Will the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive line be a liability again or will this year's offensive line be different? The latter is what Bengals fans are hoping for when the 2023 season kicks off next weekend.
The Bengals kept 10 offensive linemen on their 53-man roster and obviously half of that group will start. The team obviously felt the need to keep as much depth as possible considering what happened to the position last year. When the injuries hit late in the year, the Bengals could only cover it up for so long before they got exposed.
Before the injuries, however. a lot of people seem to forget that the o-line was actually playing pretty well. It was the injuries to their left tackle, right guard, and right tackle that derailed the solid o-line play and led to Joe Burrow getting crushed during the AFC title game (and even then, the week before in the divisional round, the o-line held their own in a snowy Orchard Park).
How does the depth chart play out now that we know which offensive linemen are making the team?
Bengals OL depth chart
Starters: Orlando Brown Jr., Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, Jonah Williams
The changes to this offensive line from last year's unit are that Orlando Brown Jr. is playing left tackle and Jonah Williams is moving to the right tackle position. Brown gave up just four sacks during the entire 2022 season, per PFF, and now gives Burrow the best left tackle he's had during his time in the NFL.
Williams clearly wasn't happy about being replaced on the left side of the line but anyone who watched him play last year could see why he wasn't the Bengals' first choice to play left tackle in 2023. He gave up the most sacks in the league last year and clearly took a massive step back after his impressive 2021 campaign.
Volson, Karras, and Cappa will all be back at their respective positions of left guard, center, and right guard. Fans are hoping to see a big step forward from Volson this year.
Depth: Jackson Carman, Cody Ford, Trey Hill, Max Scharping, D'Ante Smith
The Bengals made sure to have at least one backup for every starter on the o-line and in some cases, they have multiple backups or swing options. This is the case for Carman and Scharping, as Carman has played tackle and guard during his time in Cincinnati and Scharping has played guard and taken reps at center this summer.
Hill's inclusion was a little confusing, especially with Scharping taking reps at center but again, the Bengals wanted to make sure they had their bases covered when it came to o-line depth so that history doesn't repeat itself.
This group could also experience a shake-up once La'el Collins comes off the PUP list. Collins could also be a trade candidate when that day comes.