The Cincinnati Bengals’ agenda was crystal clear after the 2021 season: get Joe Burrow extra pass-protection. All things considered, did the Bengals do enough this offseason?
Every Bengals fan still has that moment on their mind: the glorious chance late in the Super Bowl when Burrow may have found Ja’Marr Chase for the go-ahead score had he not been sacked for the umpteenth time.
Cincinnati’s best opportunity to repeat last year’s unexpected success is right now, and the team made crucial moves this offseason to better support Joe Burrow for another championship run for the history books.
The Bengals’ wideout room hardly needed much sprucing up. Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd pose as a lethally dangerous trifecta in 2022, and though the team has since lost Auden Tate, Cincy can cautiously place its hope in young talent like Kwamie Lassiter II.
As for the offensive line…
CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo named several teams that helped their starting quarterback the most this offseason and had Cincy on the list:
"The offensive line still needed some work this offseason despite the Bengals’ run to the Super Bowl. Burrow was sacked 70 times and, had he had a little more time late in Super Bowl LVI, he likely would have gotten the ball to Chase (who had streaked past Rams CB Jalen Ramsey) for a go-ahead score. The Bengals responded by signing three veteran linemen who between them have 150 career starts."
Cincinnati Bengals get lauded for offensive line upgrades prior to 2022 season
Those three O-linemen could play a huge role in whether the Bengals make a consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl or not. As DeArdo notes, each lineman has a proven history of protecting his respective quarterback: Ted Karras helped keep Tom Brady upright back when Brady was on the Patriots, Alex Cappa recently won a Super Bowl with Brady’s Bucs in 2020, and La’el Collins blocked for Tony Romo and Dak Prescott in Dallas.
Nabbing not just one but three experienced starters in the offensive line should bode well for the Bengals’ pass-protection issues and ensure Burrow is afforded the time to make game-changing plays.
Whereas their AFC North rivals still have roster issues to address (the Ravens lack a quality starting wideout, the Steelers remain in rebuilding mode, the Browns have a new quarterback in town), the Bengals can boast one of the most complete squads in 2022.
A deadly passing offense coupled with a stalwart defense (assuming Jessie Bates stays on the team) arguably gives Burrow the best shot at winning a Super Bowl compared to his division rivals.
As for competing against the rest of the AFC, Burrow will need all the pass-protection help — and luck — he can get.