“The Dalton Line” returns for it’s 8th season

Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!

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#7 – The Cincinnati Bengals (7-9, 3rd AFC North)

The Dalton Line – If your QB is better than Andy Dalton then he is a franchise QB. If your QB is worse than Andy Dalton, then he is not a franchise QB.

The Bengals remind me of outer space. We claim to have studied it and know a lot about it, but in the end we just don’t know because we won’t truly understand the laws surrounding it unless we somehow enter that environment ourselves.

The one certainty with the Bengals has been Andy Dalton. If he has a true #2 receiver across form AJ Green and a good OL, then he’ll play well. If it’s John Ross and Trump’s wall as the OL, then he’s Cleo Lemon.

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They realize the drug dealers can hand the drugs through this, right?

Center Russell Bodine and LT Andre Smith are out via free agency. I don’t even know what that leaves. Jake Fisher, TJ Johnson and Trey Hopkins? They’re horrible. At least they traded for LT Cordy Glenn. The fact they made it to 7 wins last season astounds me, and that fact alone should instill somewhat of a glimmer of hope that Bill Lazor knows how to scheme around the OL.

Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard can run inside and out and short passes to them are more of an extension of the running game. I would say they help set up the pass, but last season Andy dalton just forced everything to AJ Green, which lead to a lot of interceptions (hence why they desperately need a viable WR2). Tyler Eifert is back on a cheap, one-year deal so that it won’t completely screw the Bengals financially when he has more hospital bills, but in the off chance he stays healthy then he, along with Tyler Kroft, is an asset to the passing game.

DEFENSE:

Movie Comparison: Guardians of the Galaxy, because I wouldn’t pass on it.

Due to their amazing pass rush and great slot corner play, the Bengals defense was the 8th-best defense against the pass in the NFL.

According to PFF, 4th-round rookie edge rusher Carl Lawson had the highest pass rush productivity of any rookie in the NFL. He’s currently on a DL with Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, and newly-signed DT Chris Baker. Oh, and 3rd-round pick Jordan Willis has a good rookie season and they’re still getting production out of Michael Johnson. Dare I say best DL in the league?

Certainly not against the run. To be fair, in a 4-3 it’s more on the linebackers to defend the gaps between the defensive lineman. And as for linebackers, it’s pretty much Vontaze Burfict and his gang of ragtag misfits. Except for half of every year when Burfict is suspended, then it’s just the ragtag misfits. At least Jordan Evans could develop, but he seems like a project after 2017.

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Evans is one spot behind Nick Vigil at 85 out of 86 in PFF’s linebacker rankings. Vigil is currently expected to start at SAM, with free agent acquisition Preston Brown taking over MIKE LB duties.

Dre Kirkpatrick did not have great year at the CB1, but had some good individual games, namely against the Colts. Pacman was horrible and missed seven games, one due to suspension and six to injury. But he’s 34 and told a cop to suck his dick so the Bengals cut him. This opens the door for 3rd-year CB William Jackson III, PFF’s #8-ranked CB, to be a regular starter, and Darqueeze Jackson to work int he slot. Combine them with decent safeties in George Iloka and Shawn Williams, and this is a damn good secondary.

Last season they ran a 4-3, but new DC Teryl Austin has declined to say if they’ll switch to a 3-4 this season. It isn’t a horrible idea, assuming Carl Lawson can play 3-4 OLB with Burfict and Brown as the ILBs. They’d be leaning more on Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins to transform into two-gap DTs.

Major Draft Needs: OL LG to RT, WR

Reader Question:

Gearing up for the NHL playoffs? – Kellen from San Jose

Hell yeah man! I’m actually a big Golden Knights fan, have been for a few years. The last couple years were tough but real fans like me who stuck around through the hard times are being rewarded this year.

Prisco’s Pickanosis:

In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.

Well they were 30th against the run and didn’t have a dependable DT2 so I guess don’t fix the problem?

John Ross was a great pick there Pete. Also saving this one for the Saints post.

@JohnAnders42