Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it doesn’t get much more desperate than one and three at the start of October. The Cincinnati Bengals need to figure out how to scrape out a few wins and at least get back to 500 before the bye.
Here are some ideas of how they could do it.
Get Joe Healthy
We always talk about the quarterback as if they ran the franchise. They don’t.
I don’t care how much Mike Brown is paying Joe Burrow. He’s still the one paying him. He’s also paying Zac Taylor. Burrow wants to play because he is a competitor, but sometimes calmer heads need to prevail in order to protect a player from themself.
A much less talented Bengals team figured out how to beat the Steelers with Ryan Finely at the helm. If Burrow is limiting the offense this much, they need to sit him and figure things out with Jake Browning or AJ McCarron until QB1 is back to himself.
Run the Ball
There have been a lot of complaints about the defense and how they need to carry the offense, but that is impossible. Defenses don’t carry offenses unless that offense can run the ball. Just think of the great defenses who have led their teams to the Super Bowl. The Ravens, the Bears, the Buccaneers. They all had great run games. If you need to lean on the defense to win, you need to commit to running the ball.
Going fast with no huddle could be a way to keep the defense from continuously teeing off on Burrow. The Bengals don’t put a lot of pressure on teams with their formations and motions, but up=tempo could be helpful in limiting defensive substitutions and all-out blitzes.
People are always talking about getting more creative. With the other limits to this offense, maybe this is the time to get weird. Double reverses, toss passes, hooks and ladders, maybe even a Statue of Liberty. Throw some crazy stuff out there to get the defense on their heels. Maybe even a throwback to the old Hue Jackson lonesome polecat formations with offensive linemen spread out wide.
It’s time to pull out all the stops. Slow and steady is not winning this race.