With the New York Giants set to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, our ‘5 Questions’ segment this week is with SB Nation’s Cincy Jungle. Patrick Judis gives us the scoop.
Ed: How much heat is Zac Taylor under? Between catching flak for the Joe Burrow injury, and the fact that the Bengals haven’t been good at all in his two seasons, is he still the coach next season?
Patrick: I have to imagine this has put some heat under his seat. Many fans and pundits have pointed to how long Marvin Lewis was given, but he showed signs of success early. Owner Mike Brown went out and paid for a winner after yet another disappointing season, and so far Taylor has struggled to deliver. If it were up to me I’m moving on because he is failing to hold his assistants accountable to do the best in their areas. Looking at Jim Turner at offensive line and Lou Anarumo at defensive coordinator (especially with how well Carlos Dunlap has done in Seattle).
Another name that is also finding his seat to be hotter is Director of Player Personnel, Duke Tobin. He is essentially the team’s general manger without the title.
Ed; Are you surprised by the decision to start Brandon Allen? That seemed to come out of nowhere.
Patrick: I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, because Allen is better than Ryan Finley. I’m just more confused why he wasn’t the backup this entire season rather than Finley, who we all saw was atrocious last year. Seems like a bad time to be reminded that this team traded up to take Finley.
Ed: Draft do-over: Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert? Why?
Patrick: Easily Burrow. EASILY. Burrow was everything he was advertised to be. I’ve seen people make a big deal about the game in Pittsburgh with 40 to 50 mph wins, but aside from that he has been the smartest guy on the field.
The offense made a shift after the Ravens game to allow Burrow to throw the ball more and, more specifically, integrate more quick passes to keep him from getting pressured constantly on third-and-longs. He also has had the freedom practically from Day 1 to have full command over the offense, and some of their best plays have come from plays he has changed into.
Nothing against Herbert. He is obviously putting up some incredible numbers. I think the major difference is Burrow could put up Herbert’s numbers if he was a Charger, but Herbert wouldn’t be able to produce like Burrow was before the injury.
Ed: If you could take one Giants player off their roster and put him in Cincinnati’s lineup, who would it be? Why?
Patrick: Honestly, I could sit here and say names like Evan Engram, Andrew Thomas or Saquon Barkley, but at this point I think every Bengals fan would be happy to have Kevin Zeitler back at guard, which is where most of the team’s issues with protection are coming from. I’ll still take Andrew Thomas and have him or Jonah Williams kick over to right tackle, but the main issue with this offensive line is we are seriously lacking at guard behind Quinton Spain.
Ed: You are game planning against the Bengals. How would you plan to shut down their offense? How would you attack their defense?
Patrick: At this point, I’d say showing up probably accomplishes that. In all seriousness, though, running stunts along the defensive line usually gets enough pressure on passing downs against the offense. I would load up and make Allen beat you. Put your best coverage player on Tyler Boyd or Tee Higgins since A.J. Green doesn’t seem to be his usual self right now.
Attacking the defense, you have to run plays that force the young linebackers to be sound in their assignments. There will be downs where they play perfectly, but they have given up some big plays due to confusion. Also if you double team Carl Lawson then Daniel Jones will have all the time he needs to throw.