Cincinnati Bengals Preview
The Benglas are such a mess. Chad Ocho Cinco wants to get paid and then he gets hurt. Carson Palmer gets his nose broken for him. Rudi Johnson can’t play and expects to be traded. Housh has been slowed by a hamstring injury. Marvin Lewis, a great defensive mind, can’t field a strong defensive unit. He tried to rid the team of Chris Henry and his distractions, but was forced to welcome him back. What a mess.
Offensively, if they can put together a healthy unit, they should be fine. Carson Palmer is still a Top Ten QB in this league. He’s big and strong and can make all of the throws. They have a trio of capable backs in Chris Perry, Rudi Johnson, and Kenny Watson. If Chad Johnson can deal with his partially torn labrum, he’s still one of the top receivers in the game. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is a big-play threat and a TD machine. Chris Henry is a very talented receiver, but is far too often finding himself on the wrong side of the law.
Defensively, they are a mess. They will miss Justin Smith and Madieu Williams, who have moved on to the 49ers and Vikings respectively. Sure, Rookie LB Keith Rivers should help matters, but he can only do so much. Landon Johnson and Dhani Jones will help at Linebacker. Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph give them a pair of young, talented Cornerbacks. Deltha O’Neal and Dexter Jackson provide some experience and leadership. They just aren’t equipped to put pressure on the Quarterback, which makes life hard for everybody.
So where do I see the Bengals finishing? In a battle with Baltimore to avoid the basement of the AFC North. Six maybe seven Wins. Marvin Lewis will be shown the door after the season. The roster blown up. Yeah, it’s not going to be pretty.
Fantasy-wise the Bengals still have the goods. Carson Palmer is a top-end starting QB. Chad Ocho Cinco and Housh are top-end WRs. Chris Henry will likely be a solid #3 or #4 WR when all is said and done (assuming he doesn’t get arrested). Rudi Johnson, Chris Perry, and Kenny Watson are all capable of getting it done. It’s just a matter of who will get the touches. Ben Utecht is a sleeper candidate at Tight End. Shayne Graham should be a solid Kicker. I wouldn’t touch that Defense.