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Bengals offense must give defense relief in 2018

tsteffen
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 hands the ball off to running back Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 hands the ball off to running back Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Bengals had one of the worst offensive showings in the league last season. They must provide some relief for the defense in 2018.

The Cincinnati Bengals offense did no favors for the defense during the 2017 season. Firing their offensive coordinator following the week two game, Cincinnati’s offense struggled to get anything going. Behind an offensive line that was a revolving door at multiple positions, both the running and passing game severely struggled.

The Bengals ranked last in yards per game in 2017. They also ranked 30th in first downs and 32nd in time of possession. Poor offensive production was a significant role in the defensive struggles last year. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has had a full offseason to prepare a new style of offense for the Bengals in 2018, and if he can utilize his playmakers to their full potential, it should provide some relief for the defense.

Cincinnati brought in left tackle Cordy Glenn and first-round draft pick center Billy Price to help bolster the offensive line under new offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Glenn has failed to stay healthy for 16-games since signing a contract that made him premier left tackle money. Price suffered a pectoral tear at the NFL combine this offseason, but proved durable during his time at OSU and will hopefully provide a significant increase in production over former Bengals center Russell Bodine.

It all starts with developing a rushing attack in 2018 in my opinion. The Bengals ranked 29th last season in rushing attempts, and if Lazor wants this offense to reach it’s potential, he will have to improve those numbers. Running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard leads the pack with great versatility to be utilized in both the rushing and passing game. Establishing a strong run game will open up the rest of the offense for Cincinnati.

The team is also getting a healthy Tyler Eifert and John Ross to begin the season. Ross has been impressing coaches and teammates in OTA’s and looks to step into that second wide receiver role opposite A.J. Green this season. Being healthy for the first time since being drafted ninth overall last offseason, Ross can provide the offense with explosive speed and playmaking abilities downfield.

Eifert and Ross should ease the tension on Green as he saw defenses lean towards his side of the field in 2017 without any kind of playmaking help. Giving Dalton more time to throw behind an upgraded offensive line will help the Bengals make their attack verticle. Dalton has proven that when he has significant talent around him, he can play at a Pro Bowl level and going into 2018, he has that talent.

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Instead of relying so heavily on the defense, the offense will have to put up better numbers across the board. They will have to put up more points and keep the defense off the field for longer durations if they expect the defense to have any success. The 2018 season is the time for head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton to prove themselves after two straight losing seasons. Give the defense some relief, and this team should have no problem making the playoffs.

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