I think the Bengals got lucky last year on both the Carson Palmer and Rudi Johnson front. I think top-line NFL teams have to have to have capable backups at both positions. Maybe not to carry the position for the season, but to be able to fill in anywhere from one series to one game and not lose too much. I thought Wright would be able to do that. From what I've seen of Doug Johnson, he looks pretty sad. Kenny Watson may be good enough.
Overall, I just don't have a good feeling about the roster. So shoot me.
Having Anthony Wright over Doug Johnson makes the difference over one game, tops (and that's assuming Palmer gets hurt). Losing Kenny Irons doesn't make the team worse than last year, but it stops the Bengals from improving on that part of the offense. Then again, if Chris Perry comes back close to how he was before the injury, it's most likely a moot point. Not having Chris Henry will hurt a little--he will play in five games less than he did last year--but Tab Perry is back after missing 14 games, Bennie Brazell is back after missing 16 games, and Antonio Chatman is back after missing 13 games. Collectively, I think those three guys will be able to adequately replace Chris Henry for eight games.
There really is no one who can make up for a loss of Chris Henry, the guy's just as talented as TJ or Chad or anyone else in the league (think Randy Moss in his prime).
The area of weakeness on this team we should be focusing on is the banged up and relatively inexperienced o-line, and the poor play of Ahmad Brooks and a 28th ranked defense that really didn't improve at all on paper.
My excitment/hopes for this season are tempered.
I think the Bengals are going to blow people away this year. Mark it down: When the season starts, everyone's going to say, "Wow! I'm a huge Bengals fan, and even I didn't expect to see that kind of excellence!"
The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.
I guarantee somewhere between 1 and 16 wins. Mark it down Dude!
I think its funny that people are so worried about Henry. He is a great #3 reciever but he is a #3 reciever. Chad and TJ are both good enough to keep the d's attention and a guy like Tab Perry can excell in the 3rd reciever roll. I think this team could be a huge boost when Perry and Henry come back in weeks 5-8. The bengals should get back 2 players who are healthy midway though the season who could be a huge boost.
The problem with the running game though is that Rudi isn't going to last forever. He has begun to show some signs of wear and tear and with the average life expectancy of running backs in the league, losing Kenny Irons was a pretty big blow.
Hmmm... I want to be super-optimistic about the Bengals this season, but I just don't see the defense being that much improved...
I'll hope for 10-6, but I lean more towards 9-7.