CINCINNATI, Ohio — If you watch Bengal's film, one thing is certain: Cincinnati needs to protect Joe Burrow better if it wants to thrive in its long NFL season.
During a 23-20 loss to the Steelers, Barro was sacked seven times, forced another 11 and thrown for four interceptions, all seven from the Pittsburgh forecourt.
Here's a great look at how the Steelers prepared singles for Cameron Hayward and Alex Highsmith. Those two combined for four extra sacks and seven extra quarterback hits.
That particular game featured Steelers quarterback Devin Bush at the line of scrimmage, giving Bengals tackle Ted Karas an option. Even if Bush isn't a forward, Krause should set up like he's going for a blitz and then help out a defensive tackle to his right.
That leaves rookie guard Cordell Foulson alone in Hayward fighting with Jonah Williams against Highsmith. Williams has done well with Highsmith, but Fulson is no match for Hayward. The game results in a 5-yard loss.
Safety issues aside, Baro seems to be showing some rust from not playing in preseason. With more reps, there are two areas where Burrow improves:
1. Predictability and Accuracy.
2. Decision Making.
Twelve and Bengals wide receivers played key roles in Cincinnati's Super Bowl run in 2021. Over the course of a full year of filming, NFL defensive coordinators will make it extremely difficult for AFC champions to repeat that dominance. The running scheme, traffic safety and course coordination that made Bengal so successful last year were analyzed and tested.
The Steelers are a perfect example of what the Bengals will experience all year long. The ease with which Cincinnati passed last season is always attacked. The Bengals need a little more anticipation and precision from Barro to advance into another round.