The biggest surprise of the offseason so far is that the defense is completely taking over in training camp.
While Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have been the talk of the offseason, defense has been the dominant force at training camp in the early stages.
The first week of training camp has mostly been about defense. On the first day, it was Chidobe Awuzie breaking up a deep pass to Chase. The next day, the defense forced two fumbles. Germaine Pratt ended one practice with a pick off of Burrow.
In three of the last four practices, the defense has completely dominated over the offense.
On Friday, Paul Dehner Jr. describes practice as a “Brutal day for the Bengals offense and Joe Burrow.”
Brutal day for the #Bengals offense and Joe Burrow (or great day for the defense depending on your optimism).
Ton of incompletions, little in run game, PBUs and drops.
Pretty much nothing went right other than some spectacular catches late by Trent Taylor and Trenton Irwin.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) July 30, 2021
The offense bounced back on Saturday in front of the fans in Paul Brown Stadium, but the defense kicked it back into gear on Monday. Dehner reported lots of trash talking from the Bengals’ defense and frustration from the offense.
#Bengals defense rightfully talking all kinds of trash as they have owned another practice.
Germaine Pratt puts exclamation point on a dominant day with a pick of Joe Burrow over the middle.
Lot of frustration showing on the offensive side. Long list of superlatives on D.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 2, 2021
Evidently the trash talk continued into Tuesday as the Bengals defense dominance carried over.
The Men in Black – the Bengals defense today – is making the offense disappear once again. All the noise today coming from Lou’s crew
— Keenan Singleton (@KJMSingleton) August 3, 2021
The good news is, the defense is finally looking good. Under two years with Lou Anarumo, the defense has looked inconsistent and has played well below expectations. But now, Jessie Bates, Pratt, Awuzie, Mike Hilton, and others are making plays in training.
It’s not time to panic about the offense. Tee Higgins looks better this year than he did last year, Burrow still has a connection with Chase, and the offensive line is significantly upgraded. But it is curious why the offense is struggling against a defensive unit that is being completely rebuilt.