By now, Cincinnati Bengals fans have heard just about every angle when it comes to the offensive line. To be fair, the Bengals brought this upon themselves with how poorly the o-line played in 2020 so if they’re tired of the same old storylines, they only have themselves to blame.
Heading into the 2021 season, Gil Brandt of NFL.com said that the Bengals’ need for more depth on the offensive line is one of the biggest remaining roster concerns.
There is no question the Bengals took steps to better protect Joe Burrow, who was hit more than 70 times and sacked 32 times behind Cincinnati’s line last year before going down with a torn ACL in Week 11. Whether they did enough is another story altogether. Frank Pollack, who coached the unit in 2018, was rehired. Riley Reiff was signed as a veteran free agent to play right tackle across from former first-round pick Jonah Williams, who can be pretty good — if he stays healthy. But there is a concerning lack of proven depth at either tackle spot. And I’m not sold on the interior of the line, either.
Brandt mentioned the organization bringing back Frank Pollack, which should make a noticeable difference. He also touched on the team signing Riley Reiff. He doesn’t have issues with either of those things but notes the lack of depth behind the oft-injured Jonah Williams and newcomer Reiff.
He also discusses how the Bengals didn’t take Penei Sewell with the No. 5 overall pick and in passing on him, weren’t able to grab any of the other top tackle options in the draft. He mentions that Jackson Carman was the best option left by the time they were on the board again and noted how he’ll be playing guard, which isn’t even his preferred position.
The Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line has to prove it’s better than it was a year ago.
While the offensive line is definitely still an area of concern, the Bengals did what they could to make it better and that shows they’re committed to protecting franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow. Sure, drafting Sewell would have done a lot for this unit but if he had been the choice, there’d have still been some maneuvering around along the line. Would Sewell have played left tackle and Williams kicked inside to guard? Or would Reiff be playing guard instead?
The Bengals still have some positions they need to address before training camp officially gets underway and while they did add some names to their o-line in the offseason, it’s still an area of concern moving forward.