Updated: Jun 22
The Bengals offense is ready to take some serious strides in 2020. Obviously Joe Burrow brings a new level of leadership to the Bengals, but what can the NFL expect from Zac Taylor’s offense in 2020?
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It would be insane not to start with Burrow. Not only is he an upgrade from Andy Dalton, but Burrow was insane last season. He had one of the greatest seasons in college football history. Not only did he win the national championship game as well as the Heisman Trophy, but Burrow showed off his stellar arm talent, great mobility, strong leadership skills, as well as his knack for playing well in big games. All of these attributes are things he will bring to a Bengals offense that needs an infusion of young talent.
Yet it’s not Joe Burrow vs the NFL next season. Burrow has one of the NFL’s better running backs in Joe Mixon who managed to rush for over 1000 yards last season and 5 touchdowns even with a bad offensive line.
Although the offensive line in Cincinnati is not much better than it was last year, they are getting 2019 first round pick Jonah Williams back from injury, who will be an awesome left tackle to protect the blind side of Burrow. Trey Hopkins, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Bobby Hart, and Michael Jordan help round out the rest of Cincinnati’s offensive line, but getting Jonah Williams back will certainly help the Bengals offense take that next step forward.
What really excites me though is the Bengals receiving corps. Headlined by AJ Green, the Bengals’ group of receivers are one of the keys for Joe Burrow to establish himself in the NFL. Green, when healthy, is one of the NFL’s best receivers. Not only is he an elite jump ball receiver, but Green excels as both a deep threat and red zone weapon. These attributes make Green a big play weapon from anywhere on the field. However, AJ Green’s health is a real issue. Not only did he miss all of last season due to injury, but Green has missed significant time in the past too.
Tyler Boyd is the Bengals number two receiver. Not only did he catch 90 passes last season, but Boyd is a talented playmaker. He’s efficient as a route runner and has the speed to blow by corners. Boyd excelled last season under Andy Dalton and although the Bengals will have more healthy weapons in 2020, Burrow will certainly help Boyd continue to be a dynamic playmaker.
Talking of dynamic playmakers, look no further than the Bengals 2020 2nd round pick, Tee Higgins. Higgins, like Green, is an elite jump ball receiver who excels in the red zone. Over his last two seasons at Clemson, Higgins hauled in over 2000 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns. Not only was Higgins a first round talent, but adding him to an already strong group of receivers means that Higgins will find a lot of mismatches at the NFL level. Opposing defenses can’t just double team AJ Green or Tyler Boyd and not expect Higgins to produce.
Plus, John Ross is still a viable option in Cincinnati. Ross excelled at times last season, especially in a game against the Seahawks where he made several big plays and scored multiple touchdowns. Ross is a speed demon, and although he hasn’t lived up to his first round hype, he still helps open up the field for the rest of Joe Burrow’s offense.
Finally, at tight end is CJ Uzomah. Uzomah, now 27, has been in the league for a few seasons and has shown that he is a dependable option. He isn’t going to blow by defenders and leap over opposing linebackers in the red zone, but Uzomah’s veteran presence will certainly make Burrow feel more comfortable in the passing game.
This offense, if able to stay healthy, has tremendous potential. They’ve got elite playmakers like, AJ Green, and Tyler Boyd mixed with young talent headlined by Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins. If Cincinnati’s offensive line can improve in 2020, then don’t be surprised to see Zac Taylor’s offense breakout next season.