The Bengals have several key players on their offense where if they lose a couple of them or sometimes even just one of them, the entire offense will begin to struggle. The integrity of the unit changes, making these players cornerstones for the offense.
This list changes year to year, but some of the names stay the same. These are the players on the Bengals offense they most need to stay healthy. Let’s take a look at the top five offensive cornerstones for the Bengals in 2019.
1. Andy Dalton
The most obvious is of course the quarterback, in the Bengals’ case, it’s Dalton.
As much as some dislike him, pretty much any offense that loses their quarterback for an extended period of time will struggle. The Bengals are no different in this regard. A bigger question will be if Dalton can take a step forward under Zac Taylor. Whether he does or not, the Bengals need him to be healthy in 2019 if they have any hope of playing in the postseason.
2. A.J. Green
Dalton’s longtime running mate and wide receiver one, Green is and has been a key to the Bengals success since he was drafted. Even as he gets into his thirties he is still one of the best receivers in the game and commands a lot of attention from opposing teams.
Unlike any other player on the Bengals Green is able to completely take over a game, and how they operate as an offense completely changes when he’s not on the field.
3. Cordy Glenn
He likely wouldn’t have made this list before Jonah Williams’ injury, but now that Glenn is staying at left tackle, he becomes an even more integral than he was before. This is only amplified due to the fact that Cincinnati has even worse depth behind him than they did a season ago.
The Bengals not only need Glenn to play better than he did a season ago, they need him to stay 100% healthy. If he goes down in any capacity, it will be concerning whoever ends up playing in place of him.
4. Joe Mixon
There is a debate about whether Mixon belongs on this list for a variety of reasons. Between the devaluation of individual running backs, the veteran behind him in Giovani Bernard, and the two rookies added in the NFL Draft, Mixon is someone the Bengals have contingencies for.
What none of the players behind Mixon truly have is his amazing versatility to be able to consistently win as both a high-volume runner and high-volume receiver. His versatility allows the Bengals to more easily hide what they are doing on offense, which is ultra-valuable in today’s game.
5. John Ross
There will be some who have a problem with Ross being on this list, especially because his more productive teammate Tyler Boyd did not make an appearance. To be blunt, the Bengals have others that can do what Boyd can do to a certain extent, but if Ross goes down, they have no other players that can stretch the field in a consistent manner like he can.
Ross’ speed and downfield ability helps open up the middle of the field for the more shallow routes the type of which Boyd frequently runs. Alex Erickson and Auden Tate ain’t doing that.