The state of the Bengals offensive line heading into Philadelphia


The Bengals and Eagles enter Sunday's game with an 0-2 record. Both teams have struggled to start the season.

Cincinnati has a 9-3-1 record against Philadelphia. They've won three of the last four matchups. 

Both teams have had plenty of issues this season, but the Bengals offensive line has been their biggest weakness.

The Bengals are third in the NFL in pressures allowed (52) according to Pro Football Focus. Only the Giants (56) and Texans (57) are worse. The first four teams on the list — Cincinnati, New York, Houston and Denver — are a combined 0-8. 

Zac Taylor announced Fred Johnson will get the start at right guard again on Sunday. 

The team is sticking with the same offensive line that gave Joe Burrow an average of 2.40 seconds to throw against the Cleveland defense according to PFF. 

Burrow leads the NFL with 112 dropbacks. He completed 37-of-61 passes against Cleveland, which set multiple rookie records. The number of pass attempts led to Burrow getting hit more than normal.

"You don’t like to see that," Taylor said when about the number of hits his rookie quarterback is taking. "Of course we want Joe Mixon and Gio (Bernard) to be a big part of this thing, and we’ve got to do a better job putting ourselves in position to play with the lead so that we can do what Cleveland did and run the ball and just rely on those backs and take shots when they’re there with receivers. That’s the most effective way to play football." 

The offensive line needs to open running lanes to take pressure off of Burrow. Joe Mixon is averaging 3.3 yards per carry through the first two games. For reference, Mixon averaged 3.2 yards per carry in the first eight games of 2019. He ranks dead last for running backs with 20+ attempts this season. 

The run game has been heavily drawn up in the game plan, but with inefficient results. Mixon has had the sixth-most rushing attempts in the NFL, but it hasn't translated to success on the ground.

With the recent play of the Philadelphia defense, this week could help the offensive line find a groove.

The Eagles gave up 449 yards of offense (6.7 yards per play) last week against the Rams. Los Angeles ran for 191 yards were on the ground (4.9 yards per rush).

The Eagles defense was much better in Week 1. They held the Washington Football Team to just 2.2 yards per carry and 159 yards passing.

The Eagles defense has allowed 57 points in the last six quarters. The Washington Football Team scored touchdowns on three of four red zone trips in Week 1 and the Rams scored on four of five red zone trips.

Their defensive line has underperformed after entering the season with high expectations. The pass-rush barely got to Jared Goff just pressuring him on 9-of-45 dropbacks.

The Bengals have not closed the door to changes along the line, but have slim options. They signed guard Alex Redmond to the practice squad this week and protected practice squad guard Keaton Sutherland for Week 3.

The team believes the offensive line could be much better after a full week of practice. Let’s see if it will help them get their first win of the season.

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