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The RPO of Jeff Driskel

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We take an accelerated look at Cincinnati’s newest RPO weapon.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of those postings that may only interest me — AKA, I’m thinking about something and I answer it via a Chop Block post. There’s very little insight, story structure, or analysis here; just answering random musings from the couch during a stormy Cincinnati afternoon. There might not even be a conclusion; I’ll just stop when I’m finished.


Bengals backup quarterback Jeff Driskel has played 16 snaps this season, 14 in relief during epic blowouts against the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints. During those miserable outings during which we were questioning life itself, Driskel completed six of seven passes for 84 yards. His passer rating ranks among the NFL’s elite.

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor introduced Driskel on Sunday, not necessarily as a quarterback, but more of a Taysom Hill — a backup/guy whose position is quarterback on paper, taking snaps during Run-Pass-Option.

For instance, with 3:17 remaining in the first quarter, Driskel secured a shotgun snap while starting quarterback Andy Dalton was flanked wide left.

It was a simple RPO.

Once Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan crashed inside, Driskel yanked the football from Joe Mixon and swung around the edge for an eight-yard gain.

Two plays later, Dalton arched the football, allowing John Ross to stroll under the ball for a game-tying touchdown.

Driskel added a touchdown later in the game, electing to hold onto the football while the entire Saints defense crashed inside. He was untouched during his 27-yard touchdown run (and that block from Alex Erickson).

“Yeah, I’m athletic, but I’m a quarterback,” Driskell said after Sunday’s loss to the Saints. “That’s what I am first. When I’m called on to run the football, I feel like I make explosive plays, but that’s not what I am first.”

Not only did Driskel sprint 27 yards for a score (albeit in garbage time), according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, he hit 21.03 miles per hour — the fastest speed of any quarterback this season.

Maybe the Bengals should keep figuring out ways to fit Driskel into the game plan.