Hi all, I am a Bengals fan and looking forward to the game this week. Wanted to give you guys a quick preview of our team and answer any questions you have about us (and hopefully you guys can answer some of my questions about the Vikes). Anyways, a quick team preview:
1. The passing offense is really good. Over the second half of last year, Carson really came into his own and we were able to move the ball against some really good Ds (Over 450 yards at New England and at Baltimore). Chad is one of the league's best WRs, leading the AFC in yards the past 2 seasons. TJ Houshmanzadeh is a solid #2 who makes the tough catches over the middle and in traffic.
2. We have good balance with a solid running game also. Rudi Johnson is surprisingly shifty and breaks a lot of tackles. Last year's first rounder, Chris Perry, missed all of last year but looked great in the preseason and will get a decent amount of carries and also should catch a few passes.
3. The line is above average, led by RT Willie Anderson.
1. Carson makes too many boneheaded mistakes. Hopefully it is just youth (this is only his 15th start), but even after he really came on at the end of last year, he still seemed to throw one really bad pick every game, many of which were returned for TDs. He did this last week too, throwing an INT into the endzone when all we needed was to run clock and kick a field goal late in the game and he had another Pick 6 that luckily came back due to a questionable call on Cleveland away from the play.
2. Chad can get frustrated if he doesn't get the ball and we have a tendency to try and force it to him sometimes.
3. Our interior O Line sometimes can struggle against penetrating DTs (Kevin Williams) and LT Levi Jones has been hobbling a bit after offseason knee surgery.
4. Our TEs basically just block and aren't much of a threat in the passing game.
1. For the first time in a while, we have a solid player at every position, wtih the possible exception of SS.
2. Rookie MLB Odell Thurman is the real deal. He will make a run at Defensive ROY. He is a force against the run, something we haven't had since Takeo Spikes left town. I think Odell will be better than Takeo, and soon.
3. Second year FS Madieu Williams is another great young player on our D. He will make a Pro Bowl soon, if not this year.
4. Our corners have good hands and ball skills, and we get a lot of picks (Tory James had 8 last year, Deltha O'Neal had 4 and 2nd year Keiwan Ratliff had one last week).
1. No real difference makers on the D line. Justin Smith is very solid against the run, but doesn't get a ton of pressure on the QB.
2. When our D Line struggles getting pressure, our secondary can be vulnerable against the pass. Over the last couple years, we have feasted on bad QBs, but really struggled against good QBs.
3. Our linebackers sometimes struggle in coverage, and we tend to give up a lot of plays to opposing TEs over the middle.
Overall, we are an improving young team. I think we can go 10-6 this year, but are not a real Super Bowl threat until Carson cuts back on his mistakes, the young D matures and a playmaker or 2 is added to the D Line.