When the Bengals tangle with the Green Bay Packers, on Sunday, the emphasis will be on offense. Week 3 will be the proving grounds for this team.
When Week 3 is over and the dust has settled at Lambeau Field, hopefully, the Bengals will know a bit more about who they are. After a disappointing two weeks of flat and uninspired offense, it’s time for something uplifting. Two games are not a measuring rod for the quality of a team. But, in those two previous games, the Bengals’ offense lacked creativity and drive. The lean, powerful unit that fans were looking forward to hasn’t shown up yet.
The Bengals offense has been praised for having weapons that could cause severe damage to their opponents defense. Words like shred, annihilate and destroy have been tossed around like candy. I should know, I’ve used some of those terms. But, the hype has been caused by the anticipation of a winning season. More precisely, the hunger for consistency is what keeps most fans glued to this team. So far, that hasn’t happened for the offense.
The Go-To Answer
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It’s easy to blame the coaching. Putting the bulk of what has happened to this franchise on the shoulders of those in charge is a no-brainer. But, there also has to be a certain amount of ownership by the players.
When Ken Zampese was fired, there was a sigh of relief from fans. Sadly, there seemed to be some push from players to get the deed done also. Whether it was from a lack of confidence in his game plans or a feeling of predictability, something had to happen. There was a feeling of uneasiness in the Bengals locker room after each loss. In other words, the players were shocked that they were winless after two games.
Time To Find A Rhythm
Unfortunately, that tends to happen when things aren’t addressed immediately. There were signs of the offense being unstable and sketchy during the preseason. Most of the time, it’s easy–and better for mental health reasons–to blame the disarray on lack of repetition and snaps. But, there comes a time when some kind of rhythm needs to be found. That continuity never seemed to happen with the Bengals offense.
If there’s a bright spot in this whole mess, it’s the play of the defense. Though there have been some key mistakes leading to scores, the overall look and execution of the D is what was promised. Can they get better? Of course, they can. One only has to remember that the sound play has been achieved without the heart and soul of the unit. Vontaze Burfict will return and help things calm down even more.
As the Bengals move into the next phase of the new season, it’s paramount to find a new balance. Under the past two coordinators, there was a tendency to stick be predictable by the numbers. Essentially, a defense could guesstimate what was going to happen by formation and down. Sadly, when certain players entered the game, the play call was obvious. Now, it’s up to Bill Lazor to change the dynamics of that predictability.
The Bengals have to get things in gear, against the Packers on Sunday. Yes, the game will have a playoff atmosphere attached. Green Bay is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Falcons and the Bengals can’t afford to fall further in the hole.
This will be the game that marks how determined the Bengals coaching staff is. For the players, this will be a test of how much they want to win. Hopefully, the identity problem fades away and a thirst for the Lombardi takes over.