Also, check out my responses to Judis on their website!
1. The Bengals are currently 0-5, but, as Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale said on Wednesday, the Bengals don’t have “an 0-5 offense.” What is holding them back?
The offensive line is the easy answer. There are times you can see what this offense is meant to be. You can look at early and late against the Cardinals where the offense is humming along.
The longer answer is this coaching staff seems to be having a rough time adjusting to their personnel deficiencies. Being on your third or fourth offensive tackle and not having guys like A.J. Green or John Ross limits the offense, but there is still plenty of talent on this roster that isn’t being used. Giovanni Bernard has still just been playing a backup role to Mixon, when he could easily be highlighted as a third or fourth option in the passing game. They are also barely using Tyler Eifert, and at this point you have to wonder why they’re preserving him with the team at 0-5.
2. With John Ross landing on injured reserve and A.J. Green reported out for the Bengals, who should Ravens fans fear will go off on Sunday?
Tyler Boyd has been a constant safety blanket for Andy Dalton. He finally got his first touchdown last week against the Cardinals, but there were several instances where they were close to hooking up on similar big gains.
They do a wonderful job of creating easy passes to him in the slot, but what puts him over the edge is his incredible ability to catch in traffic.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Joe Mixon here. Hopefully the coaches see what worked early against the Arizona scheme wise and try to replicate that a little more. He should have a high volume of touches though.
3. By Geno Atkins’ standards, it appears the titan on the defensive line is starting the year a bit slow, with only one sack and three QB hits. Is this the game you see him turning it on?
Unfortunately, Geno Atkins’ ability is rarely shown in the box score. When you see highlights of quarterbacks running out of the pocket or other guys getting sacks with the quarterback running into him, those are plays created by Atkins breaking the line of scrimmage.
Last week Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson struggled to properly contain Kyler Murray, and if they repeat that this week then Lamar Jackson should have no trouble leaving getting away from Atkins.
4. Which rookies should the Ravens be on the look for?
Honestly, the Bengals aren’t getting much from their rookie class. Offensive tackle Jonah Williams is injured, and offensive guard Michael Jordan got benched for Billy Price this week.
The coaches have talked about playing linebacker Germaine Pratt more this week, which would be nice because he is a linebacker with some athleticism. But it is hard to say what kind of impact he can have since we’ve seen so little of him.
5. What are the Bengals’ most significant deficiencies?
Defensively, Nick Vigil and Preston Brown have really struggled containing perimeter runs. It has forced our secondary to have to make a ridiculous amount of open field tackles, which is never ideal.
Offensively, the team needs to be more creative with their personnel. They could also afford to design some plays that doesn’t rely on the offensive line having to protect Dalton for more than three seconds.