The Cincinnati Bengals went to work this offseason to make sure their roster was better this year than it was a season ago.
While they didn’t have a perfect offseason by any means, the Bengals did a nice job fixing the holes on this team and, as a result, are considered one of the most improved teams in the league, at least according to Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report.
Knox offered this analysis:
"Cincinnati made a couple of moves to help protect Burrow by signing right tackle Riley Reiff and drafting guard Jackson Carman. However, Burrow’s biggest new asset may be former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase, who Cincinnati selected fifth in the draft. The two have preexisting chemistry, and Chase can change what the Bengals do."
The offensive line received the most attention this offseason, and for good reason. Joe Burrow was pummeled play-after-play during the course of his rookie season and eventually, it led to him getting injured and missing the final six games of his rookie year.
As Knox noted, the Bengals signed Riley Reiff to shore up the right side of the line and also added Clemson tackle Jackson Carman in the second round but plan to kick him inside to guard. Both of these guys have been left tackles throughout their careers but are playing new positions in the Queen City. It’s a bold strategy but we’ll see if it pays off for the Bengals.
Knox also notes the addition of Ja’Marr Chase, who the Bengals took fifth overall. Chase gives Burrow his favorite weapon from his LSU days and the Bengals definitely made him happy with this pick even if they passed on the best tackle in the draft to make this happen.
The Cincinnati Bengals improved mightily this offseason.
While the offensive line received its fair share of criticisms last year, so did the defense, and the Bengals put in work to make sure that side of the ball was better this year.
"Cincinnati also made notable additions to its 26th-ranked defense, which should alleviate some of the pressure on Burrow. Larry Ogunjobi is a terrific run-stuffer from the defensive interior—he has logged 180 tackles in four seasons—while Trey Hendrickson is coming off a campaign with 13.5 sacks and 33 quarterback pressures."
Both of these signings were great for Cincinnati and while Larry Ogunjobi is currently on the PUP list, Trey Hendrickson should be good to go and ready to make a difference. The Bengals also spent four of their 10 draft picks on the defensive line, giving them plenty of depth for the season ahead.
Knox closed with this statement:
"While the Bengals may not be a playoff team, they have improved enough to give Burrow a shot at development."
This is a nice way of phrasing things.
The Bengals have to hope a lot of things break their way for them to make the playoffs this year but Burrow has more talent surrounding him this year. The offensive line is still a question mark but it’s better than it was a season ago and there’s no debating that the receivers are better than a year ago.
If the o-line can hold up and the defense can play just a smidge better, there’s no reason the Bengals can’t surprise some people in 2021.