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Jets vs. Bengals: Cincy Picks Spots to Create Confusion

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It would be fair to say the Bengals are not a team that brings pressure frequently. According to Football Outsiders' 2016 Almanac, Cincinnati rushed the standard four rushers on 78.3% of defensive snaps a year ago. No team did that more in the NFL in 2015.

The Bengals aren't always vanilla, though. On third down in particular, they show looks to try and trick an offense. Somewhat like the famous Dos Equis guy, they don't always blitz, but when they do, they disguise their looks.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is a protege of Mike Zimmer, a coach frequently associated with the Double A gap blitz. The double A gap blitz is exactly what it sounds like. Blitzers go into both A gaps. For a visual refresher on gaps, take a look at the hi-tech GGN graphic below.

When the Bengals are successful blitzing, it isn't always because they are just sending two guys through the A gap, though. By moving a bunch of guys up near the line of scrimmage, they can cause confusion. Here is one such example.

You will see in the GIF below that Brian Hoyer for the Texans correctly realizes that there will not be rushers coming through both A gaps. The problem is he misreads which one is coming. He thinks the guy on his right in the circle is blitzing, and the guy on his left is dropping as the arrow would indicate. Check out where the center is looking after the snap, and who rolls past him unblocked.

You have a similar scenario here with Alex Smith.

Smith appears to read circle as blitzer and arrow dropping back. Look who nobody blocks.

The Bengals don't even necessarily need to bring pressure to have an impact. Look at the left side of your screen. The guard is focused on Vontaze Burfict, who came near the line of scrimmage and simulated blitzing. He is late to provide help that he could have given on Carlos Dunlap, who knocks down Johnny Manziel.

It might be a cliche, but this is where work in the film room deciphering these fronts can make a big difference. With that many guys near the line of scrimmage, it is easy to misdiagnose which ones are coming as blitzers.