clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How was Cincinnati’s offense built?

New, comments

Taking a break for the Chop Block and looking at how the Bengals offense was built, with a little background on the offensive line.

Washington Redskins v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

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.

Here’s a question for you: How was Cincinnati’s offense built? If you look at the projected starters on offense, assuming Bobby Hart and Trey Hopkins at right tackle and right guard respectively, it would appear that Cincinnati places a premium on skill positions players during the draft.

Quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, running back, are all occupied by players who were drafted in the first or second rounds, whereas projected starters on the offensive line are a collection of mid-round picks, college free agents, trade acquisitions, and free agent pickups.

How the Bengals were put together

QB Andy Dalton NFL Draft 2nd Round
RB Joe Mixon NFL Draft 2nd Round
WR A.J. Green NFL Draft 1st Round
WR Tyler Boyd NFL Draft 2nd Round
WR Joe Ross NFL Draft 1st Round
TE Tyler Eifert NFL Draft 1st Round
LT Cordy Glenn Trade Buffalo
LG Clint Boling NFL Draft 4th Round
C Billy Price NFL Draft 1st Round
RG Trey Hopkins CFA 2014
RT Bobby Hart Free Agent 2018

That’s on the surface.

It’s also misleading.

Cincinnati spent a first-round pick on Kevin Zeitler in 2012 and a two on Andrew Whitworth, way, way, way back in 2006. After five quality seasons with the Bengals (72 games played), Zeitler signed a five-year deal worth $60 million with the Cleveland Browns — a team that failed to win a single game. According to reports, Cincinnati didn’t even bother offering Zeitler a deal (and the Browns didn’t bother to win a game). Needling the Browns and their fans is a joyful pasttime of mine.

If you remember, and I know you do, Cincinnati also failed to secure a deal with offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, who was named to the First-team All-Pro squad during his first year with the Los Angeles Rams. Yes, the Bengals are simply awful at predicting outcomes and thus under-appreciating offensive linemen. Why offer Whitworth, who has shown little depreciation in 2016, anything more than a one-year deal? The Rams offered three and won the services of one of the league’s top left tackles.

Naturally, Cincinnati’s offensive line completely collapsed.

Bengals Rushing Offense in 2017 vs Franchise Worst

RUSHING YARDS 1366 49 949 in 1982 (Strike)
RUSHING YARDS/GAME 85.4 50 85.4 in 2017
RUSHING YARDS/CARRY 3.67 46 3.53 in 1982
RUSHING TDs 6 t-47 3 in 1993

Expecting age and money to generate turnover on the offensive line, Cincinnati spent their first and second round selections in 2015 on offensive tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher. Both have monumentally struggled since joining Cincinnati.

So in reality, they’ve spent first and second round selections on the offensive line, but they’ve either departed or haven’t panned out.

There is more optimism these days. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack is teaching new techniques and attitudes. Glenn played well against Chicago, Boling is solid, and Price held his own against Chicago’s first-team defense. The right side wasn’t particularly impressive Thursday (at least to me), but there’s plenty of time to find the right combination.