The Cincinnati Bengals couldn’t seal the deal in Super Bowl LVI.
They were five minutes away from clinching the franchise’s first Super Bowl and successfully neutralized the Los Angeles Rams for most of the game.
Things looked bleak for the home team after the Bengals shut down their run game and they lost Odell Beckham Jr. to injury.
Unfortunately, the Rams found ways to win, thanks to valiant efforts from their top players on both sides of the ball.
Love this team. 🧡
Love this city. 🧡
Love Who Dey Nation. 🧡 pic.twitter.com/7kCQsIfeFq
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) February 14, 2022
As for the Bengals, there’s much optimism that they will return to a Super Bowl soon.
They’ve built a solid roster that can compete with the best in the AFC and the NFL.
But while they can be contenders for a while, they must address certain matters to become consistent playoff participants.
3. More Variety In The Secondary
The Bengals can mix up their pass coverages to constantly confuse opposing quarterbacks.
They’ve been playing Cover 2 shell most of the time, making their positions vulnerable.
That’s why Cooper Kupp could take advantage of the openings even if he’s the only consistent receiver the Rams have.
Cincinatti Bengals Secondary Coach Robert Livingston discusses the improvement of the @Bengals secondary this post season for more Super Bowl Coverage by me check out @_tvsports pic.twitter.com/TMyqjWzH6m
— Blake (@Blake_Beasley2) February 9, 2022
Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo can add more variations to their formation to disguise their intention in the secondary.
On a related note, Eli Apple must consider eating the humble pie after getting burned by Kupp twice, including the game-winning touchdown for the Rams.
He better back it up when he talks smack, or he will receive more ridicule from other NFL players if he ends up getting beat in coverages.
2. Develop A Short Passing Game
They were instrumental throughout the Bengals’ playoff run, especially Higgins, who made huge plays because Chase attracts multiple defenders.
However, the three of them are more comfortable going deep instead of executing the underneath routes.
The Fellas pic.twitter.com/Z3Pl5DPslg
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) February 12, 2022
There’s no question that Burrow has the arm strength to get them the ball downfield.
But their passing game would be more effective if the Bengals had that shifty receiver that performs quick slants and completes short pass plays.
If that approach works, their big-gain receivers could expect favorable one-on-one matchups.
Joe Mixon will have more space to find those yards on the ground.
1. Revamp 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 acceptable if their offensive linemen had one bad game.
Unfortunately, Burrow found himself on the turf because the linemen couldn’t protect him.
He absorbed 51 sacks during the regular season, most in the NFL.
hope the @Bengals offensive line watches the opening scene from saving private ryan so they know what they are up against
— Dick Butkus (@thedickbutkus) February 13, 2022
The Tennessee Titans also sacked him nine times during the 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 extensive cap space should help them help Burrow complete plays.
Protecting one of the league’s best young quarterbacks may entice veterans to take a pay cut and play with a talented play-caller.