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Rams vs Bengals Preview

Football is a sport where coaches play a significant role in the team's success, and coaching trees exist all over the NFL. One such example is the coaching tree of Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Despite being only 37 years old, McVay has had a considerable impact on the NFL and college ranks, with head coaches who have been under his tutelage littering the league.

Kevin O’Connell heads up the Vikings, Matt LaFleur has had some significant success with the Packers, and Brandon Staley, although on the hot seat with the Chargers, is also part of the "playoff appearance club." Zac Taylor is another head coach who has been under McVay's tutelage, and he currently heads up the Cincinnati Bengals.

In conjunction with quarterback Joe Burrow, Taylor has helped the Bengals break through decades-long stumbling blocks within the franchise, slaying long-standing postseason demons in just four short years together. Taylor was previously an NFL offensive coordinator, albeit on an interim status, back in 2015 after the Dolphins fired Bill Lazor. After a stint with the same title with the Cincinnati Bearcats, Taylor linked up with McVay in Los Angeles and became a hot head coaching name in the 2019 offseason.

The Bengals are off to an 0-2 start for the second straight season, and the biggest concern for them is the health of Joe Burrow entering Week 3. He re-injured his strained calf at the end of Week 2, putting his status for this critical game up in the air. If it's strictly about pain management, he'll probably play, even if said pain teeters on the severe. But if there is a significant risk of an additional and more serious issue popping up from playing, then it's probably more rest.

Cincinnati's offense has struggled this season, with the team's first touchdown coming in the second quarter of the second game. The Cincinnati defense has allowed the third-most rushing yards in the NFL through three games at 414, while also allowing an average of 25 points per game. This has put the defense in the precarious position of taking too many snaps and on too quick of a turnaround time.

An important player on defense for the Bengals this week could be Joseph Ossai. With the pass-rush suffering a bit from a high volume of snaps from the starters, having an effective rotator like Ossai should provide a big boost.

The last time these two teams faced off, the storyline was how the then-battered Bengals' offensive line got owned by Aaron Donald and his Rams linemates. While that's still an obvious key this week, Cincinnati's offensive line is in MUCH better shape than they were in Super Bowl LVI and are playing above-average by league standards.

Joe Mixon has been the most consistent player on the Bengals team, while the Rams are committing to Kyren Williams after shipping Cam Akers to the Vikings this week. Mixon is averaging 4.4 yards per carry through the first two games, while Williams is a Swiss Army Knife of a player for Los Angeles.

Burrow's status for the game is uncertain, but when the chips are down, and things look bleak, Burrow is the guy you want on your sideline. It feels like there's a little bit of "been there, done that" with Cincinnati's cast of characters, even with old-school Queen City pessimism starting to seep into the walls of Paycor Stadium.

It won't be pretty, but this Monday night will be another step in progress and in the march towards the postseason for the Bengals.


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