In an ongoing offseason series, experts from The 33rd Team offer three things each team can do to improve in 2023.
AFC: BAL | BUF | CLE | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LAC | LV | MIA | NE | NYJ | PIT | TEN
NFC: ATL | CAR | DAL | DET | GB | LAR | MIN | NYG | PHI | SEA | SF | TB
The Cincinnati Bengals made it back to the AFC Championship Game this season. They’ve really done a nice job and have been outstanding the last two years, going to the Super Bowl after the 2021 season and reaching the AFC Championship Game the next year.
Like all teams, they had some injuries on the offensive line, which hurt them a little bit. They’ve spent some money in free agency, which has allowed them to get some other players, and much of that focus was on the offensive line last offseason. The Bengals added tackle La’el Collins, guard Alex Cappa, and center Ted Karras, as well as tight end Hayden Hurst.
3 Ways to Improve Bengals
1. Bolster Offensive Line
Bolstering the offensive line is gonna be big for them. The more they can help in the running game will help them become a little bit more efficient. Obviously, quarterback Joe Burrow is going to be as good as there is, but any extra help upfront will only make him better. — Mike Zimmer
Joe Mixon’s yards per carry were down to 3.9 (from 4.1 in 2021), and they need to get him back over that 4-yard-per-carry plateau. His touchdowns went down from 13 to seven, so if their efficiency running the football improves, that will continue to help them improve as a football team. — Marvin Lewis
2. Manipulate Salary Cap
The thing to worry about the most is they’ve got a lot of players who are getting ready to get paid. Whether it’s Burrow, or receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, or Tee Higgins, they’ve got some guys who really do a good job. They’re gonna have to manipulate the salary cap there as well. — Mike Zimmer
3. Increase Pass-Rush Production
Defensively, they only had 30 sacks last season. They did a nice job on runs, and yards per game they were kinda average. I think they’re gonna have to increase some of the pressures on the quarterback. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo does a really good job changing up the fronts. He’ll move from a 6-1 look, to a 5-down look, and to a 4-down look. I think he does a really good job there. — Mike Zimmer
They have to be able to find another pass rusher and develop another pass rusher. Whether they have one in-house or bring one in during the offseason. — Marvin Lewis
Marvin Lewis is a former NFL Head Coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. Lewis won AP Coach of the Year in 2009 and is a Super Bowl champion as the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Follow him on Twitter at @MarvinLewis.
Mike Zimmer is a former NFL Head Coach with the Minnesota Vikings. He also served as the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys with whom he won Super Bowl XXX, he also coached the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals.