Every year, the production of a team’s offense tends to fluxulate. Take the Rams, for example. After being the worst offense in 2016, they led the league in points per game under offensive mastermind Sean McVay. Let’s look at five offenses who should see similar types of improvement.
Last year, Chicago finished 29th in the NFL in points per game and 30th in yards. However, a lot has changed since then. Former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy takes over at head coach in replacement of the defensive minded John Fox. In Kansas City, Nagy was able to get the most out of his offensive players, such as Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. The Bears have similar players to those two in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohan. Now, Howard had 1222 rushing yards last season and 9 touchdowns. The linchpin could be Cohen, as he can be utilized as a running back, receiver, and a kick/punt returner. “I’ve been at every position”, Cohen said when asked where Nagy has been utilizing him. This is important, as it shows Nagy is maximizing Cohen’s value. While Cohen may be the linchpin, the Bears need Mitchell Trubisky to take a huge step forward if they want improvement offensively. The additions of receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, as well as tight end Trey Burton will give Trubisky the weapons he needs to improve a passing attack that ranked last in the NFL in yards through the air. With an improved passing game and even more production from their running backs, the Bears offense should take a major step forward this season.
Without quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts offense stumbled to 31st in the NFL in yards and 30th in points per game. A lot of that was to a passing attack that ranked 30th in yards. Obviously, Luck is an upgrade over back up Jacoby Brissett, so improvement is a certain. Luck’s career low in passing yards in a full season (3822) is still way better than Brissett’s total last season (3098). That would be enough to declare massive improvement, but that’s not all that has changed. Former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich takes over as head coach. Reich has a high reputation as an excellent offensive mastermind and played a big role in the major improvement of the Eagles offense last season. But wait, there’s more. Indianapolis improved the offensive interior dramatically by selecting guards Quenton Nelson (1st Round) and Braden Smith (2nd Round). That, and the selection of running back Nyheim Hines should greatly improve a rushing attack that ranked 21st in yards last season. With Luck back, Reich in as head coach, and a more balanced offense, the Colts will improve dramatically offensively this season.
New York Giants
Coming into the season, the Giants offense was expected to be a top 10 unit. Instead, they finished 21st in yards and 31st in points per game. However, a lot has changed for the better since then. The Giants hired former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer as their next head coach. Shurmer turned a Vikings offense led by Case Keenum into a top 10 unit, so he should have no problem doing so with quarterback Eli Manning. Manning will have much more time to throw, as New York added left tackle Nate Solder in free agency and interior lineman Willy Hernandez via the draft. The offense will also be much more balanced, as the Giants selected running back Saquon Barkley with the 2nd pick of the draft. Barkley has Hall of Fame potential, and the addition of him and power back Jonathan Stewart will turn the 26th rushing attack a year ago into one’s of the league’s one. Barkley will also make an impact in the receiving game, and could draw the attention of safeties. If so, 2nd year tight end Evan Engram will have a mismatch against linebackers, which could set him up for a monster season. Lastly, Manning will have his number one target back in receiver Odell Beckham Jr., after the 25-year-old fractured his ankle in Week 5 and missed the rest of the season. Overall, there is so much going in the Giants offense’s favor, and they should be a top 10 unit this season.
The are many reasons why the Browns went 0-16 a year ago. However, none may be greater than they fact the finished dead last in points per game and 24th in yards. That’ll change for sure this season. Cleveland has upgraded at practically every position. They traded for quarterback Tyrod Taylor and receiver Jarvis Landry. Taylor won’t make a lot of mistakes, something Cleveland quarterbacks haven’t been able to do. As for Landry, he gives Cleveland the reliable target they lacked a year ago, as he had 112 receptions in 2017. While Cleveland had a respectable rushing attack in 2017, as they ranked 18th in rushing yards, the additions of Carlos Hyde and rookie Nick Chubb should help improve that unit despite the loss of Isiah Crowell. The continued development of tight end David Njoku will also give Taylor, or 1st overall pick Baker Mayfield, a mismatch target with an incredible height-speed combination. With new offensive coordinator Todd Haley taking over as the play caller for head coach Hue Jackson, Cleveland should also have better play calling, thus creating more opportunities for their many weapons. Even though Cleveland was awful offensively a year ago, there is no reason that they can’t be a top 15-top 10 unit this season.
If the Bengals want to escape the purgatory known as mediocrity, their offense that ranked dead last in yards and 26th in points per game needs to improve. Cincinnati’s offensive weapons remain the same, and their play caller remains the same, so what’s changed? Well for starters, quarterback Andy Dalton should actually have time to throw this season, as the Bengals traded for left tackle Cordy Glenn and drafted center Billy Price. With more time to throw, Dalton will actually have a chance to let his receivers, such as AJ Green, get some separation. Another big story for the Bengals offense is development of their skill players. Running back Joe Mixon had an okay rookie season, but with a better offensive line and him being in better shape (he claims to have lost 12 pounds), Mixon should improve on his 3.5 yards per carry from a season ago. Also, former first round pick John Ross didn’t even play in his rookie season. If he gets his opportunity this season, than he can showcase why he and his superb speed (4.22 40 yard dash) was worthy of such a valued pick. With a better offensive line and the development of their young offensive weapons, the Bengals should be a much better offensive team this season.