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5 Qs, 5 As with Cincy Jungle: Talking Bengals, offensive line, and John Ross

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Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It’s time for another season of 5 Qs, 5 As and this week I am talking to Cincy Jungle writer Patrick Judis since the Seattle Seahawks host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday to open the year.

In my preview of the Bengals, I at least alluded to the fact that I think they’ll be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year. This is not meant to be me “crap talking” about an opponent, I just have to have objective opinions about teams and that’s my opinion about this team. It doesn’t mean that I’m guaranteeing a Seahawks win, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be wrong.

It just means that I looked at their issues at quarterback, the injuries and disappointments along the offensive line, and some potential weak spots on the defense, and saw the fourth-best team in a pretty good division. Maybe I’m wrong about those things though, so I sent five Qs and a bonus to Patrick and in kind he sent me six As.

Here is 5 Qs and 5 As and a bonus:

The Bengals have had bad news on the offensive line all offseason long, losing Jonah Williams to shoulder surgery, Billy Price to just being disappointing, and Cordy Glenn potentially to a concussion. The names coming in are either unknown to many or known for bad reasons but how have the expected starting five looked during camp and preseason? Basically, what are your greatest strengths on an offensive line without Glenn at left tackle if he can’t go and what are the weaknesses that have you worried?

This most disappointing part of the offensive line being in the shape it is now is the fact the Bengals failed to bring in enough competition to create enough depth at the offensive tackle position. Jonah William’s would’ve been great to have as the left tackle, but he was the only tackle with any talent they added to the roster. Make no mistake. Bobby Hart has no buisness being viewed as a starting offensive lineman for an NFL team.

I do feel like the interior of the offensive line will be quite improved just by the fact that the team replaced Alex Redmond at right guard with John Miller (who isn’t worlds better but that just shows Redmond’s level of talent). Trey Hopkins starting at Center and rookie Michael Jordan at left guard should be solid if not better.

If the Bengals have to roll out Andre Smith at left tackle then I seriously worry about Andy Dalton’s well-being.

Outside of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, most of the names on defense may be unfamiliar to many fans outside of Cincy. Who is one player on the defense that hasn’t had a notable NFL career -- either because he’s a rookie or he’s never started before and he’s been killing it in camp -- that you expect to be much more well-known in 2020?

For whatever reason I feel like pass rusher Carl Lawson never gets his due. He had a great rookie season, and last year before he tore his ACL he was constantly forcing the quarterback off his spot. He should be in the backfield pretty frequently on Sunday.

Seahawks fans and Huskies fans often overlap for the obvious reasons: What is the status of John Ross in Zac Taylor’s new offense and what is his updated ceiling after two of the worst opening seasons by a first round receiver of all-time? Not to rag on him but I can’t imagine a lot of Bengals fans are satisfied with the return thus far outside of last season’s touchdowns.

Luckily you are talking to a Bengals fan who still believes in John Ross. His start has been disappointing, but last year it was frustrating seeing how he was used as basically a decoy with his speed. He was an important part of Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green getting open, but they never just threw a quick screen or slant to him when corners were playing 10 yards off of him. Based on how the Rams used Brandin Cooks, we expect Ross to be used a lot in the same way. The biggest thing will be if he can stay healthy.

Seattle wants to run the football and run it well. This is the first full season DC job for Lou Anarumo; what do the Bengals want to emphasize on defense and how do you expect them to do against the run given their personnel?

The common theme among defenders this year has been everything being clear/ black and white. Guys aren’t worry about reading everything on the fly to figure out where they need to be for that play.

We haven’t seen a lot with Anarumo outside of the vanilla defense he ran during the preseason. It was nice to see him to willingly blitz a linebacker or two to rush the passer. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a huge step compared to what they tried to do defensively last season.

The two positions that it feels like the Bengals have drafted 1,000 times in the first round under Marvin Lewis were offensive linemen and defensive backs. The secondary has two former first rounders, a recent second rounder, and a third rounder. There’s some capital spent there. Which player in that group do you rate as the heart of the secondary and who is the guy you expect to potentially be replaced first?

The two stars are cornerback William Jackson and safety Jessie Bates. Jackson was a Pro Football darling after his first season getting extensive playing time in 2017, but the defense last year saw him playing more zone than ever, which was a huge head scratcher for everyone. Bates was so good coming in as a rookie last season that the Bengals cut George Iloka that had been their starter at that position for years.

Safety Shawn Williams and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick are solid, but they are getting up there in age. By default they’ll probably be the next ones replaced.

Bonus: Have you heard of Michael Dickson?

I can honestly say I didn’t, but I looked him up afterwords haha.