Thursday Night, honestly, could not have gone worse. For fans, for players, for the team, it’s like everybody is just now waking up from a nightmare or maybe recovering from a three-day-long hangover.
The season has to go on, obviously, but what happens next? Can Jake Browning keep this offense respectable? What happens with the NFL investigation into the team? Is a playoff spot possible?
Zac Taylor mentioned yesterday during a press conference that Jake Browning will mostly take over the QB1 role. Let’s go back to something I mentioned a few months ago.
I said Browning is a solid QB, he can get the job done with some practice and effort. He succeeded in college and was PAC-12 Player of the Year and First-Team All-PAC-12 in 2016 at Washington.
On the flip side, there is someone who might be a better option, somebody who is familiar with the team and who has a little more experience. AJ McCarron.
McCarron was Dalton’s backup back in the day for a few years, helped win us a few games, and then took his turn on a few other teams. He most recently found himself to be wildly successful in the XFL before resigning with the Bengals.
If the Bengals want any chance at all to win games from now until the postseason, there’s a lot on their “to-do list.”
Upgrade AJ McCarron to 53-Man
Like I just said, I think McCarron is the obvious choice. I don’t think either option should be a guaranteed decision. The Bengals should give McCarron the opportunity to win over the QB1 job if Browning can’t keep the offense afloat.
Run the Ball
Thursday Night’s game was the biggest and best glimpse of the run game that we’ve seen from Mixon all year. He had a handful of solid bursts, still not necessarily a breakout game that some fans have been waiting for, but it was a good night for him. But are we stuck with Mixon? We have Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans behind Joe on the depth chart. Williams has jumped in on a few plays, and they have all been solid runs. The offensive scheme is going to change, so why not pull a card from another team’s deck and run with multiple backs? They can all be used in different ways. Take advantage of that since the primary source of offense is gone.
Once Burrow got hurt Thursday Night, it seemed it was one player after another getting hurt. Cam Taylor-Britt got up, limping off, along with a few others. There are a few that aren’t too serious, but some are in that area.
For now, let’s just add them to the list of bumps and bruises:
- Sam Hubbard
- Trey Hendrickson
- Ja’Marr Chase
- Tee Higgins
- Cam Taylor-Britt
- Andrei Iosivas
- Joe Burrow (Out for Season)
Having a game on a Thursday allows for a few extra days of getting some key players healthy, which could be a huge factor, especially now.
I don’t know what happened from last year to this year, but something is different, and not in a good way. Cincy had a top-10 defense last year, and now they’re almost dead last in everything except turnovers.
Everybody loves Coach Lou to death, and they have every reason to because he’s a genius, but c’mon! There is no way some quarterbacks (like Lamar on Thursday) should have 10+ seconds to throw, and there are still receivers open. Blitz more. End of story.
If you don’t blitz, then there should not be so many guys open this much. The turnovers have been phenomenal, but there is no reason they should be allowing 21-30+ yards.
With Joe out for the remainder of the season, that hurts…a lot. Are the Bengals completely done, the season is over, no chance for us. Not necessarily. Will it be more difficult? No doubt about it. But has ‘more difficult’ ever deterred us from going after something, not a chance? If they can get guys healthy and create a new game plan, the Bengals are still a solid team, but they need to start winning games and hope other AFC teams start losing.