Since Marvin Lewis became the head coach of the Bengals, he's never been afraid to adjust to his personnel. Cincinnati has gone from an aerial assault behind the arm of Carson Palmer, to a 'ground and pound' style behind Cedric Benson, and then back to the air raid last year.
But one thing became painfully clear last season, and that's Andy Dalton isn't capable of being efficient throwing 40+ times per game. It's no coincidence Cincinnati is 2-12 (including playoffs) in games Dalton throws 41 or more passes, but 18-4 in games Dalton throws 31 times or less.
Lewis wants to run the ball more in 2014, and that's why the Bengals were so quick to name Hue Jackson as their new offensive coordinator. Since the day he was hired, he's made it clear he plans to put the ball in Giovani Bernard's hands more. The addition of Jeremy Hill in the second round only reinforced the new dedication to the ground game.
That's why Roto World's Mike Clay projects the Bengals to run the ball an NFL-high 65% of the time in 2014.
32. Bengals - 2014 Projection: 55% pass (2013: 59%)
Marvin Lewis is set to return for his 12th season as Cincinnati’s coach, but the team made a drastic change at offensive coordinator during the offseason. Out is aforementioned Gruden and in is Hue Jackson. Jackson has a history of leaning heavily on his running game and has made it very clear that he will do so in 2014.
As Oakland’s offensive coordinator in 2010, the Raiders called run at a rate four percentage points below expected. As Oakland’s head coach in 2011, the club was three points below expected. We expect a similar rate in Cincinnati this season.
The Bengals’ defense is also very good, which, means the team will, once again, be in position to run the ball in the fourth quarter.This has all the makings for the Bengals to finish 2014 as the league’s run-heaviest offense.