The Bengals offense struggled mightily in 2017 and the team has taken steps to try to improve for the 2018 season. However, they are relying on a lot of players who have had issues staying healthy in the past. If all of the factors work out in the Bengals’ favor in 2018 then the Bengals could have their best offense in the Dalton era. However, if it goes poorly, the Bengals could be looking at another season long struggle on offense.
1. Get John Ross the ball!
The Bengals offense lacked explosiveness in 2017 and it hurt every aspect of the offense. Lacking a true number two threat allowed offenses to focus too much on A.J. Green. If Ross is able to emerge he will not only add big play threat on his own, he will help make it easier for Green. It will also help open up thee middle of the field and lighten the boxes helping the run game.
2. Ensure the left tackle spot is reliable.
One of the reasons the Bengals offense fell off such a cliff in 2017 was the loss of elite left tackle Andrew Whitworth. With Cedric Ogbuehi failing to turn into a solid starter, Andy Dalton was constantly under pressure. The Bengals addressed the problem by trading for Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn. When healthy, Glenn is a very good left tackle. The only problem is that he has not been able to stay healthy for the Bills for the last two years.
3. Improve the run game.
The Bengals have been trying to fix the run game for the past couple years. With two major additions on the offensive line, the team is hoping that Joe Mixon will look more like the player that he was in college. Along with Giovanni Bernard, the Bengals should have one of the most dynamic running back duos in the NFL. Both of them are able to assist in both the passing game and the run game and now it’s just a matter of putting it all together with the help of the offensive line.
4. Get Tyler Eifert back up to speed and involved in the redzone.
One of the missing pieces of the Bengals offense for the past two years has been tight end Tyler Eifert. He’s been unable to stay healthy and this has really shown in the redzone where the Bengals have struggled to convert opportunities into touchdowns. Eifert is elite at boxing out defenders and that skill makes him nearly unstoppable in the endzone. Eifert could be the difference between the Bengals making and missing the playoffs.
5. Connect on more deep passes.
This goes with the earlier point about getting Ross involved more in the offense. However, some of the blame has to also be placed on quarterback Andy Dalton who throughout last season had sporadic accuracy on deep passes. He also failed to see several opportunities that he should’ve hit. With healthy weapons, an improved offensive line, and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor having a full offseason to implement his offense, there will be no excuses for Dalton not to meet expectations and perform at a high level in 2018.