Well, it seems to fit the Jeopardy! m.o—an answer in the form of a question. Many questions, actually. How do T.O. and Ochocinco co-exist? Where does the renewed Cedric Benson fit in (if he isnt suspended)? What about Antonio Bryant? Is T.O. actually good anymore? Can Carson Palmer cope with all the attitude and attention?
Only time will tell. If nothing else, there will certainly be a lot to tell. Shenanigans and hoop-la will be in high gear, of that I'm certain. The T.O. Ochocinco tandem will be exciting to watch, on and off the field.
The Bengals won the AFC North last year. Thats right sports fans, those Bengals. They beat out the defending-champion Steelers (who didnt even make the playoffs) and perennial division powerhouse Ravens to swipe one of the most hotly contested and competitive divisions in football. Its just not normally them competing. And not only did they compete they dominated, sweeping the division (6-0).
In a division always ruled by defense, the Bengals fit right in last season. They were ranked in the top ten against both the pass and the run 6th and 7th, respectively. And all of that was without some key players for most of the season. DE Antwan Odom (you might remember him from his days at Alabama) and LB Keith Rivers missed the majority of the season. DT Tank Williams was hampered by a foot injury all season. Safety Roy Williams was in and out of the lineup more times than he had tackles it seems. Nonetheless, they are a strong unit led by LB Dhani Jones in the middle. The 2010 version should be even better if it can stay healthy.
With a defense that kept the team in most ball games last year, consistently forcing turnovers in key situations, the Bengals showed a new side to the NFL and everyone else watching. They ran the ball and did it well. The hitherto underachieving Cedric Benson exploded for 1,251 yards, scoring 6 times. And he did it all in 13 games. Add in backup Benard Scott who is a speedy, explosive back that offers an excellent change-of-pace option, plus that solid defense, and you have a recipe for success.
The question was the passing attack. What had been the Bengals strong suit in the past, behind the arm of Carson Palmer and a flashy core of receivers, the Bengals ranked a kitten-like 26th in the NFL last season. Enter Terrell Owens.
He used to be a physically dominating presence on the field, a great deep threat that was strong enough to cross the middle of the field as well. While he is still physically impressive on the sidelines and in front of the camera, his numbers on the field are not. Catching only 55 passes for 829 yards last season, T.O. had the worst season of his NFL career since he was a rookie way back in 1996 (barring the injury shortened season of 2005 when he only played 7 games). But hey, perhaps that is due to the horrid QB situation in Buffalo. But T.O. seems to create terrible QB situations.
So why add a guy like that to the Bengals who are finally on the upswing? Well, they have almost no depth and experience at wide receiver for starters. Chad Eight-five is pretty much the only established receiver besides new signee Antonio Bryant, who didn't exactly light it up down in Tampa. Carsons got to have someone to throw the damn ball to, right?
And for some reason, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals are very adept at handling some of those over-the-top diva personalities (e.g. Cedric Benson, Chris Henry, and Ochocinco).
Maybe T.O. can be Batman to Ochocincos Robin (Chads choice). It should be exciting to watch anyway. Youre fall reality show is set.
Current Alabama and Auburn players on the Bengals roster include DT Pat Sims (Auburn), OL Andre Smith (Alabama), DE Antwan Odom (Alabama), and OL Evan Mathis (Alabama).