I hate the draw play. Not for any reasons inherent to the draw play itself, but simply because I always thought it killed the Bengals. And not just on one side of the ball, but both sides. Our defense seemed so easily fooled by it, while our offense couldn't seem to fool anyone with it.
And even if we did fool people with it, it was in meaningless situations. I write under the moniker "Sleeping With Bieniemy" largely because of the endless times we called a draw play on 3rd and long for Eric Bieniemy back in the 90s. If you close your eyes and think back to those days, you can hear whatever nepotism-fueled hire they had calling plays back then squeal "They'll never see it coming!!!" as he dialed up another shitty draw. Yeah, they'll never see it coming asshole BECAUSE IT'S A STUPID FUCKING CALL THAT IS DESTINED TO FAIL. Congrats, you got 8 yards, now you still have to punt.
Point is, to me the draw captured in a single play the massive incompetence of the entire franchise. And so I hate it.
Enter Football Outsiders.
They recently published two articles on on the draw. One on how teams defend it, the other on how they use it. Lo and behold, in 2009, they found that the Bengals defended the draw better than anyone else in the NFL. Read that last sentence again.
Now, admittedly, this is quite a small sample size (only 23 draws). Also, they do not count running plays out of the shotgun, which the typical fan (me! me!) probably mistakes as a draw. But still. Surprising! Or maybe not really now that we have a competent defensive coordinator.
But what about on offense? Do we now, in this new batshit crazy reality, not only defend the draw play well but even use it to our advantage? In a word: No.
In fact, we don't use the draw play at all. The Bengals called the 4th most RB rushes in the league yet simultaneously called the 2nd fewest draw plays which resulted in the lowest percentage of draw plays called in the entire NFL (3%, in case you were wondering). It's as if, having witnessed the abomination of previous offensive coordinators (or video of himself), Bratwurst, instead of trying to improve upon the draw, simply discarded the play entirely, pretending it doesn't exist.
More likely, it had something to do with Carson's inability to hand off naturally. With a new emphasis on the pass game, and a healthy Palmer, I would expect to see more draw plays this season. Maybe even with some success? Okay. Probably just more draw plays.