First and foremost, the Bengals need drastic improvement on the offensive line. As far as PFF (Pro Football Focus) grades the highest Tackle grade was Andre Smith with a 47.5.
Just about anyone being added can be an upgrade to this mess. The key to this offensive line though is the very accomplished new offensive line coach Frank Pollack. There will have to be changes somewhere but with some of the personnel that won’t change can do better with the teachings of a successful coach. The cowboys lost two linemen last year to free agency and the linemen that filled in still made the cowboys offensive line very noticeable. Frank Pollack is the first upgrade which is a big one.
Andy Dalton will have a successful season with a much better offensive line. He should be back to form before he had a thumb injury against the Steelers in 2015. Staying healthy and having time to throw instead of making his own time to throw will be key.
AJ Green had the same consistent season like always. He had his sixth season of 1000 yards or more in seven seasons and made the Pro Bowl every year. There will be a difference though. The Bengals should drop some wide receivers either do to trades or just putting them on waivers. Most of the problem was the offensive line but another problem was too many targets. Andy Dalton a lot of time forgot who his main target was and that will not happen again.
The emergence of Joe Mixon will be the biggest part of this puzzle. The Bengals have been waiting a long time for a running back to do just about everything. Even with the weak offensive line Joe Mixon convinced the critics that he is the real deal. With a better offensive line he will be unstoppable. Maybe the NFL will finally get to see someone give Le’Veon Bell a run for his money.
It all starts with the offensive line. Get the protection up and this team will make a deep run in the playoffs.