Bengals Confront a Jonah Williams Success Problem on Their Hands in 2023

In a surprising turn of events, Cincinnati Bengals’ Jonah Williams has transformed his reputation from a much-criticized left tackle into a force to be reckoned with on the right side. Despite being a first-round pick, Williams faced his fair share of critiques. But now, seven games into the season, his stellar performance is silencing the critics.

It’s rare to find instances where Williams has been under the scanner this season, especially with Joe Burrow’s limited mobility. With the rushing game in top form and a commendable 69.6 PFF grade, Williams’ current rank may be in the mid-30s, but it’s a significant step up from the disappointing days of Bobby Hart languishing around the 60th spot.

Even to the casual observer, Williams’ talent is evident. Just take his commendable face-off with the formidable Nick Bosa. While Williams has often been criticized, it’s important to note that playing in his position is like that of a cornerback — they’re only in the spotlight when mistakes happen. Facing off against talents like Myles Garrett twice a year would challenge even the best.

It’s also worth noting the brief period when Williams requested a trade, following Orlando Brown Jr.’s arrival. It wasn’t defiance, but rather a strategic move, given the premium on left tackle positions in terms of salary. Yet, with the onset of training camp, Williams silenced speculations, focusing on delivering his best professional season to date.

The Bengals couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome after recruiting Brown for left tackle. Williams, in shifting to the right, not only improved his game post-knee surgery but also bolstered the team’s offensive line, the strongest during Burrow’s tenure.

Jonah Williams Success Problem
Jonah Williams Success Problem

With this upward trajectory, other franchises will undoubtedly express interest in Williams. This leaves the Bengals with the enviable dilemma of considering an extension, even if it means potentially sidelining other key players like Tee Higgins.

In sum, it’s been a while since the Bengals enjoyed such consistent offensive line play. Much of this credit goes to Williams. His pivotal role in the recent triumph against the 49ers, combined with his dedication to protecting an injured Burrow, hints at the promising direction in which the Bengals are headed.

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