The O Line last year sucked. Levi Jones was overweight, kind of hurt, slow and letting people by him while he picked daisies and longed for the days when Joey Porter and him could stay up all night talking about their dreams. Whitworth and Bobbie were fine. Ghiuacic never developed into anything. Stacey Andrews wanted nothing to do with the Bengals organization, and I don't blame him.
This year doesn't portend to be any better. As of right now they are making Whitworth play out of position at LT, where he has problems on the edge against speed rushers. Nate Livings, as far as I know is good enough at LG, but I don't think putting him there means our left side rushing attack is going to set the world on fire. Santucci and Cook were, according to Hob, "ready" to start last year. But if they couldn't prove themselves to better than Ghiuacic then I'm not going to put any faith in them to be any better now. Luigs is a rookie stepping into a position where people like Casey Hampton and Ngata will be lining up to consume whatever gets in their way. Bobbie's a rock, but I don't like how on the roster he's listed as a G/C. Just sounds like he could be another guy that has to play out of position when it becomes apparent that the three headed monster at C isn't working. Collins rounds out the projected starters and should be a serviceable tackle on whichever side he ends up. The depth is paper thin with Kooistra and HippopataSmith as the only real back ups with any potential to start.
I'm not listing the Hippo as a starter yet because I truly believe he will hold out for a significant amount of training camp. He has made bad decision after bad decision since it became apparent to him that he was destined to be a lottery pick. Couple that with Mike Brown's mule like negotiating tactics and the Bengals have irresistable force against immovable object. If he does come into the fold late he won't be NFL ready considering how well it seems he trains without coaching and structure.
As of right now, the Bengals and Marvin are in an unenviable position of having to play a G at LT, inexperience at C, and potentially their best lineman will still be getting in playing shape by the time the Bengals play the Broncos in week 1. This squad may not be as god awful as it was last year but I'm not overcome with optimism about it being a cohesive kick ass unit. Especially since our most important player's blind side will be covered by a guy with very little lateral quickness.
Let's hope Hippo signs early so that all the pieces can fit more easily. I'd be infinitely more happy about a line of Collins, Whit, whoever, Bobbie, and HippopataSmith than what it is now.