The Bengals have struggled to get pressure on quarterbacks this season, and the matchup with Washington could be an opportunity to change that. WFT has allowed 30 sacks this season while failing to keep the pass rush off Smith, Allen and second-year backup Dwayne Haskins Jr., the former Ohio State signal caller.
Cincinnati, which has only 11 sacks in nine games, just needs to figure out ways to take advantage of that weakness on Washington’s offensive line.
“I think that would help out your resume if you get pressure on the quarterback,” Bynes said. “We’ve definitely got to find ways, be able to create ways to do that. Up front, we obviously haven’t had a chance to do that, so we’ve got to find a way to get to the quarterback. We know it’s an opportunity definitely this week against Alex Smith. They’ve shown that. Now we’ve just got to find a way, find a way to win games and find a way to get pressure on the quarterback to create turnovers as well so it will definitely be an opportunity this week.”
Only one team has fewer sacks than the Bengals defense, as Jacksonville owns just nine.
Cincinnati thought it was getting some pass rush help with the acquisition of former Falcons first-round draft pick Takk McKinley off waivers last week. However, McKinley failed his physical, and the Bengals waived him Tuesday.
Sam Hubbard’s return last week from a dislocated elbow should help, but Carl Lawson has been the only guy consistently getting pressure on quarterbacks. He has 3.5 sacks and his 19 quarterback hits ranks second-most in the league.
“You’re getting consistent play from him,” Taylor said of Lawson. “Over the last two to three weeks in particular, he’s really been a well-rounded player. He’s helping us in the run game and the pass game. We need him. We need those guys to show up. We need some of those hits to turn into sacks, obviously, but that’s the whole unit in its entirety. You know the coverage has to hold up to give him a little bit more time. He’s approached things the right way.”
Bynes said Smith is still mobile enough to escape trouble at times, though he has lost some of that ability and speed just from being out so long and because of the type of injury he suffered. He’s “still Alex Smith,” Bynes said, calling him a game-changer and “really smart quarterback,” and teams can’t just write him off because of how long he’s been out.
Smith threw for 715 yards in Washington’s last two losses, both times nearly leading comebacks from large deficits. Washington tied the game with Detroit on Sunday after trailing by 21 points in the second half, only to lose on a last-second field goal.
“Some people are just built differently,” Taylor said. “It’s hard enough to play quarterback in this league. It’s hard enough to come back off what many would consider a career-ending injury and probably for 99.99% of people it would be. So, it says everything you need to know about him.”
Bengals at Washington, 1 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7