TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals
SPEC. TEAMS C-
FRONT OFFICE C
STRENGTH QB, WR, CB, LB
WEAKNESS OL, DE, DT, RB
OFF. MVP Carson Palmer
DEF. MVP Dhani Jones
TOP ROOKIE Keith Rivers
Comments: It's tough enough to win in this league, but when you attempt to do so without one of the games top quarterback in Carson Palmer. Through the first half of the season, the club has shown little in the way of offense and the defense doesn't have near the people to do any better than hold their own.
In his fifth season with the Club, I would have to say former top selection out of the University of Michigan Chris Perry is totally finished. A good but certainly not an exceptional college back (selected ahead of Steven Jackson), Perry has been injury plagued throughout his entire playing career. Cedric Benson was signed early in the season and if he can become a more accountable person off the field, he has the ability to become the guy.
Defensively, the Bengals front has been for the most part ineffective. The linebacker position looked like team strength, but Ahmad Brooks was released early in the season and Keith Rivers the clubs top selection was injured and played on injured reserve. Middle linebacker Dhani Jones, a former Giants, Eagles and Saints player has been the clubs top defensive player. Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph are young stars in the making.
Marvin Lewis is a good football coach and has put together a solid coaching staff. The front office is headed by Mike Brown, far and away the brightest individual in professional football, but some of his football and personnel decisions have left me scratching my head.
Mike's brother Pete is an excellent evaluator and heads up a talented but woefully under staffed college scouting staff. A review of Bengals past draft over the last two decades is a testimony to Pete's expertise in this critical area.
It's difficult to put your finger on one specific reason why this clubs hasn't been more successful in recent years, but if I were ever asked to share my thoughts, I would have to say the team's lack of concern for the player's character would be high on my list.