3 things the Bengals can do to improve this offseason

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals were unable to seal the deal in Super Bowl LVI.

They were five minutes away from clinching the franchise’s first Super Bowl and were able to neutralize the Los Angeles Rams for most of the game.

Things looked bleak for the home team after the Bengals halted their running game and lost Odell Beckham Jr. to injury.

Unfortunately, the Rams found ways to win, thanks to the valiant efforts of their best players on both sides of the ball.

As for the Bengals, there is a lot of optimism about their upcoming Super Bowl return.

They’ve built a solid roster that can rival the best in the AFC and NFL.

But while they may be contenders for a while, they need to work through some issues to become regular playoff contenders.

3. More variety in secondary

The Bengals can mix up their passing coverage to constantly confuse opposing quarterbacks.

They played Cover 2 shell most of the time, making their positions vulnerable.

That’s why Cooper Kupp could take advantage of openings even though he’s the Rams’ only regular receiver.

Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo can add more variation to his lineup to disguise his intent in the secondary.

On a related note, Eli Apple must consider eating the humble pie after being burned by Kupp twice, including the game-winning touchdown for the Rams.

He better back it up when he’s talking smack, or he’ll get more ridicule from other NFL players if he ends up getting beat up in the covers.

2. Develop a short passing game

Cincinnati has one of the best wide receiver trios in Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase.

They were instrumental throughout the Bengals playoffs, especially Higgins, who made huge plays because Chase draws multiple defensemen.

However, the three of them are more comfortable going deep instead of running the routes underneath.

There’s no doubt that Burrow has the arm strength to get the ball to them down the field.

But their passing game would be more effective if the Bengals had that sneaky receiver who makes quick tilts and completes short passing games.

If this approach works, their big-win receivers could expect favorable one-on-one matchups.

Joe Mixon will have more space to find these ground yards.

1. Reorganize the offensive line

Aaron Donald and the Rams defense came alive in the second half of Super Bowl LVI with six sacks.

They finally broke through the Bengals offensive line and shut down Cincinnati’s fourth quarter production.

It would be okay if their offensive linemen had a bad game.

Unfortunately, Burrow ended up on the grass because the linemen couldn’t protect him.

He soaked up 51 sacks during the regular season, most in the NFL.

The Tennessee Titans also fired him nine times over divisional weekend, but the Bengals were lucky to escape with a win.

Improving the line is a no-brainer for the Bengals, especially now that they have a franchise quarterback.

Luckily, the draft and their ample ceiling space should help them help Burrow finish games.

Protecting one of the best young quarterbacks in the league may entice veterans to take a pay cut and play with a talented player.

Sports Grp2

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