The Cincinnati Bengals have turned around their season after a rough start.
Andy Dalton got off to a rocky start, but after the offensive coordinator change, Dalton had a decent game against Green Bay and good games against Cleveland and Buffalo.
Luckily for the Bengals, the AFC North has not looked good so far this season. The Steelers are 3-2 going into a tough game against the undefeated Chiefs. The Bengals have an extra week to prepare to beat the Steelers, and they need to use that time wisely to make necessary changes.
1. Bengals need to get the rookie wide receivers more involved
I do not know if John Ross will be healthy enough to play against the Steelers. However, I know it will be extremely helpful if he can. Between Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd they only have 21 catches for 151 yards.
As of now, the Bengals only reliable threat is A.J. Green, and that is not a sustainable offense. The Bengals need another threat to emerge, and the bye is the perfect time for Ross to be healthy and become that guy.
Whether Ross can play or not, the Bengals need to activate Josh Malone and get him involved. In the preseason Malone looked great with good athleticism and a more natural receiver than Cody Core.
2. Bengals need to figure out the offensive line rotation
The Bengals offensive line has been struggling so far this season as many expected it would. To try and fix that the Bengals have been having an offensive line rotation at every spot but left guard and center.
Both Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi have had good games, but overall they have been struggling. T.J. Johnson has struggled in relief of Trey Hopkins, and it may be a good idea to leave Hopkins at right guard. The Bengals may also want to look around for other offensive tackles to acquire.
There have been trade rumors about Cordy Glenn and Duane Brown being on the block, and Branden Albert is still a free agent. No matter what happens, the Bengals offensive line needs to continue to improve.
3. Bengals need to diversify play calling and run more out of shotgun
The Bengals run game has had a lot of struggles through the first five weeks. Some of the blame lies with the offensive line, but not all of the blame can be put on them. Some of it also has to be put on the offensive play calling.
When the Bengals are under center, they run it nearly eighty percent of the time, and when they are in shotgun, they pass nearly eighty percent of the time. This play calling makes the offense fairly predictable and especially impacts the ability of the run game to be effective.
On top of that, the Bengals drafted a running back who runs best out of shotgun.
4. Figure out who their three best cornerbacks are
The Bengals have a lot in their cornerback room, and they need to figure out who their best players are. With Dre Kirkpatrick and Adam Jones hurt against the Bills William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard ended up getting a lot of snaps. They both played pretty well especially William Jackson.
During the break, the Bengals need to figure out who the best corners are and use them. It may be a good idea to use a rotation. Communication is key in the secondary so it may be best for the Bengals to pick a top group and just go with it. The Bengals need to figure out what they have in Dennard and Jackson who have both played well this season.
The Bengals can completely change this season with a win against Pittsburgh in week 7. With that in mind, the Bengals have to prepare well for this game and figure out their weaknesses. Two weeks from now the Bengals could potentially have the lead in the AFC North.
Even with Eifert out for the season, the Bengals offense can still be dynamic and effective, and the first key to that will be getting the right personnel on the field.