Anytime the Cincinnati Bengals lose, fingers will point at the offensive line, but the team's front five didn't perform as poorly as many would have expected in Week 1.
The Bengals were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a crazy OT thriller on Sunday in a game where Joe Burrow threw four interceptions and got sacked seven times.
Usually, the Bengals' O-line would shoulder most of the blame, but the offensive linemen's pass blocking grades were decent per one estimate at least.
Jonah Williams, Ted Karras, and Alex Cappa finished with the best pass-blocking grades in Week 1 while La'el Collins finished with the worst but that's not too crazy to think about when considering that he went up against T.J. Watt.
Collins will no doubt improve throughout the season, and the unit as a whole should gel with more playing experience together in the coming weeks.
Don't overreact to the Bengals' offensive line performances yet
The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr. puts it this way:
"In a position based on synchronized movements and instinctual trust, a concern exists as to how realistic it is to expect them to instantly find chemistry."- Paul Dehner Jr.
Left guard Cordell Volson, who handily beat out Jackson Carman for the starting job this offseason, struggled in his first career start, but that much was to be expected. For most of the game, Volson was matched up against Steelers' Cam Heyward, who has gone to five Pro Bowls and earned three All-Pro nods.
Ultimately, there's no need to overreact to the Bengals' middling offensive line in Week 1. There should be no doubt that the front five represents an upgrade from last year, and much of Burrow's poor quarterback play was due to no fault but his own.
Cincy will need to see a major improvement in consistency and production from its franchise quarterback -- the rest will fall into place.
Expect the Bengals' renovated offensive line to become more reliable week after week. For this unit in particular, patience is key.