Sunday, the Cleveland Browns are at home 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: “The Bengals were down 35-7 at one point to the Browns just a few weeks ago. Besides the “revenge factor,” is there anything the Bengals have been doing better the past couple of games to have taken the Chargers to the limit and then handled the Raiders last week?”
Patrick: “The only thing the Bengals have really done better is actually slow other teams down and finally commit to Joe Mixon as their identity offensively. Mixon has gotten over 25 touches the past two weeks. He only had 20 or more touches three other times before the past two weeks. It is no coincidence that they’ve been a better team offensively when leaning on him.
As far as defensively, it appears they’ve allowed the defensive backs to play more man to man coverage, and they actually will blitz every so often. Even just bringing on extra guy on a rush has such a huge impact. Getting off field on third downs has been a tall task for this defense all season, but they seem to be finally pulling it off.”
Chris: “The Browns got a little bit of a look at Jeff Driskel in the second half the last time these two teams met. How has Driskel’s play been the past couple of weeks? Is he giving the team a better chance to win than Andy Dalton was?”
Patrick: “First off, he hasn’t given the Bengals a better chance than Dalton. This team would benefit greatly by having a healthy Dalton. That being said Driskel has had some bright spots, but last week was a struggle for him as he often saw his passes go high or under throw targets. He had major accuracy issues. The Bengals didn’t do him any favors by trotting out Alex Erickson and Cody Core with John Ross after Tyler Boyd went down due to injury. They have a big receiver in Auden Tate who could be a big target that is hard for Driskel to miss, but they just refused to use him.
Overall, Driskel has been what most people expected. He is super athletic, but he isn’t a great passer which is magnified by not having weapons around him offensively.”
Chris: “What is the latest rumor with the Bengals’ coaching situation for 2019? Please don’t (or rather, do) tell me that Hue Jackson is in line for the job?”
Patrick: “I wouldn’t even hold my breathe that Marvin Lewis would lose his job if the team even loses their final two games. I fully believe that we have a better chance of seeing Lewis retire than actually getting fired.
In the unlikely scenario he actually gets fired it won’t be shocking to hear guys like Hue Jackson, Vance Joseph and anyone else who is available from Lewis’ coaching tree be brought in.”
Chris: “What position should the Bengals address with their first-round pick in 2019?”
Patrick: “The Bengals should really take the best player available along the defensive line, linebacker or offensive tackle. A position they won’t address is quarterback although they should really consider it as they need a backup plan for Dalton.
Linebacker has been a mess for years though. They need some athleticism at that position. The defensive line needs better depth even with Carl Lawson and Ryan Glasgow returning next season from injury. Offensive tackle and line really speaks for itself.”
Chris: “Are you expecting Cincinnati to get their revenge in Cleveland? Let’s say you had to place a $1,000 bet on who would win.”
Patrick: “My money would absolutely go on Cleveland. With Boyd being out on top of all the other offensive weapons the Bengals are lacking it should be a struggle to move the ball. I think it will be closer than the first matchup though. Division games are usually funny like that.”
Thanks again to Patrick for taking the time to answer my questions.