AFC North Preview- Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals had struggled all through out the 2008 season, losing many players and going to a 4-11-1 record. Carson Palmer was gone, Chad Ocho Cinco did not have his best season, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh ended up with his best season, and then went to Seattle. The Bengals did make up for it by signing Laveranues Coles away from the New York Jets.

On offense, Carson Palmer is back at the helm, and looking to regain his form. Instead of going for Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow, Palmer sat out and let the elbow heal, and in March, he stated that he was back at 100%. He has reliable targets in Ochocinco and Coles, and Cedric Benson is looking to be the feature back in the offense. Ochocinco is going to have to work hard and be consistent, which we have seen many times in his career. With all the things that happened in 2008, it can be understood why his numbers were his lowest since his rookie season. The offensive line is going to be need Andre Smith signed so he can provide a boost to an already questionable line that could put Carson Palmer’s health in jeopardy if they can’t protect him.

Defense needs to improve in Cincinnati, there is no consistent pass rush among the team, and although the run defense has improved with the addition of Mike Zimmer as the defensive coordinator, it won’t translate into much of anything if the D-Line can’t pressure the opposing quarterback. If Dhani Jones can tackle opposing players like he does the world on his Travel Channel show, then there should be some glimpse of hope on Cincy’s D.

Carson Palmer is the heart of this team, and. The Bengals will need him to be healthy and to be ready for this season. If he can light up the scoreboard and open up the run for Cedric Benson, then the Bengals can go far. If he struggles and provides inconsistency like he has in the past few years, expect another long and hard suffering season in Cincinnati.

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