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Anthony Munoz talks about importance of protecting young quarterback’s blindside

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The former Bengal knows a thing or two about protection.

Cincinnati Bengals Anthony Munoz

Former Bengal offensive tackle Anthony Munoz’s opinion carries a ton of weight among Cincinnati fans. Not only is he the franchises only Hall of Famer, but he is arguably one of the best offensive tackles in NFL history.

It comes as no surprise that he was chosen to talk to Andy Kent of The Palm Beach Post about his experience as an offensive tackle for a left-handed quarterback (because Tua Tagovailoa is a lefty). Some of that wisdom though can be applicable to the Bengals possibly bringing in Joe Burrow.

“To me, it is about blindside and non-blindside, but it’s also about the strong and the weak side,” Munoz said. “You see even though we had a left-handed quarterback, we ran right-handed formations predominantly, meaning the tight end was on the right side.

“So, I was still the open end even though I had a left-handed quarterback, and most teams do that unless you’re running two tight ends, and very few run two tight ends because everything’s so spread open. So yeah, I would say with that young left-handed quarterback, especially coming off an injury like he had (a fractured hip), it would be nice to have that left side nailed down...it’s nice to have that security blanket over on the left side.”

It’s hard to imagine Munoz having any bias in that statement. Still, he obviously knows what he is talking about, regardless of the position he played. It is obviously easier for any quarterback to be successful (no matter if he is young or old) if he doesn’t have to worry about his protection, especially his blind side.

Bengals fans witnessed this first hand as Andy Dalton had some of his best seasons when Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith were at the top of their game. It was also nice when he was able to step up freely in the pocket. It wasn’t a coincidence that when Whitworth and the rest of the offensive line slowly left, Dalton’s production went down the drain.

One nice thing that Burrow looks like he will be bringing is his ability to maneuver the pocket, create time with his legs, keep his eyes down field and throw accurately on the run. Those are all things that Dalton has struggled with over the past three seasons. However, to Munoz’s point, you don’t want a young quarterback to rely on that while he is also making the transition from college to the NFL. He will already be adjusting to the speed and complexity of NFL defenses. The last thing you want is for him to also take a beating or lose any sort of confidence.

Luckily for Cincinnati, it seems like they already have the solution to their blindside problem, because they drafted him last season. Jonah Williams was the Bengals first-round pick last season in a situation where the team likely ran their selection in with disbelief that he was even still available. His shoulder injury before the season even began gave him essentially a season to sit and learn. Hopefully that season will help him acclimate to NFL pass rushers a little quicker.

Offensive line is still a need for Cincinnati, and more than anything, the team needs to add as much depth and competition as possible. There are plenty of young names who can develop into bigger contributors, but relying on that is putting the health of their potential rookie quarterback on the line.

Hopefully Munoz’s words reached the ears of some higher ups for the Bengals, and Burrow can stay relatively clean in 2020.