The Cincinnati Bengals are a team not talked about often on a national level. Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football gave his push for Andy Dalton.
It’s not often that you hear about the Cincinnati Bengals when it comes to national media. Not being one of the “big market” teams and not winning a playoff game since 1991 can do that to a team. However, Peter Schrager had some good things to say about Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and Bill Lazor’s offense on Good Morning Football yesterday morning that should get fans a little excited.
It’s not hard to pinpoint why the Bengals don’t receive much attention. Considering that head coach Marvin Lewis has been with the team for 15 seasons and has gone 0-7 in the playoffs is a significant factor. Andy Dalton has played in four playoff games, going to the playoffs five out of his seven seasons, and lost every one. Dalton has struggled under the big lights throwing only a single touchdown in those four games while throwing six interceptions.
Of course, not all of this lands on Andy Dalton, but he does play a significant factor. The question is, will this season be different? I mean, Nick Foles just won a Super Bowl last season, so anything is possible right? Foles was also playing behind the best offensive line in the league according to Pro Football Focus last season. Outside of that, the weapons are similar for the two teams.
Cincinnati had one of the worst offensive lines last season giving up 158 pressures on Dalton. The team has spent this offseason bolstering that line to help Dalton in 2018. Firing former offensive line coach Paul Alexander and bringing in former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack was a big first step. They also traded for left tackle Cordy Glenn, signed right tackle Bobby Hart, and drafted first-round pick Billy Price to replace Russell Bodine who left for the Buffalo Bills.
There’s no doubt that this offensive line should take a big jump forward from last season with the new additions and coaching. When you look at the rest of the weapons around Dalton and Foles, they are quite similar. Both have a star tight end in Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz. Of course, Eifert has to stay healthy to help Dalton in the playoffs. Both teams have solid running backs. Last but not least, each quarterback has wide receivers that can make plays.
A.J. Green remains one of the best wide receivers in the league, and with second-year rookie receiver John Ross coming into camps fully healthy for the first time since being drafted last season, there’s a lot of hope and praise around him so far this offseason. Ross has continued to impress teammates, former players, and coaches at what he has done this offseason and in OTA’s. So with this talented offense, can Andy Dalton lead the Bengals back to the playoffs in 2018 and finally get a much-deserved win?
Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network says that Andy Dalton is being slept on this offseason as no one is talking about him. Schrager mentions in this clip that the stripping of the offensive line was one of the issues last season with Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler both leaving in free agency. My only problem with that statement was that the offensive line was horrible in 2016 with both of those players still on the team. However, the offensive line was terrible.
He then goes on to talk about the Bengals former offensive coordinator Ken Zampese being fired after week two and Bill Lazor having to step up in the regular season. That right there is something that we rarely heard talk about and is a bigger deal than most fans realize. Lazor couldn’t make any real changes to the offense midseason and was forced to use the same playbook that had the offense in a predictable and slow mode.
Finally, Schrager talks about the weapons that Dalton will have around him this season. John Ross, who never caught a single pass last season, and Tyler Eifert returning healthy is huge for this offense and Andy Dalton’s success. In a division that has been strong for many years, the Bengals are once again in the conversation as long as those question marks around the team can be fixed.
What keeps most analysts away from the Bengals is the amount of those question marks. The offensive line making a considerable leap from 2017 to 2018, players like Ross and Eifert staying healthy, and Bill Lazor’s offense all have to go well for Dalton to have success this season and get the team back to the playoffs. There’s a significant amount of unproven talent including running back Joe Mixon, most of the wide receivers group, and offensive line.
However, the reason that Nick Foles overcame his late-season struggles and looked like a new quarterback come playoff time was because head coach Doug Pederson altered the offense during the bye week to fit Foles’ strengths. If Lazor can do the same thing for Dalton as we saw in the final two weeks of the season, we could be looking at a great season for Dalton and the Bengals offense.