One analyst says the Bengals' biggest weakness is on defense

James Rapien

The Bengals had plenty of weaknesses after the 2019 season. They had one of the worst defenses in the league, a make shift offensive line and an aging quarterback. 

Cincinnati has made drastic changes over the past few months. They completely remade their defense, drafted Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick and placed the franchise tag on A.J. Green, who missed all of last season with an ankle injury. 

Most believe [including myself] that the Bengals' biggest weakness is their offensive line. They did sign Xavier Su'a-Filo and 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams is healthy, but there are plenty of question marks up front. 

Sports Illustrated columnist Conor Orr didn't look at it that way. He believes the Bengals' biggest weakness is in the secondary:

"CORNERBACK: A lot of options here. The Bengals were one of the worst teams in football at applying pressure on the quarterback last year. That situation did not drastically improve this offseason. The Bengals ran a majority of their defense in nickel and played worse than all but three teams in the NFL when sitting in that formation. That situation did not drastically improve either. So it goes when the cupboard is so bare that you need to stock it one at a time." - Conor Orr

It's an odd take considering the Bengals spent big money on Trae Waynes and also signed Mackensie Alexander this offseason. 

William Jackson III has the traits to be an elite corner and Waynes should be an upgrade from Dre Kirkpatrick. 

Mix in Darius Phillips, Torry McTyer and LeShaun Sims and the Bengals' corners are solid — at least on paper. 

This could be a reaction to what they did as a unit last season, which left plenty to be desired. 

The Bengals allowed 7.4 yards-per-pass and 6.1 yards-per-play last season. Both were tied for the most in the NFL. 

Time will tell if Orr is right, but the secondary should be much improved this season.

Register today for free or log in to access this premium article.
Comments (5)
No. 1-3

That’s lazy journalism. They played nickel due to the lack of quality and depth at LB. They were 21rst in passing defense, with inflated numbers due to poor tackling (YAC). With the addition of the Wayne’s, Alexander and Bell, all known as excellent tacklers, the arrow is pointing up.



A lot of unknown surrounding the secondary, because of the overhaul and new faces. It can look improved on paper and see the same on the field, or it could be the opposite. As stated, time will tell if Orr is right.


What's up james' old coach from Annunciation all the things too big of deal with cool but for me as a season ticket holder I'm not sold on the car he's going to have to really show me some in the first three games like being able to score in the third quarter and not not not putting his foot on the gas when he's got the team down so for me at everything they did which is positive is good I'm not sold on the couch