For the second-straight season, the Cincinnati Bengals are struggling mightily to protect franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.
After watching Burrow get sacked nine times already — a pace that would break the single-season record for sacks taken — it’s getting harder to see him making it through a full season without suffering more injuries if he continues getting hit this rate.
So it should come as no surprise the Pro Football Focus grades for the Bengals’ starting offensive line is downright terrifying.
With all games in sans MNF, it’s time for the weekly OL review with Grade and Rank among position group:— Andrew Russell (@PFF_AndrewR) September 20, 2021
LT: Williams, 60.1 (43 of 60)
LG: Spain, 66.7 (19 of 62)
C: Hopkins, 46.1 (26 of 30)
RG: XSF, 50.0 (52 of 62)
RT: Reiff, 60.7 (41 of 60)
Outside of Quinton Spain, who’s typically been a better run-blocker compared to his pass protection, every other starter ranks in the bottom third of NFL starters at their respective positions.
Trey Hopkins being the lowest-rated lineman is sad to see after he was consistently one of the team’s best starting lineman over the last several years. However, he’s coming off an ACL tear, so he’s probably not back to his pre-injury form. Hopefully, he’ll get the rust worked out and back to his normal self soon.
Seeing left tackle Jonah Williams barely crack the 60s is disheartening after he finished 2020 with a 70.1 mark, the highest of any Bengals starting o-lineman.
Seeing Xavier Su’a-Filo this low is no surprise. He hasn’t had a single-season grade higher than 60.1 in the last five years. Second-round rookie Jackson Carman is still waiting for his turn.
Here’s to hoping Frank Pollack finds a way to get better production out of this unit soon, or else, Burrow isn’t going to make it through a 17-game season.