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Bengals need to keep Bringing the Heat in 2014

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Jamie Sabau

The Bengals defense has been among the league's best in a number pf categories, particularly at rushing the passer. They were one of the best at hitting opposing QBs with 68 hits in 2013, 60 in 2012 and 67 in 2011.

Cincinnati has also totaled 139 sacks over the past three years, and they've thrived off of pressuring opposing QBs.

That was evidenced by Coley Harvey's study on how much the Bengals defense affects QBs when pressuring them.

When opposing offenses felt pressure from Bengals defenders in passing situations last season, they gained on average just 0.82 yards per dropback. In this case, a dropback consists of a passing attempt, a sack, a scramble or a spike. So whenever an opposing quarterback did any one of those things on a passing play when he was pressured, his offense averaged a gain of only 0.82 yards.

Only one defense had a better yards per dropback average. Carolina's defense allowed just 0.51 yards per dropback last season.

That's very reflective of just how good Mike Zimmer was at timing his blitzes perfectly to take advantage of whatever mismatch he could find in opposing offenses.

Harvey also provided this nugget:

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bengals applied pressure on 159 dropbacks last season. Within those, opposing quarterbacks had 108 passing attempts with only 36 completions, resulting in a 33.3 percent completion rating against the pressure. Much like the yards per dropback average, only one team had a lower completion rating. Pittsburgh's defense allowed opposing teams to complete just 30.2 percent of their passes.

If Paul Guenther can come close to bringing pressure as well as Zimmer did, he'll do just fine in his first year as an NFL defensive coordinator. With Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry and a second-year Margus Hunt, he'll certainly have the firepower needed to apply pressure consistently.