Every Bengals fan knows that one of the most problematic units on the team is the offensive line.
Not only did the Bengals lose two high-profile free agents three seasons ago, but the line has stumbled over every possible roadblock. The offensive line has lost high-profile free agents, suffered injuries, been plagued with penalties, and some spots have been occupied by personnel that are just plain incompetent.
So in a surprising twist, when Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 offensive lines in pass blocking efficiency, the ranked the Bengals as high as 27th on the list.
Even though many Bengals fans feel their team should be ranked much lower, there are five teams in the NFL with lines that have worse pass-blocking efficiency.
But before we get into the nitty gritty, what does PFF mean by pass blocking efficiency, or PBE for short?
...how do things change when we take away the quick passing game? The throws where the offensive line barely has to worry about fending off the pass-rush because they know the ball will be out even before the pass-rusher takes his second step. So we asked, which offensive line is the best at holding up on those often pivotal passing plays, the deep drops that take more than 2.5 seconds from snap to pass?
So, this only counts plays that take longer than 2.5 seconds to develop, which is about the average window of time each quarterback is given before he is expected to get hit. It may not seem like a long time, but when you are in the pocket 2.5 seconds can be an eternity.
Typically, given the weaknesses of the offensive line and Andy Dalton’s ability to read defenses before the snap, Bill Lazor schemed passes that left Dalton’s hands as quickly as possible. In other words, they tried to avoid these kinds of plays.
But no matter how much they tried, the quarterback is bound to have to hold the ball every once in a while.
Here’s what they said about the Bengals:
Pass-blocking efficiency: 71.7
Six different Bengals linemen logged 50 or more pass-blocking snaps on long-developing passing plays last year, and all of them failed to record a pass-blocking grade above 70.0. Combined, they allowed 44 total pressures from their 90 pass-blocking snaps, and they averaged a league fifth-worst 2.5 pass-blocking snaps per hurry allowed.
Obviously, this is bad, but at least the Bengals tried to fix it this offseason. In addition to signing two outside free agent and extending every free agent on the line, they drafted two more linemen to round out the group.
Unfortunately, first round pick Jonah Williams will not be able to help fix the line issues, but hopefully a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and offensive line coach will help improve the weakest part of the offense.