Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals amazed the football world by winning the AFC North. Much of their success was due to an aggressive and complex style of defense that made it difficult for rival offenses to play perfectly. On the reverse side of the ball, the Bengals finished with the top ranked hastening offense in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. Surprisingly, the Bengals’ biggest weakness in 2009 was something that had recently been their only strength for several years – the passing game. eaglesCincinnati Bengals game
The Bengals’ aerial attack struggled on all fronts a season ago. Chad Ochocinco was their only receiver who could win one-on-one matchups consistently. Yet , he could be taken away by a top-ranked corner or the use of any second defender. This often still left no other options for Carson Palmer. To make things worse, defenses constantly attacked a Bengals a particular problem line that was great at run blocking but flat out bad in pass protection. With little time to throw, and no-one to throw to, Palmer had to power a lot of moves, have a lot of carriers, and in the end his game suffered.
How did the Bengals approach their 2010 offseason? They addressed their two biggest weaknesses (receiving depth and pass protection) by getting more pass-catching threats. They acquired free agent Antonio Bryant, an under-the-radar receiver who can win one-on-one matchups constantly with his athleticism if healthy. They drafted Jermaine Gresham, a very good pass catching tight end and an enormous target in the middle of the field – the sort of player the Bengals haven’t experienced at the tight end position in several years. Additionally, they drafted a slot receiver in Test Shipley who have the capacity to give NFL protection major headaches on lateral pass routes. Finally, the Bengals signed Terrell Owens, another dangerous and volatile play-making receiver. So what can we know about the Bengals now? All of us know that they have five receivers who all bring different things to the table. They now have five receivers who can each win one on one matchups. Most importantly, now they have multiple options in the passing game.
Consequently, the Bengals did not need to make any major improvements to their O-line this offseason. That they did so indirectly. Believe about it, with five receivers who can succeed one-on-one matchups consistently, defense will be less willing to blitz as much. They’ll be less keen to bring as many defenders and leave their corners and safeties by itself in one-on-one coverage. This kind of will require a tremendous amount of pressure from the Bengals’ offensive line. And make no mistake about Carson Palmer – if he is finally given the perfect time to throw, he will put the ball in the right place. Palmer is as good at reading coverage and tossing with anticipation as any quarterback in the little league. He’ll take good thing about his revamped obtaining corps. If perhaps blitzed, he’ll find the correct one on one matchup to exploit – and there should more often than not be one with all of the new options he has now.
The Bengals’ success is not really a foregone conclusion. Several questions linger. How soon can the new players familiarise themselves with a brand new offensive system? Just how quickly will they get on the same web page as Carson Palmer in conditions of rhythm and timing? Can they avoid injuries? And will Capital t. O. land on his best behavior? We’ll know the dimensions of the answer to all of these questions in about six months. But as of right now, the Bengals look like a team capable of playing deep into January – and potentially early Feb ..