If you had to make a game plan to stop the Bengals offense as the defensive coordinator, what would you do? There would be several steps that would need to be taken, but here's what would need to be done.
Shut down A.J. Green:
I know. Easier said than done, right? The fact is, though, in order to stop the Bengals, wide receiver A.J. Green needs to be stopped. Unfortunately he can't be stopped one-on-one, so you would need to keep at least two defensive backs on him at all times.
Pressure Andy Dalton:
This is a no-brainer because any team's defense always needs to pressure the opposing quarterback, but it's especially true for Dalton. Dalton struggled under pressure at times and while he has a good offensive line in front of him, he struggled at times to find an open receiver and was brought down in the backfield because of it.
Place speed rusher on the edge:
Both Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith have done a good job at protecting Dalton, but they have also both struggled when facing a speedy rusher coming off the edge. Having a speed rusher that can get past the Bengals' tackles would forced Dalton to step up into the pocket, which is something he struggles at sometimes.
Provide different looks:
Dalton isn't an idiot, but making sure the defense doesn't look the same each time he comes out of the huddle is important. Even the best quarterbacks can get confused by different looks a defense can give and Dalton is no exception.
Keep Bengals out of the red zone:
The Bengals have several targets, but guys like Green, Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham are red zone matchup nightmares. The best way to keep them out of the end zone would be to stop them from getting anywhere close to it. Obviously, much easier said than done.
Hope the opposing offense gets an early lead:
With the addition of Giovani Bernard, the Bengals may be able to get their ground game up and running. The best way to make sure it doesn't hurt the opposing defense would be to hope the offense can get an early lead and force the ball into Dalton's hands.
What else would you do to stop the Bengals offense?