"PLAYOFFS?! Don’t talk about—playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs!?!" Jim Mora's iconic rant now perfectly encapsulates the Cincinnati Bengals' start to the season. From making the Super Bowl last year, the team now cannot even focus on playoffs, they just need to try and win a game. But after two lackluster efforts, what can they do to get back on track?
The biggest issue is what is going on with the offensive. The offensive line has been bad. Joe Burrow has looked out of sync. The big passing plays have completely dissapeared. The running game is abysmal. And that is just the start of the issues that unit is facing. Not everything will be fixed from one week to the next, however, some of these items need to get addressed if the Bengals want to be competitive.
Bengals offense is team's biggest problem
The biggest item on this list that needs to be addressed is getting the offense flowing, which Ben Solak of The Ringer discussed in his latest article. Last season, Cincinnati relied on big plays to gain huge chunk yards that bailed them out of multiple issues with the offensive line. This year, I see two things that need to change for the Bengals to really get better. The first is with the offensive line. They need to gel and get better working together. They now have a unit that has plenty of individual talent, but they are struggling to work cohesively together. This will take time, but now two weeks into the season, time is something that the team is running out of.
The easier fix, even though it will hit pride, is that the Bengals need to become alright with nickel and diming teams down the field. the big play is fun, great, and exciting, however when it does not happen the team needs to learn to adapt. Cincinnati has become so reliant on the big play that it seems they have forgotten how to play football without that. Taking what the defense gives them is the number one thing that will help this offense.
If Joe Burrow is able to get the ball out quicker and start getting first downs, the team will be able to get in a rythym. Shorter throws can help the Cincinnati offensive line to work on geling without needing to hold their blocks as long. Showing they can move the ball through the air can give Joe Mixon more space to run and allow the playcalling to disguise their plays better.
Overall, there is a solution for the Bengals. Joe Burrow may not like it. I can imagine he does not want to become a game manager, he was drafted to be the difference maker. But if he can change his style to encorporate the short throws more often, the big plays will come. And so will the wins.