It’s hard not to point the finger at Cincinnati’s offensive line. After losing Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler in free agency
For this team — which has receivers like Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, plus Jay Ajayi at running back — to rank 32nd overall on offense (with 261 yards per game) is a travesty. To me, the blame can be placed on the quarterback play the team has received thus far. Jay Cutler posted a passer rating of 78.8 through six games, with seven touchdowns, five picks and 5.53 yards per attempt. This kind of ineffectiveness would be understandable if the team had no weapons, but that’s not the case in Miami.
It’s to the credit of Adam Gase — one of the best young coaches in the NFL — that the Dolphins are 4-2 despite carrying a point differential of -20. I would expect things to turn around with backup Matt Moore under center this week, after Cutler cracked his ribs in Week 6. If nothing else, this season should further clarify how much injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill brings to the table.
After ranking 13th on offense in 2016, Cincinnati has plummeted to 29th. Andy Dalton, who is posting a career-high interception rate (4.2 percent) and a passer rating of 83.7, is on pace to be sacked 50 times, while the ground attack has been limited to 81.8 yards per game and 3.3 per carry, despite the presence of Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Dalton is not the kind of quarterback who can successfully overcome protection issues and an ineffective run game.
It’s hard not to point the finger at Cincinnati’s offensive line. After losing Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler in free agency, there was an opportunity for former first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi and former second-rounder Jake Fisher to step up, but the third-year pros have failed to make their mark. When they drafted Ogbuehi and Fisher, the Bengals surely did not envision having to rotate a well-worn veteran like Andre Smith in with them. Given the collection of skills players in Cincinnati, this offense should be much better — and I think the O-line is holding the Bengals back.