On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns are on the road to take on the Cincinnati Bengals. To help preview a few topics from the Bengals’ perspective, we reached out to Patrick Judis from Cincy Jungle and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “What is the latest word on A.J. Green? Do you attribute his absence to recent offensive struggles?”
Patrick: “It looks doubtful that Green will be able to go without practicing before Friday. It was a pretty optimistic idea that He’d be able to go against Cleveland anyway.
Not having Green is a major issue, but it looks more and more apparent that Bill Lazor isn’t the guy at offensive coordinator. The Bengal have enough talent to make up for Green’s absence, but we don’t see players like wide receiver John Ross and running back Joe Mixon used in creative enough ways. As we watch the rest of the NFL create easy ways to get their weapons in space, it is just something Cincinnati refuses to do. Some of the blame can be put on Andy Dalton as well, but I reserve a majority of the blame on the coaching staff.”
Chris: “What do Bengals fans think of Hue Jackson joining the coaching staff?”
Patrick: “He comes at a time where we just fired our defensive coordinator, and Marvin Lewis has decided to take over that role rather than promote a positional coach. He has been able to help the team in that transition as well as just be a person that Lewis trusts enough to let him help with the head coaching duties as well as defensive side of the ball.
There are some fans who were really excited to see him come back. None of us had any reason to hate him. After all, he did help coordinate one of the Bengals most successful offensive seasons in 2015. I think most of us are just terrified that he is going to be the head coach in waiting.”
Chris: “After starting the season 4-1, Cincinnati is 1-4 in their last five games. It can’t be easy to win allowing an average of 36.4 points per game during that stretch. I’m sure the Bengals have more than one problem defensively, but tell us about the biggest issues.”
Patrick: “Linebackers. Some people will take that as me saying they are extremely injured at that position (we are still waiting on Nick Vigil to return from injury and the Bengals just placed Preston Brown on injured reserve). No, even before injuries the Bengals linebacking group just can’t compete in today’s NFL. They are the worst coverage linebackers you will see on Sunday, and every team that has obliterated Cincinnati has taken advantage of that weakness. The Bengals most athletic linebacker is rookie Malik Jefferson, who has barely even seen any defensive snaps. People defend this due to his lack of experience, but at this point it literally can’t get any worse.
Also there has just been a contagious issue with tackling overall.”
Chris: “How has the Bengals’ offensive line fared this year? Will they be able to keep Myles Garrett in check?”
Patrick: “If the Browns are smart they will have Garrett face right tackle Bobby Hart all game. He and right guard Alex Redmond have pretty much been the weakest links along the offensive line, but recently it has all seemed to start to crumble apart as even left tackle Cordy Glenn and left guard Clint Boling have struggled recently as well. All of that being said this offensive line is heads and shoulders above last year’s even if they are just below average.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player who Browns fans might not know too much about, but who has played a key or niche role for Cincinnati in 2018.”
Patrick: “Rookie safety Jessie Bates III is going to be a household name if the Bengals ever put a competent unit back on the field. He has really been all over the field in coverage, and he has shown the ability to be that last line of defense between a big game and a home run touchdown. It has been really hard to notice him with how bad the defense as a whole has been, but maybe next year the Bengals will be able to turn it around, and folks will finally see him for what he is.”
Thanks again to Patrick for taking the time to answer my questions.