Bengals: Winston stabilizes the right
The offensive line has been an area of strength for Cincinnati in 2014. The unit has surrendered just 12 sacks, and the 104 total pressures allowed is the least in the NFL. They finished the season with a unit Pass Blocking Efficiency of 85, third-best among all offensive lines. However, while the team can be happy with the lines performance as a whole, there were concerns about the right tackle position prior to the Week 14 signing of Eric Winston.
Regular starter Andre Smith went down with a triceps injury in Week 9, forcing the Bengals to test out multiple in-house options in an attempt to fill the void. Marshall Newhouse was first up, but he allowed 15 total pressures on his way to a -8.2 pass block grade in a five game stretch. Starting left guard Cling Boling then moved over to RT for Weeks 14 and 15, and though solid run blocking on the edge (+3.8), he similarly struggled in pass protection, allowing one sack and eight total pressures.
The Bengals then signed free agent Winston, and haven’t looked back. Winston was eased into the mix initially, but played every snap at right tackle the past two weeks. His -0.1 pass blocking grade has been a definite upgrade at the position, and he didn’t allow a single pressure against a formidable Denver pass rush unit in Week 16, but finished the season by yielding six total pressures in Pittsburgh.