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Daily Banter: Bengals Are Now A Top Ten Offense (And Sixth Best Passing Offense)

During Peter King's recent Monday Morning Quarterback, the NFL Insider wrote:

5. I think this thought occurred to me while watching Carson Palmer struggle in the first quarter of the season: He's owed $53 million over the next four years, but whether there's a salary cap next year or not, the Bengals could cut him and not have a dime count against a cap.

Interesting that the thought occurring to Peter King happened during Palmer's best performance since crushing the Chicago Bears on October 25, 2009 where he recorded four touchdowns in the first half alone. Refusing to bite into another week of questioning the future with Carson Palmer, I won't say anything about value, cost against overall production.

POWER RANKINGS ARISE! SB Nation ranks the Bengals 19th.

PASS, RUN, PASS, RUN. ESPN's James Walker writes:

In running the Bengals' offense, should Cincinnati be a run-first team or a pass-first team in 2010? This is a question Marvin Lewis, Bratkowski & Co. can't seem to figure out through the first four games.

The truth is, Cincinnati is slowly returning to their passing roots, having called a pass play on 60% of the 276 offensive snaps through the season's first four games. True, Cincinnati faced an uphill battle that forced them to pass the football 51 times against the Patriots. Having a deficit throughout most of the game against Cleveland forced the Bengals to unbalance their attack to be passing heavy. While it could be an indication of the team's overall philosophical change, passing a lot when you're losing isn't uncommon.

Opponent Total Plays Called Runs Called Passes
@ New England 76 25 51
Baltimore 67 31 36
@ Carolina 75 37 38
@ Cleveland 58 18 40
  276 111 165

I believe deep down that Cincinnati's effort to be a run-first team is honorable. But it's also becoming somewhat obsessive in that the philosophy isn't working like it did last year. What's wrong with just doing whatever it takes to win the game? No huddle. Pass like crazy to setup the run. If that doesn't work, you could, oh I don't know, adjust?

CINCINNATI'S OFFENSE IS SLOWLY REBUILDING, HOWEVER. After Cincinnati's explosive performance against the Browns, the offense jumped five spots, ranked as the 10th best offense and the sixth best passing offense in the NFL. With two performances of 400 yards or more, and only one performance below 300 yards, the Bengals offense is slowly making their return.

Therefore, it's time to reevaluate things. One, while Cincinnati's offense is improving, their Red Zone offense is a complete wreck. Moving the football between the 20s with ease does nothing for you when you're averaging 19.8 points/game. It's almost like we're the New Orleans Saints, who are tied with the Bengals with points scored and are ranked worse than the Bengals in total offense. Bet you didn't see that coming.

The second thing to reevaluate: Cincinnati is an average football team right now. Maybe it's time to lower expectations with a quarter of the season in the books.

MARVIN LEWIS TAKES EXCEPTION. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis took exception on Chinedum Ndukwe's hit on Ben Watson that drew a personal foul.

“I don’t think Chinedum’s was an error. You just have to keep coaching them within the rules, in which Chinedum hit him within the rules, Lewis said. “He was in the numbers, it wasn’t with his helmet and so that’s all you can do. It wasn’t even his shoulder. That’s all you can do, is just keep trying to do it the right way. Those guys try to tackle with their arms as much as they can but if they have to take the guy out low they have to take him out low, but they don’t want to risk themselves. You just have to keep going.”