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Tale of the Tape - Running Game Sucks


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All 22 came out.   I try to focus on the what seems like the most critical conversation point.   This week in the running game.    I'll try to throw in some pictures as well.

Disclaimer - I'm not a coach, have never coached and my fastest forty time was just under 5.2. 

So here we go!   So my thoughts are that the backs are running hard AND the line is getting push.   So WTF?   A) I'm realistic, every carry isn't going for 10 yards.  B) I think there was some predictability and a lot of times there is a single breakdown.  

Quarter 1.   I'll try to keep these in order.

Run #1 - Hill for no gain.   Bengals come out in tight formation allowing Pitt to load the box.  They had 1 deep safety.   Blitz/Crash the safety #21 and WR can't get the block.  Bodine lost a little ground but sealed his man.   Safety fills the hole.   This, IMO, is predictable play calling.  Safety came down hard from the snap.   Safety misses the tackle it's off to the races.

Run #2 - Hill for 5 yards.  Shotgun double TE to the right.  Pitt has 8 in the box.  zone blocking to the right.   Pitt blitzes the CB from the Offense's left side.  #87 loses ground and gets beat.  Hill cuts back avoiding the defender but blitzing CB holds him to 5.   Again, 1 guy away from big gain, IMO.

Run #3 - Hill for 2 yards. 3 wide, 1 TE. 6 in the box. Zone blocking to the left.  Ced can't seal #91.   Ced gets that block it's off to the races.  Again 1 guy away.   

Run #4 - Hill for 2 yards.  2 wide, 1 flanker, 1 H-back.  7 in the box for Pitt.  Pitt Blitzes the CB again.  Hill shakes off for min gain.

Run #5 - Hill for 3 yards.  Shotgun 3 wide, 1 TE,  7 in the box.   Bengals give read/option look.  Good push but Ced gets beat inside  forces Hill to jump out of hole and Shazier quickly gets away from Z and makes the play. 

Run #6 - Gio for 4 yards.  Shotgun 3 wide, 1 TE, 5 in the box.  Bengals give read/option look.  Good push and hole off right side.  4 yards.



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Quarter 2

Run #7 Gio - no gain.  Line up tight formation shift to 3 wide with H-back.  7 in the box.  Pull Ced and Boling to the right.   This is a bad idea, IMO.  Pitt LBs were fast flowing.   So you get good push on the line but Shazier and Timmons are left unblock.   Boling can't pick off one (but's that asking a lot IMO.)  Bodine does a good job of deflecting Shazier as he knifes through.   Unfortunately that leaves Timmons unblocked and in the hole.   Shazier was just too fast in reading it there's no way a backside guard would get that block, IMO.

Run #8 Hill - 1 yard.  Double TE, H-back, 1-wide.  9 in the box.  Bodine comes off double team too late and can't keep Timmons out of the hole.

Run #9 Gio - 1 yard.  Shotgun 3 wide.  Boyd misses block on Safety and #95 comes off Bodine/Whit blocks.   Safety makes the play allowing #95 to get a piece of the tackle

Run #10 Gio - 2 yards shotgun 3 wide. Read/option look.  7 in the box. Boling can't seal #90.  Gio cut back stopped short.



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Quarter 3

This gets deep into the razzle dazzle:


Run #11 - Hill 3 yards.  1 wide, 2 flankers, 1 H-back.  6 in the box.  Hand off right with reverse action (LaFell) going left.   Ced swings and misses on #95.  Guess what?  Probably would have been more that 3 yards.   Motherfu......

Run #12 Hill 1 yard, Pistol Formation, Overload on the left.  Fisher eligible on the right.  Option action going right.   Guess what?  If Fisher gets the block on Shazier, it probably goes for more yards than 1 and probably a chunk run.   Hill could/should also break that tackle attempt to get more.   Fisher should get that block.   Good call poor execution.

Run #13 Hill -2 yards.  Cluster right here.  Goaline.  Overload left double TE.   Pull Boling to right.  Hewitt to the right.   #95 knives in front of #87.  Bad.   Then both Hewitt and Boling run right past a knifing Shazier from the edge.   Assignment error there.     However,  they did get their block on the guys they chose to block, too bad the guy they ran past made the play.   Ugh.

Run #14 - Hill 4 yards.   Shotgun, read option look.  3 wide.  6 in the box.  Hill reads Shazier and picks opposite hole.  Nice vision and run.  Good blocking.


Quarter 4

Run #15 - Hill 3 yards. Shotgun.  Boling pulls to the right nice block on Shazier.   HERE WE GO!  Nope Bodine can't hold his block on #97.

Run #16 - Gio 10 yards. Shotgun 4 wide.  Read option look.   Nice block by Bodine.   Good vision by Gio.  Wish they were all this good


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Theme seems to be quite a bit of predictability and lots of poor execution. Steelers LBs are well above average but this line is "supposed" to be among the best. That, and Hill isn't getting much as to yards after contact. 

All this and our play action isn't very strong, since we run on run downs and throw on throwing downs. Zampese needs to throw away the vanilla plays and show more formations and motions. There is little movement to reveal what the defense is doing, creating no disguise while giving away the intent of the plays. Just nothing but vanilla. 

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From Marvin Lewis via Bengals.com

When we do choose to run it, we can’t have one-person breakdowns and instead of it being a 10-yard gain, it’s a three-yard gain. We have to do better at that all the way around. That recognition and execution is important.”

Maybe I'm tooting my own horn or maybe I'm towing the company line?  Who knows?

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TBH it's a problem that has bedeviled the line off and on for several seasons and IMO goes back to churn on the line, due to a combination of injuries and FA. On any given play four out of five guys will do their jobs. And the problem is it's not just one guy, it's everyone taking turns.

This time it does seem a bit more focused on Bodine and Ced, but the former isn't going anywhere and the latter is still raw. So the answer to how to fix it is "we don't" (Bodine) and "time" (Ced).

Worth adding that Hill and Gio need to step up as well. Given this it's crucial they make that first guy miss.

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The Bengals have lived off running toward Zeitler and Andre often with backside guys pulling to block.  When that worked it was usually because it had been disguised well.  Boling has proved to be a good puller as well.  Seems Uzomah can't keep his blocks - a drop off from Eifert?  

They can't run that same play over and over but how they make up for Bodine's inconsistency is hard to figure.  Especially if Boling and now Ced at RT have trouble knowing assignments or sealing off blocks.  

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21 hours ago, AMPHAR said:

Uzomah is new to the whole blocking thing.  He didn't do it at all at Auburn as the story goes.   Ced missing preseason hurts.  Hope he gets better with more and more reps.

Hate to say it but Shazier played a monster game too. 

Shazier will end up with scrambled eggs for brains if he keeps leading with his head, which he does on nearly every tackle he makes. He is a great talent but uses poor technique to tackle, head first and down.

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