The Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line went from looking dreadful to—dare I say—outstanding in one week. Joe Mixon dominated on the ground (25 carries, 151 yards, 2 TDs), and Joe Burrow had time to throw without getting hit or pressured very much.
As John Sheeran points out in the video below, the Jacksonville Jaguars feature a weak defensive line with only Josh Allen capable of generating a pass rush and getting off the block. Furthermore, he says, tight ends Drew Sample and Cethan Carter did a good job of sealing their gaps and clearing big holes for Mixon and Giovani Bernard. But the offensive line also played with more cohesiveness.
That’s where Alex Redmond comes in. Yes, he wasn’t stellar (PFF gave him a run blocking grade of 55.9 and a pass blocking grade of 47.4), earning similar grades to Fred Johnson, who played right guard the previous two weeks. And Redmond did have a bad holding penalty. But there’s something to be said about the familiarity he offers. Bobby Hart has enough issues of his own. When you add the revolving door of right guard to his problems, bad things happen, like in Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles, when the Bengals allowed 8 sacks.
Redmond playing at an even borderline-starter level is a huge boost to the unit along with the communication and chemistry he brings as a result of being on the team for four years. Both were issues heading into Week 4.
#Bengals O-line coach Jim Turner said chemistry is an issue with the line after having to replace Su'a-Filo. The "light hasn't gone on yet" for Fred Johnson, but he shows a lot of potential.— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) September 30, 2020
The Bengals’ o-line played at a level we had not seen this year. And while it was against a mediocre Jaguars team, that doesn’t explain everything. After all, that same d-line held Derrick Henry to 84 yards on 25 carries and Myles Gaskin to 66 yards on 22 carries the previous two weeks. So Mixon’s 151 yards is rather impressive.
Something big changed in Week 4, whether it was, as Sheeran notes, the tight ends stepping up in run blocking or simply putting a right guard with experience back into the lineup. Redmond is probably never going to offer even average play consistently, but until Xavier Su’a-Filo can return from injury (he shed his walking boot last week), he may be the team’s best option moving forward.
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