Priority Number One for the Bengals this offseason was to improve the offensive line and make sure QB Joe Burrow isn’t ever hit again as many times as he was in 2021. They brought in three new starters via free agency in G Alex Cappa, C Ted Karras and RT La’el Collins. On paper, it’s a big upgrade in talent. But the other part of the equation in offensive line performance besides talent is chemistry, and that only comes with time and good health.
“You look at all the pieces that have changed up front that we think are really going to help us. You look at all the different position groups. You look at not anybody that has played longer than two years together,” Bengals HC Zac Taylor said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “So, you look at some other offenses around the league and offenses that have been successful, those guys have played together for a long time. It’s to where they have gotten things really greased up and moving. That’s where we expect to be. That doesn’t excuse hits and sacks and all that kind of stuff, we are just really excited about where we think the potential can be. We can reduce those numbers in a big way. That’s going to take all the guys. The guys up front, the receivers getting open, Joe doing a great job playing on time and understanding when to take a hit and when to move on to the next down.”
Browns HC Kevin Stefanski uses his tight ends quite frequently, but there are just natural limits to how often an NFL offense can deploy three tight ends. Cleveland’s rotation has narrowed this offseason and the expectation is for both David Njoku and Harrison Bryant to be more involved in 2022.
“With us last year, as you know, with Austin Hooper, David, and Harrison, we played a lot of 13,” Stefanski said, via Chris Easterling of The Akron Beacon-Journal. “Now with Hoop gone and we will see if there is a third tight end who emerges. But certainly, you would expect some of that share to be divvied up among all of the guys.”
Njoku and Bryant also commented on what their roles will be when the season gets underway.
“I mean, I don’t really compare myself with anybody really,” Njoku said. “I like to have blinders on and just work on whatever I need to do to get better as a player. They are the greats and you know I applaud them but I’m not really thinking of if I’m better than them or whatever. I’m just focused on what I gotta do to help this team win. Whatever our coaches tell me to do, I’ll do. I’ll go 100 percent, full-speed at that. I guess I’m just excited to be a part of this great team.”
“Obviously, no one really knows what the role is going to be until the season starts,” Bryant said during minicamp. “But I mean, my goal was to come out through OTAs and minicamp and just show that I’m a trustworthy player, not only with alignment assignment but going out and making plays. I think I’ve done that so far.”
- PFF’s Brad Spielberger projects a potential contract extension for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson at four years, $188 million, $140 million guaranteed and an average annual salary of $47 million a year.
- ESPN and Pro Football Focus listed Ravens WR Rashod Bateman as one of their top second-year breakout candidates heading into the 2022 season.
- Bateman takes over as Baltimore’s No. 1 receiver following the trade of Marquise Brown, showing the team is obviously comfortable with him, and showed flashes as a rookie.
- NFL Media’s Mike Giardi mentions the Ravens didn’t draft any receivers this offseason due to the fact Jackson feels most comfortable running the offense through his tight ends and threw a league-high 31.5 percent of his passes to tight ends since 2018.
- The Ravens drafted Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely in the fourth round, with Giardi adding Likely can contribute immediately while Kolar compares to top TE Mark Andrews.