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ncinnati gave up 23 sacks in 503 passing snaps for their 4.6 percent ASR. In 2015 Cheap Troy Apke Jersey , they let up 32 sacks in 505 passing snaps for their 5.9 percent ASR).

The big reasoning for the drop-off last year was failings by their offensive linemen. Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler were elite at their spots, but nobody else could play with much consistency. Offensive line is also the unit where having a cohesive group is more important than having a few high-level individual performers, so the actual impact of Whitworth and Zeitler was mitigated substantially by their underwhelming teammates.

Still, having those guys was meaningful and they are no longer on the roster at all. In their places are a bundle of question marks in the best-case scenario, and the other spots aren’t exactly bright spots.

Russell Bodine was decent at center in 2016, but his play was an outlier from his previously poor form before that. Clint Boling has been an average performer at left guard for four seasons now. Right guard is a huge hole without Zeitler. Their tackle rotation is left to be decided by Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher, Andre Smith, and Eric Winston — none of whom a team should feel comfortable turning to at this point of careers, much less needing two of them to act as starters.

The blockers were once the biggest strength for this Cincinnati team , but now it easily stands as their biggest weakness for the foreseeable future.

Next: No. 3 Lackluster Front Four

Oct 4, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (90) looks on from the sidelines during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Kansas City 36-21. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
3. Middling Defensive Line
While the offensive line was the key on-field strength of Cincinnati’s previous offensive success, the same could be said for their defensive line on the other side.

When this team has been at their best, their defensive line was forcing pressure at a high rate. This past year, they fell under 7.0 percent in Adjusted Sack Rate for only the second time since 2011. The other time (2014) was mitigated by issues including Geno Atkins working his way back after a torn ACL in 2013 and the free agency departure of Michael Johnson. This time, even with those players on the field, it didn’t make nearly as much of a positive impact as planned.

Atkins played well, but Johnson is a shell of his former self as a pass rusher. And beyond Carlos Dunlap Jets Bryce Petty Jersey , the team had nobody else to turn to for production. Domata Peko hadn’t been a good player since nearly 2012, but still picked up nearly 600 snaps. Pat Sims cratered to by far his worst season since 2011 in over 400 snaps. Wallace Gilberry, Margus Hunt, and Will Clarke all were underwhelming in their roles as backup edge rushers.

A unit which used to be powered not only by top-quality talent at the top but also strong depth fell off heavily, and those issues look to continue to decline unfavorably.

Barring injury, Atkins and Dunlap should continue to play at a high level, but no other spot has a credible answer going forward. Peko being gone is a positive in a vacuum, but there doesn’t appear to be much to get excited about in his stead. The only realistic options on the roster appear to be either the aforementioned Sims or a young guy like Andrew Billings. Sims would be about as bad as having Peko there still, and Billings missed all of last year with an injury.

On the outside, the depth chart is the same so far Cheap Kareem Martin Jersey , minus Hunt, who was easily the best of the three backups taking edge rusher snaps for the team. That was bad one year ago, and we have no reason to expect better from those same guys a year later.

This is a spot the team surely will look to in the draft, but even an addition or two may not be worth getting too excited over. Cincinnati has a tendency to focus on letting draft picks sit and learn in their early years rather than throw them into the fire, so an immediate impact could be unlikely.

If they don’t go against that thinking, this line could fully recede to the abysmal levels we saw from them in 2014. Should that happen, even 6-9-1 would probably be a tough outcome to reach, much less surpass.

Next: No. 2 Mediocre Corner Play

Dec 18 Authentic Ed Dickson Jersey , 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
2. Cornerbacks Are Just Average
The defensive line may have been the strength of the defense in their best moments, but the area of the team where they’ve spent the most capital during their success has been the cornerback spot. This team has spent not only money for big contracts on corners during their success this decade, but they’ve used numerous high draft picks on cornerbacks as well.

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