2007 Record: 1-1
Weighted 3 year record (50-30-20): 9-7
Weighted 3 year point differential: 42.7+
Weighted 3 year offensive passing DVOA: 23.57%
Weighted 3 year offensive rushing DVOA: 2.99%
Weighted 3 year defensive passing DVOA: 7.01%
Weighted 3 year defensive rushing DVOA: -0.99% (negative being bad for an offense and good for a defense)
Football Outsiders Mean Projected Wins: 6.2
Pass Centric Downfield Passing Attack
The Bengals ran on just 43% of all plays in 2006 (PFP 2007). The eleven teams that threw more frequently in 2006 averaged less than six wins apiece. Only the Eagles posted a winning record and threw more than the Bengals. Bob Bratkowski's clearest precursor is Dennis Erickson. Brotkowski earned his coordinator stripes under Erickson for the 95-98 Seattle Seahawks and both Chad Johnson and T.J. Housmandzadeh were drafted from Erickson's turn of the century Beavers. Like those Seahawks, Brotkowski favors a downfield passing attack with some power rushing mixed in. Brotkowski's biggest innovation since joining the Bengals is implementing the no huddle. The Hawks run a lot of defensive substitutions so expect to see plenty of this strategy in an attempt to keep Seattle's D reeling.
This quote from New York Times writer Mike Freeman gives you an idea of Marvin Lewis' style: "No fancy gimmicks, no complicated schemes, just let all that talent punish people physically." At the time that was written, Lewis was overseeing the otherworldly talent of the Baltimore Ravens and punish people it did. The Bengals haven't the talent of the Ravens 2000 linebacker corps on their whole defense and Lewis has overseen a three year decline in defensive performance. The Bengals have featured much of the same talent along the defensive line since Lewis' started, a collection of middling pass rushers who fail to clog rushing lanes. Lewis prefers that his linemen funnel runs to the middle, relying on his linebackers to punish oncoming rushers. Cincinnati's linebackers have never been game to the challenge, providing too little to late--failing to force fumbles and allowing too many first downs. The most prominent wrinkle in Lewis' defense is the safety blitz. By all accounts Edwards is still a heady play caller, but the personnel has never been talented enough or healthy long enough to capitalize on Edwards' savvy.