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Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin hides his struggling defense behind the Bengals’ 5-3 record

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It is time to roast Teryl Austin as bad as his defense.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals Media Day The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Bengals defense hasn’t been very good this season. Sure, they have come up with turnovers when the game needed them most (sometimes), but there is no denying that Cincinnati has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Despite this, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin defends his unit’s performance by looking at the team’s 5-3 record.

The Bengals defense is banged up, sure, but there is still more than enough talent on that side of field to be better then they’ve been this season. Austin’s comments would be like the dumb kid in class saying, “I may have gotten an F, but we averaged a C as a whole class.” Going into a bye week, it is just extremely frustrating to hear comments like these. Especially after the last two weeks when the defense has been one of the worst in the NFL, giving up more than 500 yards in back-to-back games.

That is down right terrible. The Bengals are lucky to be 1-1 and not 0-2 after those two games. Many, including Austin, will point to the four turnovers against the Bucs as a reason to believe in the unit, but it isn’t that impressive when you realize that Winston has been downright awful since returning from his three game suspension. By the way, he is now tied for first in the NFL in interceptions (10) despite missing the first three games of the season.

You could tell (by the way) that Ryan Fitzpatrick came in and made quick work of the Bengals defense and the Bengals lucked out by having Winston play most of the contest. If you go back and look at most of the interceptions, they came off wildly inaccurate throws that most NFL quarterbacks don’t make.

You could also go back to Austin’s ill-advised decision to blitz everyone and go man-to-man when the Steelers just entered field goal range for a possible game-winning field goal back in Week 6. Of course as soon as the Bengals showed the pressure was coming, Ben Roethlisberger audibled to a pick play to get Antonio Brown a free run to the middle of the field and a game-winning touchdown.

Now some of you might say that is just nit picking, but you can look at the numbers. Through Week 8 of the season, the Bengals are 29th in scoring defense, 26th against the run and dead last against the pass and in total yards allowed per game. That is a terrible defense no matter how you slice it.

Even when you look at where they rank as far as turnovers, it doesn’t really excuse just how bad the defense has been as a whole. The Bengals have forced 14 turnovers in eight games, which has them tied for ninth in the NFL. That sounds good, but 18 teams have at least 11 turnovers this season. Also four of the 13 teams with as many turnovers as the Bengals have already had their bye week, which means they’ve had one less game to improve that number than Cincinnati.

Changes were promised this offseason when the Bengals hired Austin. He promised to utilize his players’ strengths, but even that’s been a stretch. He only just started having his cornerbacks travel with certain receivers after the Chiefs would line up whoever they wanted to get the ball in the slot due to Darqueze Dennard’s absence. The NFL knows, the Bengals have no one who can cover the intermediate middle of the field.

It’s baffling to see the linebackers in coverage. Mind you, none of them have been advertised as coverage linebackers, but at this point we have to blame the Bengals’ organization more than Austin for that as they’ve done nothing to effectively improve that aspect of the linebacker position. The linebackers either end up just standing in a zone waiting for someone to catch a pass in front of them, or all of them play with shallow depth and are unaware of the routes behind them.

There is plenty wrong with how this defense has been run this season. You can divide blame between personnel, injuries and coaching. But Austin’s comments are downright disrespectful to our intelligence as a fan base.