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Flying Pigskin Podcast: Bengals should have beat Titans

Is it McCarron time, what to do with Burfict, can the Bengals win in Denver, and more in this week’s episode.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Carl Lawson

Disappointment from Sunday’s loss at Tennessee spilled over to the broadcast booth as everyone is lamenting the one that got away. But Bengals fans have to remember that, in spite of everything, it could be worse. Just ask Browns’ fans!

This was just one of the may topics discussed in this week’s version of The Flying Pigskin podcast, which is hosted by Tanya O’Rourke and this week featured panellist Keenan Singleton. I was back again, bringing you my thoughts all the way from China.

You can listen to this week’s show at any time, and be sure to tune in to get all of the latest news and commentary on your Cincinnati Bengals.

Vontaze Burfict was back in the news once more, although a review of the video clearly shows that the flags against him were ticky-tack calls at best. But, as Marvin Lewis pointed out, Burfict still has yet to understand that you cannot push back. By now, Burfict should know better. But does he?

Burfict has established himself as one of the better linebackers in the league, and if you are going to continue to run him out there week in and week out, you are just going to have to live with his shenanigans.

Not even Burfict has been able to do much to elevate the Bengals’ defense lately, however. Cincinnati’s defense has been putrid on third downs, which is the single most important down in football. The Bengals allowed Jacksonville to convert 12 of 18 third downs in the loss to the Jaguars, and could not get off the field in Tennessee’s winning drive that saw the Titans score on a third-and-goal at the Cincinnati 7-yard line.

In addition, the Bengals seem to have abandoned the running game, even though it has been producing better results lately. Joe Mixon, who finished with nine carries for 37 yards, got the ball twice in the second half against Tennessee.

Bill Lazor’s offense has become just as stagnant as his predecessor’s, and only a change in coaching and philosophy is likely to produce the results Cincinnati has been seeking for years. But, if this is the final year for Lewis, who will take his place? The front-runner is probably Paul Guenther, but a younger, offensive mind like Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams may be just the ticket to returning the Bengals to prominence.

One of Cincinnati’s young players who have totally outperformed expectations is outside linebacker/defensive end Carl Lawson. Lawson, who was recently named to the 2017 Mid-Season Pro Football Focus NFL All-Rookie Team, was drafted by the Bengals in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Taken ahead of Lawson were 11 defensive ends and seven hybrid outside linebackers. Yet Lawson has risen to the top of his draft class with 5.5 sacks and is on pass to shatter Joey Bosa’s rookie record for Pass Rushing Productivity. Lawson currently stands behind only Denver’s Von Miller and Miami’s Cameron Wake in that category.

Next up for the Bengals are the Denver Broncos, who are currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Denver, coming off of a big loss to the Patriots, also stands at 3-6 on the season, but may be a better 3-6 team than Cincinnati. The Bengals really need a bounce-back game, but the unfriendly confines of Mile High Stadium may not be the place to start. Andy Dalton has career record of 2-2 record against the Broncos.

Check out the latest poll on twitter @flying_pigskin and let us what you think are the biggest problems for the Bengals. Here is a sampling of the comments that were posted this week:

It is time A.J. McCarron got his chance to shine, now that the season is all but lost. It is time to shake things up and see what McCarron has to offer. And it is also past time for the Bengals to get back to basics. Somewhere along the line, things like tackling and just the fundamentals of football seemed to have gotten lost with these Bengals.

Cast your vote in the latest poll question; what veteran would you most hate to see leave the team? Options include Andre Smith and Tyler Eifert, or you can come up with one of your own, such as Clint Boling.

You can also tweet Keenan directly @CKJMSingleton, or contact Tonya @TonyaORourke. In addition, you can now call in and leave a voicemail at 513-449-0716.

Be sure to tune in to The Flying Pigskin podcast this week and every week. The show airs live every Monday afternoon. Who Dey! Who Dey All Day!