Monday night was a debacle of epic proportions for the Bengals, especially with how bad their offensive line played.
This was easily one of the worst efforts by the line as a whole I can remember seeing since 2008. Since then, Cincinnati's offensive line has been among the best in football. Are we finally seeing this unit fall from grace?
It certainly looked like that may be happening after the way they performed Monday in a 25-11 loss to the Buccaneers.
It was mainly starters Kevin Zeitler, Clint Boling and Russell Bodine getting abused by All-Pro tackle Gerald McCoy and not handling the stunts Tampa Bay used:
Either Zeitler didn't see it or Winston never called it. Gotta pick that up. https://t.co/2uaNPLZ5nI— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
Not sure what 65 and 61 were doing https://t.co/ALRJs1XklS— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
Bodine was especially bad in this one, and he now has a -3.9 Pro Football Grade through two preseason games, the ninth-worst grade out of 100 centers. He's constantly getting blown off the snap and pushed right into the path of where the ball carrier is going on run plays:
Center taken for a ride https://t.co/qG0Yq5AdTL— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
Here's Bodine attempting to clothesline his man after realizing he was out of position:
Lucky this isn't a flag. https://t.co/l1tdd7YRec— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
Still, not all of Monday's blames can be placed upon Bodine. Whether it was the starters in the beginning or the backups toward the end of the game no one could block, and that was evident on a fourth-quarter safety in which the entire line collapsed around Cedric Peerman:
It was also evident when backup Dan France was in at left tackle, a position he's been playing more in training camp since Jake Fisher has missed time with a shoulder injury. Against the Bucs, however, France looked like someone you never want protecting the blind side of your QB:
France just gives in on first move https://t.co/Fssv4gR9RS— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
ODonnell stays square. France opens his hips. https://t.co/jSSkF4U0WJ— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
France couldn't even line up correctly at times and was flagged for being in the backfield on this play:
Yeah. He's a little off the LOS pic.twitter.com/HPWwQpQulO— Ryan Patrick (@RoyleRedlegs) August 25, 2015
The good news is Andre Smith should be back at right tackle next week. It appeared not having him led to confusion on several blocking assignments between Eric Winston and the rest of the line. Smith isn't a game-changing player, but having him back could make this line significantly better than it was Monday night.
Still, any time a starting unit plays this bad, it raises a red flag that's going to remain until there's a reason to believe it's fixed. Hopefully, the line rebounds with a good showing against the Bears in the Bengals' next preseason game on Saturday.