The reasons for the Cincinnati Bengals‘ struggles early this season have been obvious.

Cincinnati’s first two opponents — the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys — were able to generate pressure using just their defensive line. Pittsburgh and Dallas were then able to drop more defenders into coverage to prevent Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow from making big plays over the top.

If Cincinnati wants to get different looks from opposing defenses, they’ll need to play better up front. It’s that simple.

Unfortunately for the Bengals, it sounds like head coach Zac Taylor is flabbergasted by the offensive line issues. And he doesn’t really have a solution other than hoping things “settle down” soon.

Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong (92) in the first quarter of an NFL Week 2 game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Dallas Cowboys Sept 18 2208

“I think we’ve given up too many sacks, absolutely,” said Taylor after the loss to Dallas.

“It’s all frustrating,” added Taylor. “We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to win these games against good teams, so once things settle down, I know that we’re going to be a really good football team.”

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had some frustrating thoughts on the protection up front, too.

“You gotta get that protection down, too,” said Chase. “That’s the only way you can take shots. If Joe doesn’t have time, you can’t throw down the field.”

There’s obviously a lot of frustration in Cincy right now. And what’s concerning is that there’s no obvious fix.

Even the right side of the line (center, right guard, and right tackle — all new players this season) — which was good against the Steelers last week — had some rough moments against the Cowboys.

The whole right side of the offensive line tried to block the same guy while Dallas edge rusher Micah Parsons — one of the top pass rushers in the NFL — got to Burrow unblocked.

Burrow got the pass off, but he still took the hit.

That’s a communication issue, which isn’t entirely surprising since these guys were in just their second game together.

The Bengals, however, don’t have time to let things settle down and figure out communication issues. They need to fix these issues before the season goes into a tailspin. And Taylor doesn’t sound like he has a fix.

Dallas and Pittsburgh have two of the best pass-rushing units in the NFL. So maybe things will “settle down” from here like Taylor mentioned. But we’re going to have to see it to believe it.

The Bengals can’t waste this season with Burrow and Chase on their rookie contracts. Cincinnati’s Super Bowl window is wide open and they need to take advantage of it.

Featured image via USA TODAY Sports