The Cincinnati Bengals clinched a playoff spot and appear in great shape to make a run at another Super Bowl appearance. There are some spots on the roster though that have fans a bit nervous as we inch closer to the postseason.
Let's discuss those positions and why they're a bit worrisome.
As you've all likely heard by now, La'el Collins is out for the year and that means it'll be Hakeem Adeniji at right tackle for the team the rest of the way (assuming he doesn't also get injured). Collins might not have been as good as he hyped himself up to be but Adeniji is a major step down at right tackle even with his experience with the team.
Adeniji has struggled in pass-blocking in his limited snaps this season, proven by his 38.6 PFF grade in that department. When the Bengals are going up against fierce pass-rushers like Chris Jones and Joey Bosa in the playoffs, Adeniji could be a major liability at right tackle. The team might end up using Isaiah Prince at right tackle though and that could be an interesting move.
Jonah Williams is also another point of concern but he has been playing better recently. At one point this season, Williams had surrendered the most sacks in the league but he no longer holds that distinction. While he's played better here recently, when Williams struggles, he really struggles so that could be something to worry about in the postseason.
This is not about Eli Apple, who gets a bad rep despite playing good football this season. No, while I like Cam Taylor-Britt and have hope that he'll turn into a solid cornerback down the road, he's been prone to getting beat badly during his limited time on the field.
Taylor-Britt is only in this situation because the team lost Chidobe Awuzie for the season and for the most part, the rookie has done okay. He's had some really rough moments though and in the playoffs, quarterbacks are going to pick on him. Will he be up to the task of slowing down who he's covering?
Okay so pass-rush isn't a position but you get the idea. Even though the Bengals have the likes of Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, and Sam Hubbard on their defense, that hasn't translated to sacks for whatever reason.
It'll be important in the playoffs for Cincinnati's pass-rush to be able to generate pressure on Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, or whoever else the defense is facing. If they can't do that, it could be a long day for the stripes defense in the postseason.
It might officially be time to start worrying about the Bengals run game and how ineffective it's been recently. In the narrow win over the Patriots, the Bengals should have been able to run the ball and start draining the clock when the team was up 22-0. That didn't happen and they only rushed for 73 yards on the day.
Running the ball is going to be important in the playoffs because it'll help the team bleed the clock and give key quarterbacks like Allen and Mahomes less time to make something crazy happen. If the Bengals can't run the ball well in the playoffs, they might be in a heap of trouble.
What positions on the team are you a bit worried about as the playoffs inch closer?