A fellow user posted a fanpost a few days ago asking this question. I started this post as a reply to that post, but it started to run kinda long. So, I decided to create my own fanpost to voice my opinion on this issue. So here goes, this is how I would fix this team.
For starters, we are what we are. The personal aren't going to shift significantly, between now and the end of the season. By now we all know what are major strengths are, a tough D, that will keep us in any game, against any offense in the NFL, a talent laden offense that looks at times as if its ready to breakout to be one of the finest in the NFL, and a QB who has proven that given the right environment, he can hang with some of the best in the NFL. The weaknesses, an offensive line that has played up and down at best, in run blocking and pass protection, a QB who seems to get rattled when things don't go his way early, receivers that seem to disappear in games against physical corners, an inability to run with consistency and authority up the gut, and foolish penalties at inopportune moments. With the D averaging 18.6(6th) points against this season, and I see no reason given their level of play that it would get worse from here on out, the answer is to find a way to consistently score more points a game.
I know what you're thinking, "yeah thanks genius", but bear with me. The problem lies in the game plan and its time for the coaching staff to address the issue. Going into the season, the strategy was going to be thunder and lightening, with Green-Ellis being the thunder, and Bernard drafted from North Carolina in the 2nd round to be the change of pace lightning. Then use that to force 8 or 9 into the box, setting up play action, opening up more 1 on 1's for Green, and taking some of the heat off of Dalton and the O-line. The planned to use this old as time in the NFL formula, to build a team that was more playoff ready. The type of team that rides it defense and scores at opportune moments to win games. By controlling the line of scrimmage through a power run game. However, the inability to dictate at the line of scrimmage and give Green-Ellis space, has led to this strategy falling apart. Teams have been satisfied to play the Bengals straight up, stopping the run with their front 7. This has caused a cascading effect through the rest of the offense. So the answer is to change the game plan. Its time to spread the field.
The Bengals are loaded with WR talent, Green, Sanu, Jones, Hawkins, Eiffert. And now have a back in Bernard who is an excellent pass catcher, and that would be effective running draw and delays out of shotgun formations, as well as, the one-cut and stretch runs out of single back formations. We have a QB who ran the spread offense in college and is quite comfortable out of the gun. This would allow Dalton to make quick reads and get the ball out of his hand and would also allow the team to exploit its depth and play making ability after the catch at wideout. Using this strategy would also serve to take some of the heat off of our porous O-line, by allowing for play calls that dont necessitate that the line hold their blocks for as long a span. It just seems to me to be the best course for the Bengals right now. Personally, I would prefer a Bengals team, that could execute the original plan. Because those are the teams that seem to win in the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl. I just dont think the Bengals have the personnel to be that team this year. So the team has to play to its strengths and find a way to make plays, and in my opinion the answer is to get more play-makers on the field, and have Andy do, what Andy is comfortable doing.
So I guess my argument can be summed by a comment I read recently, from a fellow user who is kinda infamous around here. Paraphrased, it was something like, "clear the fog and give Dalton the key". So for once I agree with that infamous user. For the Bengals to have a shot this year, they must put the play-makers on the field, and give Dalton the keys.