The Bengals' offense showed flashes of greatness in 2014. Jeremy Hill alone finished top 10 in average rushing yards, total rushing yards, and long runs (20 and 40 yards or more). Andy Dalton had another up and down year, but did manage to finish in the top half of the league in terms of points per game, and completion percentage.
Overall, the team's offense was about average last year, but 2015 is showing the potential to take things to the next level. The running game alone has been described as the third best in the NFL for this upcoming season, with the one-two punch of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.
2015 offensive offseason additions:
WR Denarius Moore
OT Cedric Ogbuehi
OT Jake Fisher
TE Tyler Kroft
TE C.J. Uzomah
WR Mario Alford
QB Terrell Pryor
C/G Chris Jasperse
WR Jake Kumerow
TE Matt Lengel
C Jake Smith
HB Terrell Watson
FB Mark Weisman
Offseason Positional Outlook: Wide Receiver
We continue our offseason positional outlook by taking a look at a position group that was a great disappointment in 2014. The health of the wide receivers and the talent the Bengals can add in the draft will go a long way to determining the success of the Bengals passing attack in 2015.
Bengals Offense Most Stocked its Been Since '88?
If you need a reminder that some -- well at least one -- of the Bengals actually already have the swagger Andrew Whitworth spoke of this week, all you need is a look at some of Jeremy Hill's 2014 highlights and a read through what Chris Wesseling has to say about the Bengals' offense this season.
On top of the additions made to the Bengals’ offense this offseason, it’s impossible to forget that Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones will be expected to return to their pre-injury from after losing out on their 2014 seasons due to injuries. In terms of talent available, there's no reason not to be excited about the Bengals’ offensive outlook for 2015.
Considering some of the additions who could make the 53-man roster this season, it would be pretty surprising if the offense didn't make some sort of an improvement,, but what exactly does that entail? Hue Jackson needs to come up with a more effective offensive game plan, Dalton must learn to utilize the talent around him more effectively, the offensive line will need to continue to improve and create positive situations for the team's weapons, and there will need to be a significant impact from the offensive rookies.
Offensive Game plan
Before last season, the buzz around Paul Brown Stadium was that Hue Jackson would bring a more rushing-oriented attack to the Bengals' offense. The addition of Jeremy Hill created a more effective rushing attack, but the total number of carries for the RB corps did not increase at all from 2013 to 2014 (390 total carries in both seasons). However, the total number of passing attempts did decrease from 2013 to 2014 by nearly 100 attempts on the season, so in a way Jackson lived up somewhat to what he aimed to do last season. However, come playoff time, the running game was once again almost completely abandoned in favor of a more fast-paced passing attack.
With the addition of Ogbuehi and Fisher in the draft, there's a good chance that the offensive line will not only be one of the deepest in the league, but also one of the most versatile. This is absolutely key for the running game, and the outcome should dictate which plays Hue Jackson wants to run. Bernard and Hill can only make as much of an impact as the offensive line allows, and if the running game doesn't get going it's unlikely the passing game will be able to do much.
Speaking of the passing game, adding Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones, Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah, Mario Alford, and Denarius Moore should shake things up nicely. One of Dalton's biggest problems in 2014 was an utter lack of receiving options to catch the ball. Granted, that had a lot to do with injuries, but 2015 is a new season with a fully refreshed team to work with.
Do or Die
With all of the contract situations projected to create roster problems at the end of 2015, this might be the last chance for the team to really get the most out of their recent run of being a playoff caliber team. If the offense continues to struggle this year, it could be the final year for Dalton, especially with the contracts of A.J. Green, Jones, Sanu, Tate, Moore, Andre Smith, Eric Winston, and a multitude of defenders expiring at the end of the season.
Not everyone will be able to stay, so the need to win now is greater than ever, and the chance to create something special out of the need for players to prove themselves worthy of a contract extension is undeniable. How will the team respond? The coaching staff will need to keep everyone on their toes as the offensive players attempt to make an impact in the NFL.