Mike Brown gave Marvin Lewis a two-year contract extension. They also gave Lewis a few new faces on the coaching staff. Things need to be turned around now.
Realistically this is what needs to happen. Marvin Lewis has two years to get things done. It all starts with him. In the first year he needs to show improvement. We can’t realistically say the Bengals will win a playoff or even go to the playoffs without seeing any of the additions the Bengals made play a single snap yet.
First thing is first, they need to build up the biggest need they needed the past two years. That is their offensive line. They beefed it up with the trade made with the Buffalo Bills to get Cordy Glenn at Tackle. They grabbed Billy Price former center of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the 2018 draft. They totally eliminated some players like Russell Bodine and Andre Smith. They also have an offensive line coach, Frank Pollack ,that can evaluate every lineman the Bengals have and place them where their talent lies.
The establishment of a new reconstructed offensive line can do plenty that the Bengals couldn’t do last year. An improved offensive line will give Joe Mixon the validity of being the running back we all know he can be. He played limited playing time and went over 700 yards and that’s with a terrible offensive line. Imagine what Mixon can do with an improved line.
A new offensive line will give Andy Dalton more time. The last two years he has been sacks the second most in the NFL. His numbers have been going down since the absence of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. He needs the passing lanes opened up. Andy Dalton plays better inside the pocket because his accuracy is never quite there when he is rolling out. This will also open up play action passing when the run gets more respect.
The other part that needs to be focused on this year is the talent of the wide receivers. John Ross only appeared in three games and had one catch and fumbled it. The key is make sure John Ross puts his rookie year behind him. It is in the past. He should have been honest about his healing time. Now that he has had the time to heal that new offensive line should help all the receivers.
The Bengals have been missing the talent of two great receivers lost in the off-season after 2015. Marvin Jones is the Detroit Lions number one receiver now. Mohamed Sanu is the Falcons third receiver. They need to get the talent of the Bengals receiver core straight. There is a huge amount of talent with no identity with the exception of AJ Green of course.
With all the additions to the offense and a new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin the Bengals should improve this year. Next year with adding even more to the roster Marvin Lewis has no choice but to win that elusive playoff game.