Bleacher Report buys in on Bengals

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) /

The Cincinnati Bengals have put some major work into their offensive line this offseason and Bleacher Report is one that’s buying in on the makeover.

After an abysmal performance by the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line last season allowing 40 sacks and 158 pressures on quarterback Andy Dalton, it was time for some significant moves. The departures of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler in free agency, Cincinnati was left with substantial holes along the offensive line. The Bengals organization decided it was time to make some significant changes surprising the fan base with some considerable turnaround.

The first business to handle was letting go of offensive line coach Paul Alexander who had been with the team for over two decades. The lack of development in players like Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher who the team drafted in the first two rounds of the 2015 draft was a big part of the departure. Cincinnati was able to land former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack to join the organization bringing some real optimism for the offensive line unit.

Pollack has been a big part of the development of the Cowboys offensive line the last four seasons. It’s been known as one of the best units in the league for most of those years. Signing Pollack will likely bring new schemes to the offensive line that will help play to their linemen’s strengths which is something that Alexander was unable to do last season.

Cincinnati continued the makeover by trading back in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft to acquire Buffalo Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn. Left tackle was the most prominent area of need for the Bengals this offseason, and they landed a top ten tackle in Glenn. He will bring a significant improvement to Dalton’s blindside which Ogbuehi was unable to do last season.

Losing their starting center Russell Bodine to the Bills during free agency, center became the next biggest need for Cincinnati. They addressed this with their first-round pick acquired from the Bills by selecting Ohio State Billy Price. Here is a player that can play both guard and center for the Bengals bringing more versatility to the line. Even if the Bengals could have re-signed Bodine this offseason, they should have been looking to take a center right away as Bodine has struggled all four seasons in the center of the offensive line.

The team decided to stay away from the offensive line until the seventh-round of the draft following the Price selection. Surprising analysts and fans with this move, the Bengals felt that grabbing another lineman would be reaching. Cincinnati was not impressed enough to grab another lineman in this draft, and they are confident in some of the young talent they already have developing under Pollack.

I happen to agree with them. I think that Jake Fisher can still improve into a good starting right tackle with more development and they also brought in former New York Giants right tackle Bobby Hart to compete this year. Guards Christian Westerman and Alex Redmond looked good in the final weeks of the season as well and could be another good battle in training camp. I think it’s good they kept some continuity on the line as bringing in all new players would prove not only difficult and go away from other holes on the team but take more time to develop a bond.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Kruse agreed and is buying in on the Bengals offensive line unit improving this season. He added that there are still some question marks on the right side of the line, which there is, but thinks that the Bengals line will be better in 2018. There is still work to do but improving the two most important spots on the line is absolutely a good start. Trey Hopkins says that Pollack is working them harder than Alexander did already in camp.

Next: How will the Bengals rushing attack look in 2018

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has had a full offseason to put his stamp on the playbook and to work with a better offensive line will help him get full use of all his weapons. Including the talent in the running back group who was only able to average 3.6 yards per carry behind last year’s offensive line. I expect the running backs to have a great season in 2018 without consistently being met behind the line of scrimmage by defenders.