On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus published an article ranking every offensive line in the NFL. If you want to know where the Cincinnati Bengals ranked, open the article and start scrolling down. Cincinnati’s offensive line will be toward the bottom at number 30, above only the Cardinals and the Jets.
The units were ranked according to each individual player’s ability to block for the run and the pass. Each team’s grade was based on the average grade of all lineman on the team.
The Bengals ranked 30th out of 32 teams with an average grade of 49.5. The worst team was the Cardinals, with a 44.5 rating, while the Eagles were ranked number one with 76.0. The Bengals were ranked 24th in pass blocking but dead last in run blocking. Cincinnati’s running backs average 0.42 yards before contact, which is also last in the NFL.
According to the article, all starting linemen are grading below 50.0 this season with the exception of left guard Clint Boling.
Below is a list of what PFF ranking each lineman has earned, followed by their rank respective to others who play the same position:
- Clint Boling 75.3, #18 G
- T.J. Johnson 44.3, #52 G
- Trey Hopkins 32.0
- Russell Bodine 43.3, #28 C
- Andre Smith 49.3, #45 T
- Jake Fisher 42.6, #58 T
- Cedric Ogbuehi 40.6, #60 T
After Boling, the next closest lineman in ranking is the backup tackle. And it’s not even close. If not for Boling, the line’s average ranking would drop to a staggering 42.0, which would put them two and a half points behind the Cardinals.
One of the strangest finds is that the Bengals backup tackle and backup interior lineman are ranked second and third, respectively, behind Boling. Perhaps Bill Lazor and Marvin Lewis would do well to let them have even more playing time.
In all fairness to Trey Hopkins, who has looked like one of the better linemen in training camp, he has been battling an injury for most of the year. His actual value may not be truly reflected by his PFF ranking.
It is disheartening to see the second and third-last ranked players were drafted in the first and second rounds of the 2015 draft, respectively. One would think the solution would be to draft more linemen, but that strategy has not paid off. According to PFF’s position ranks, most of the teams in the NFL have two tackles that are better than the Bengals’ best.
We already knew this, but Lazor and Lewis need to work on the woeful offensive line. The run game is suffering immensely despite having a superlatively talented backfield. One would have to wonder if a line this bad could be the difference between a team that plays in January and one that watches games on the couch in January.
For Marvin Lewis, this might mean the difference between tenure and unemployment.