Cincinnati Bengals: PFF doesn’t believe the offensive line improved much

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) pushes off on guard Michael Jordan (60) during training camp at the Paul Brown Stadium practice field in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) pushes off on guard Michael Jordan (60) during training camp at the Paul Brown Stadium practice field in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp /
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The Cincinnati Bengals knew they couldn’t ignore the offensive line this offseason, especially not after what happened to Joe Burrow. The face of the franchise can’t get hit right and left or he won’t be the face of the franchise for long.

The Bengals wisely recognized this and made sure they went to work on beefing up on the offensive line. While the unit is certainly better on paper than it was this time last year, we have no idea of knowing if it’s really any better than the group we saw take the field last season until they actually play in a game together.

Pro Football Focus isn’t buying into the narrative of the Bengals’ o-line improving, as Steve Palazzolo put them No. 25 on his offensive line rankings. He didn’t bash the Bengals by any means, but putting them as the eighth worse offensive line speaks for itself.

Not everyone thinks the Cincinnati Bengals’ o-line is better.

Palazzolo liked the moves the Bengals made this offseason but when push comes to shove, this group isn’t there yet. He summed it up nicely with this tidbit:

"Overall, Cincinnati has moved in the right direction on the offensive line, but they need better play from the interior trio."

It’s hard to argue with this. The Bengals have their tackles figured out but the interior is the issue, as Palazzolo mentions. Neither guard position has a starter squared away yet and while the hope is that Trey Hopkins is healthy enough to step up and play center this year, if he isn’t good to go, it’ll be Billy Price filling in there and no one wants to see that happen.

Palazzolo did touch on the Bengals adding D’Ante Smith and Trey Hill in the draft, who are two players who aren’t being grouped in with the starters. Smith is a potential option to play right tackle if Riley Reiff isn’t re-signed while Hill could eventually find his way into either the starting center job or a backup spot.

For the most part, the Bengals were smart with the moves they made this offseason. Yes, they passed on Penei Sewell but they grabbed three offensive linemen in the draft and one of those is hopefully going to solve their issues on the interior.

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Fans can’t really fault Palazzolo for ranking the Bengals’ offensive line so low. They have a low bar to set from last season and hopefully, this group can form some sort of positive chemistry and skyrocket on these kinds of lists.

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