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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Cincinnati Bengals Preview 2004

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posted on Sep, 12 2004 @ 04:53 PM
You can call it bias if you want, but it's also a serious point: The Bengals are on the rise to being Super Bowl contenders. Although they didn't make the playoffs in '03, they accomplished their first non-losing season since 1990, and have disposed of the "loser" image that has plagued them for the past decade-and-more. Now, behind head-coach Marvin Lewis for a second season, the Bengals have their eyes set on a playoff berth, and already have their nucleus set.

While QB Jon Kitna, who came out of nowhere to be the NFL's Most Improved Player last year, won't be starting, the NFL's first-overall draft pick in 2003, Carson Palmer, will. To help his cause, Cincy also has WRs Chad Johnson, coming off a tremendous season last year, and Peter Warrick, as well as up-and-coming RB Rudi Johnson. The defense may not be one of the best, but if it can hold, while the offense lights up the scoreboard, the Bengals will find themselves in the postseason, and its fans will party like there's no tomorrow.



Star Power: Carson Palmer, QB, 2nd year 6-5, 235, Rudi Johnson, RB, 4th year 5-10, 233, Brian Simmons, OLB, 7th year 6-3, 248, Willie Anderson, OT, 9th year 6-5, 340, Chad Johnson, WR, 4th year 6-2, 192

Notable Additions: Deltha O'Neal, CB, trade from Denver 5-11, 190, Nate Webster, MLB, free agent from Tampa Bay 6-0, 235

Notable Subtractions: Corey Dillon, traded to New England

Notable Returnees: Shayne Graham, K, 4th year 6-0, 197, Eric Steinbach, OG, 2nd year 6-6, 300, Levi Jones, OT, 3rd year 6-5, 310, Peter Warrick, WR, 5th year 5-11, 195

The Cincinnati Bengals, the butt of many NFL jokes for the better part of a dozen years, leapt from 2-14 in 2002 to 8-8 last season, the team's first under head coach Marvin Lewis. Though Lewis had the Bengals in the playoff hunt until the final week, he couldn't direct the franchise's first postseason berth or winning campaign since 1990. Joining forces with Lewis in a quest to take the team to the next level will be quarterback Carson Palmer, who will start under center following a rookie year in which he served as an unused apprentice to Jon Kitna. The presence of Palmer, along with a few key defensive acquisitions, has sent hopes soaring in the Queen City to a level not known since Ickey was still shuffling. The Bengals made the inevitable decision to appoint 2003 No. 1 draft pick Palmer their starting quarterback this season, a move that relegated Kitna (3591 passing yards, 26 TD, 15 INT) to second-string. Kitna comes off his best year as a pro, but has taken the shift to backup with understanding and class. He will serve as a key insurance policy should Palmer go down or be terribly ineffective, and will also tutor the multi-talented youngster as he takes his first NFL snaps. Casey Bramlet, a seventh-round draft pick out of Wyoming, figures to win the No. 3 job.

Rudi Johnson is the starter now with Corey Dillon in New England, and he will likely share time with first-round draft pick Chris Perry. Johnson is a tough runner between the tackles, but he lacks the speed to bounce outside and he must prove that last season was not a fluke. Perry is a shifty runner, but he can also run with power. He has good size, quickness, and speed, and he picks up yards after contact. He has good vision and instincts for finding the hole, he possesses good cut-back ability, and catches the ball well in the flat. Kenny Watson will fill the No. 3 role, but he is little more than a special teams player. Jeremi Johnson will start at fullback, but the Bengals plan to open up the offense this year so he may not get a lot of playing time.

If the Bengals can take advantage of Palmer's big arm, this receiving corps could be explosive and among the best in the league this year. Chad Johnson and Peter Warrick will return as the starters with second-year wideout Kelley Washington coming in as the third receiver. Johnson is the top receiver on this squad and one of the elite receivers in the league. Warrick, who is a great fit at No. 2, can play on the outside in two-receiver sets and move inside to the slot in three-receiver formations. Washington, who will play on the outside in the No. 3 role, has a ton of talent, but he slipped to the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft because of health concerns. He is a big physical receiver with good speed and soft hands, and he should benefit from the offense's desire to stretch the field vertically. He could emerge as one of the more dangerous third receivers in the league. T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Patrick Johnson, Kevin Walter, and rookie Maurice Mann will battle for the remaining spots on the roster. Reggie Kelley is penciled in as the starter at tight end, and he is one of the leagues better blockers, but he does not have good receiving skills and is not a big factor in the passing attack. The Bengals are hoping Matt Schobel, who was hampered with a hamstring injury in ‘03, can emerge as a receiving threat and they will likely use him in obvious passing situations.

The Bengals have the unmistakable emblem of a team on the rise. Palmer has the physical and mental tools to be one of the league's great quarterbacks down the line, but for this season he'll just have to make good decisions while relying on his vast weaponry. Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, and Peter Warrick should ease Palmer's transition. Defense, which is Lewis' area of expertise, should benefit from Hardy's shift to the left side as well as the addition of O'Neal and Herring in the secondary. Barring a rash of significant injuries, the Bengals look to have the pieces to battle Baltimore for the AFC North crown, and should have little trouble posting their first winning season since 1990.

[Edited on 13/9/04 by TRD]

posted on Sep, 12 2004 @ 10:24 PM
They lost an exciting game today, but don't coubt them. This team is for real. I expect them to contend for thier division, depending on how the other teams develop. It was time for Dillon to go, and it is time for Palmer to start. With the great recievers they have, Rudi in the backfield, this offense can get them places. And Marvin is one heck of a defensive coach. I have this team pegged as my dark horse to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 08:49 AM
Watching teh Jets game i was impressed with how well Palmer had played. He threw some nice long balls especially that one TD grab to Johnson, this team is going to be a tough team to beat. Their defense let them down this game, but that wont happen every game.

posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 07:39 PM
they're gonna go far, I'm tellin' ya...

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 10:10 PM
So far, so what? 1-3, lst in thier this the same old Bungles team? i'm sticking to my guns here, this is a better team than that record indicates, and they just may surprise later inthe season. Remember, they were just 1 game out of the playoffs last year...


posted on Nov, 7 2004 @ 06:51 PM
The Cincinnati Bengals intercepted Vinny Testaverde three times and forced five turnovers en route to a 26-3 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Carson Palmer had an efficient game, completing 21-of-32 passes for 212 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown to tight end Matt Schobel in the third quarter that opened a 16-3 lead.

Palmer added two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Rudi Johnson also rushed for 95 yards on 26 carries and Shayne Graham kicked four field goals for Cincinnati.

Testaverde, who turns 41 next Sunday, was intercepted three times for the second straight week. He finished 18-of-30 for 207 yards.

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