Dolphins-Bengals Offensive Lines Under Scrutiny
Miami added Connor Williams and Terron Armstead to the lowest rated offensive line last season. Head Coach Mike McDaniel also hired Matt Applebaum to coach the offensive line. Cincinnati’s offensive line ranked 20th last year, and the team still made the Super Bowl. The Dolphins-Bengals matchup showcases two offensive lines under a heavy amount of scrutiny the past few years.
The Bengals added to their line signing free agents Ted Karras, and La’el Collins, and Alex Kappa. Analysts expected those free agents to significantly improve their line. Yet before this past Sunday’s games the Dolphins line ranked 16th and the Bengals fell to 25th. Why has one teams improved while the other struggles with new players?
Why Have Changes Worked For Dolphins And Not Bengals?
Collins, Karras, and Kappa were considered solid signings for the Bengals. Armstead’s signing with Miami was the biggest, outside of Tyreek Hill. Williams ranked in the top third of guards in the entire NFL, although he plays center for the Dolphins now. One teams changes working and the others still needing time is something fans and analysts are trying to understand.
Miami changed schemes as well personnel. Both the Bengals and Dolphins now run a wide zone scheme. Miami expected speed backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert to take advantage and make big plays. So far, due to game situations, and the defenses they faced, run blocking has taken a back seat to pass protection. A quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa, who is not the most mobile, clearly benefits from the upgrade.
Joe Burrow, before the game against the New York Jets, was on pace to be sacked over 100 times. Cincinnati’s line showed improvement as the Jets only sacked Burrow twice. Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor hired offensive line coach Frank Pollack to find a way to better run the ball and protect Burrow. How much lack of the line’s starters playing in the preseason, Burrow holding on to the ball too long, or just the line needing time to gel, are to blame for the sacks is an open question.
Dolphins And Bengals Defensive Lines Will Test Both Olines
The deepest part of Miami’s defense, currently, is its defensive line. The Dolphins added Melvin Ingram to edge rushers Emmanuel Ogbah and Jaelan Phillips. Burrow may not be able to hold on to the ball as long against them and Miami’s blitzing scheme. Cincinnati’s Carlos Dunlap and Trey Hendrickson will test how much the Dolphins pass protection has improved.
Both teams need their lines show they can be strengths on their teams to meet fans high expectations. Burrow and Tua already have suffered significant injuries in their careers.
— Bengals Fans (@BengalsViews) September 27, 2022
Testing these lines early feels like a double edged sword. On one hand you never know how good your line can be until you face the best competition. On the other both teams need their staring quarterbacks to be healthy to have a chance in a very tough AFC. Thursday night’s Dolphins-Bengals matchup represents another test to see how far both offensive lines have come, and how far they still have to go.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE