Offensive Player Ranking Week 3: Fixing the Bengals Passing Game
To fix their offensive issues, the Bengals need to start helping Burrow by moving the pocket. The easiest way to do that is to play action, but that’s something the Bengals use very little of. Burrow has used play-action on just 13.7% of his waivers this season, fifth-lowest in the NFL, according to Next Gen Stats. Last year his play rate was 18.7%, the fourth lowest in the league.
It’s ironic, considering he was ripped from the Kyle Shanahan-Sean McVay training tree, but Taylor’s offense relies on back-passing scenarios, with three-wide sets of receivers used. to extend the field. Taylor is constantly looking to push the ball vertically with a trio of talented receivers (Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd).
Burrow was one of the most effective pitchers in the NFL last season, ranking in the top two in the league in completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating on passing downs. . This year, however, Burrow is sitting in the two down in each of these categories. Chase, meanwhile, hasn’t been targeted deep once on any of the 102 routes he’s run this season, after ranking third in receiving yards on passes over 20 yards. aerials in 2021. Considering Burrow is also facing higher sack and pressure percentages in 2022 than he did last season, it looks like he may not be able to stay clean long enough for that games are growing.
The O-line performance limits the pattern in a way that leaves Burrow a sitting duck against elite defenses like Dallas and Pittsburgh. Burrow was pressured on 21.4% of his setbacks in Week 2 against the Micah Parsons-led Cowboys and 36.7% in Week 1 against the Steelers. And anyone who wants to argue that Burrow is holding the ball too long should consider that his average throwing time (2.58 seconds) is the seventh fastest in the league this season.
The Bengals have only been competitive this season because guys like Chase are elite. The sophomore wide can win one-on-one against any defender, but most of his key plays are disputed when in reality he should be plotted like Cooper Kupp. The percentage of targets on which Chase has been considered open this season (36.0) is easily the lowest of players ranked in the top 10 in receiving yards, per NGS; seven of those players were open on 40% or more of their targets.
From the numbers, it looks like there are things Taylor could do to make life easier for the attacker. Until Taylor implements more QB-friendly tactics, I fear Burrow will continue to struggle behind an offensive line that is still learning to work together and protect him.