There has been a healthy dose of criticism for the coaching staff of the Cincinnati Bengals over the past few seasons regarding how underused the running game is on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously the team boasts explosive playmakers and an elite distributor at quarterback with Joe Burrow on the offensive side of the ball but any coach in the game of football knows that become one dimensional makes the defense’s life much easier.
Unfortunately under Head Coach Zac Taylor, the offense has become incredibly one dimensional as the running attack has become almost non existent. Last season, the team ran the ball 353 times while passing the ball 695 times for a staggering 33% rate of running the football. Under the new offensive leadership this season, there will have to be changes to round out the offense and make it more dynamic.
Bengals Offensive Coordinator Addresses Offensive Imbalance
Luckily for Cincinnati, there is a new offensive coordinator in town as Dan Pitcher was hired to replace Brian Callahan after he departed to become the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans. While Pitcher has been a quarterbacks coach throughout his entire NFL career, he has recently made some comments that indicate the coaching staff may finally be listening to reason.
“Being able to run the football is critical to offensive success,” Pitcher said. “And what that looks like for every team is going to be different. That’s something we’ll look at over the next couple of months as we get together as a staff. We’ll figure out how to put our players in the best position to be successful and we’ll work on improving in that area as we will in every other area.”
Over the past seven seasons, the Cincinnati running attack has relied on the talented legs of running back Joe Mixon. While Mixon was previously an elite rusher in the NFL, his durability has come at the cost of his explosivity as Mixon is one of the worst big play backs in the NFL. The problem became so severe that the team brought in running back Chase Brown in last years NFL draft to bring a little bit more speed to the running back position.
Optimistically, the combination of Pitcher’s commitment to rebalancing the offense as well as an infusion of youth at the running back position will improve the running game in Cincinnati. The offensive line improved with the rushing attack last season and an uptick in the running game will make it much easier to protect the quarterback in the passing game. While there is plenty of talent on the offense, a less predictable play calling strategy would improve the offense’s ability to generate explosive plays.
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