengals decided to select Cedric Ogbuehi with the 21st pick. At that time, the Bengals already had one of the best lines in the league, So, drafting a player that high meant he was going to ride the bench for a couple of years.

One could say, I wasn’t a fan of the pick. Especially, since Landon Collins was still on the board. Yeah, I bet if Cincinnati had that pick again they’d probably go with Collins, given what he has been able to do in the NFL and how Reggie Nelson left after the 2015 season.

However, taking a promising player in the first round for the future isn’t that bad of an idea. It doesn’t become bad until the Bengals select another offensive tackle in the next round. Selecting a player who was not going to play anytime soon was so ridiculous. David Johnson was still on the board as well. But, let’s continue.

Eventually, one day, Ogbuehi and Fisher were going to the Bengals’ starting tackles. Fast forward and that day has come. After just two games, man I’m wishing we could go back in time and take Collins and Johnson. It’s pretty bad.

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A lot of the blame for that bad start to the season has been pointing the finger at Marvin Lewis, the coaching staff and Andy Dalton. Leave Dalton alone. How much can you expect from a quarterback when coaches are not calling the right plays, the offensive line hasn’t given you any time to throw and the running game hasn’t taken off because of the line? It’s difficult to be successful.

Also, the Bengals have played two really good defensive units to start off the season. So, give Dalton a break. As much as I love Colin Kaepernick and AJ McCarron, put those rumors to bed for now. As McCarron says “Ride with him.”

Here’s the Bottom Line

The offensive line is really bad. But, the Bengals can get by with it for now. Four of the next five games are winnable battles against shaky defensive units. The Packers, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts all have average defensive lines. And the Bengals can use these games to get better.

Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers will be the next real test. Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt are going to be a really good tandem. But, hopefully, by then, Cincinnati is playing better.

Honestly, Cincinnati needs to make some upgrades first. Andre Smith needs to be playing somewhere along the line. He was always a solid lineman and could give Dalton some more time in the pocket and use his run blocking prowess to open the three-headed monster of Hill, Mixon and Bernard

Smith was rated one of the top Bengals during the preseason. He needs to be on the field. However, there’s also always free agency. Nick Mangold is still on the market and could provide an instant upgrade over Russell Bodine.

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The offensive line needs to start playing well. Whether that means just providing time or adding new faces, something needs to happen. The offensive line cannot keep playing the way it has. Dalton’s job will be on the line soon and it will be a very long season if this continues.

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