It was nice to see the Bengals come together for a change, and do the things we all knew that they were capable of doing – on offense, as well as on defense.
But there are still some things that I would like to see from this team as it enters the final game of another lost season.
Stick a fork in him
I don’t care whether Cedric Ogbuehi is healthy or not. I have seen all I ever need to see of him. I want to see Clint Boling back at left tackle, with the two young studs rotating at left guard.
Alex Redmond is a beast. He played the second and fourth quarters against the Lions, and was the Bengals’ highest rated offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus, with an overall grade of 84.2.
Redmond played 48 snaps Sunday and did not allow a single pressure. He was also the highest-graded run blocker. Elder statesman Eric Winston also had a good day, and finished with an overall grade of 83.8. Who says our offensive line is bad? Can anyone say, coaching?
Is Josh Shaw a corner or a safety? Please, let’s figure this one out and let the man play the position he is best suited for.
It is nice, though, to be able to have someone who can step in wherever needed. That has been especially important this year with all of the injuries. He got beat early on by the double move, but seems to have recovered nicely.
Dalton needs a break
Does this team have a quarterback capable of starting a game who is not named Andy Dalton? If we do, it is a well-kept secret. Despite the fact that Dalton has been terrible this year, Marvin Lewis is determined not to give anyone else a chance to prove himself.
Blame it on the offensive line, if you want, or blame it on the lack of a running game for much of the season. But the fact is that Dalton is among the worst quarterbacks in the league. He is currently rated No. 29, and has not looked good since the first half of the Pittsburgh game. He cannot complete a deep pass to save his life.
A.J. McCarron, through no fault of his own, has been a wasted pickup for the Bengals. And the management was not even sharp enough to trade him while his value was still high. Jeff Driskel is back practicing with the team and eligible to make his return. But Lewis seems content to continue throwing Dalton out there, regardless of the results.
His son, Hardy Nickerson, Jr., joined the Bengals as an undrafted free agent this year, and came off of the bench Sunday after injuries to Vontaze Burfict and Jordan Evans.
Nickerson played so well Sunday that he was awarded a game ball by Lewis, at the urging of teammate Vinny Rey. Andre Smith also praised his reliability. Hopefully, we will get an even better look at him this week at Baltimore.
Thunder and lightning?
Is wasn’t so long ago that Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard were tagged with the nicknames of thunder and lightning because of the 1-2 punch they afforded the Bengals. Hill was the power back and Bernard the change of pace.
But Hill quietly slipped into the “what might have been” category for the Bengals, while Bernard has continued to be one of the best all-around backs in the league. Now that Joe Mixon is back in the lineup, and has the speed of Bernard to go with the size of Hill, is it possible that thunder and lightning may be back, and better than ever.
Hopefully, Mixon can stay healthy and keep himself in the lineup long enough to find out. If not, there is little doubt that Bernard is capable of carrying the load all by himself.