Michael Johnson, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap base an outstanding defensive front. There are going to be big numbers from these guys as they wreck pockets and hurry quarterbacks. Sure, there were some containment issues during the Redskins game where the defensive ends were crashing when they should have been maintaining the edge. All in all though they were disruptive and should have allowed the linebackers and secondary the freedom to make plays.
This is where there is the disconnect. The linebackers are not roaming and making plays and the secondary seems soft.
We are not going to pick on any particular player but it seems like the scheme or reads are not working in this defense. Opposing tight ends are allowed to freely roam about 10 – 15 yds down the middle of the field and this keeps drives alive and outlets for the quarterbacks.
With the amount of pressure up front, the secondary only needs a short time to cover down field and they are failing.
Maybe this is because of the threat of Griffin in the last game, but we have seen the same result in the first three games. The Bengals defensive backfield is struggling to cover and the safeties seem to be a step late on their help.
We knew there was going to be issue with the safety position for the Bengals this year. I also think Clements (having never played the position) will improve in time, but the Bengals have to do a better job of limiting the opponents passing game, especially on third and long. Far too many times the drive is extended because of an out or the tight end is wide open.
(forget the stupid penalties Newman gave up, for a vet those are inexcusable)
For the most part this is the same squad as last season who put up top 10 defensive stats. Lets hope what we have seen has been an anomaly and the Bengals defense tightens up. If they manage to do that, the Bengals will become a scary team. We have already seen what the offense can do and adding a defense makes this team a contender.