Bengals Playbook: A Familiar Change Is Coming

Andrew DawsonCorrespondent IMay 29, 2009

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 11:  Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth #77 of the Cincinnati Bengals plays against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Staduim on November 11, 2007 in Baltimore, Maryland. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 21-7.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In 2005, at the peak of the Bengals success they had an unstoppable offense. They gained yards whenever they wanted and scored with ease. In 2006, even with a record not as good as 2005’s, the offense was still one of the most dangerous in the league.

Why was the offense so dominant? A few reasons, actually. 1) They had an elite QB in Carson Palmer. 2) Their offensive line protected Palmer. 3) The line gave Rudi Johnson nice holes to run through. Johnson was also in his prime, running anyone over who got in the way. 4) They liked the deep ball.

This is the main ingredient that has to come back to the playbook in order for the Bengals to be successful.  The deep ball. The home run.

In 2007 the offense looked like a shell of what it once was. An often injured Rudi Johnson allowed defenses to not have to respect the Bengals run game. An offensive line losing longtime center Rich Braham to retirement added with an older Willie Anderson didn’t help either. The Bengals struggled throwing down field and really didn’t even try as much as they did the previous two seasons.

In 2008, the Bengals didn’t even seem to have an offense. It didn’t help that Palmer missed all but four games. Having Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback didn’t exactly make opposing defenses nervous.

The year is now 2009 and the Bengals need to get back to the long ball to help the offense put up points. Now throwing the deep pass isn’t as easy as me typing the Bengals need to get back to it. In order for the Bengals to start taking chances down field they need a few things.

First and foremost they need a solid offensive line.

The Bengals have to hope Andrew Whitworth will continue to get better as he has shown and they need rookie tackle Andre Smith to be as good as advertised. The Bengals will also need running back Cedric Benson to continue to prove why he is a former number four overall pick in the draft.

If the line can protect Palmer and Benson can lead a successful running game, the Bengals will find the long ball again. It’s exactly what they need.