Lots of optimism these days. From Carson. From Chad. From ESPN columnists. From SI columnists. From fans. From Baghdad.
For the fan in me, this is all well and good. For the guy-who-wants-change in me, this is not all that great (to the extent it leads to spending on the Bengals).
But let me try to briefly cut through the crap and figure out if optimism is warranted. Optimism in my mind means the Bengals have a playoff team. I believe the following:
- The Bengals will likely be as good or better this year than last year at Q, RB, WR, DL, LB, & S
- The Bengals will likely be as good or worse this year than last year at OL & CB
Let's ignore CB since I'm mostly basing that off of, well, nothing. Basically, what I've said is that I think that the entire defense should be better while I have huge concerns about our offense - notably the O-line.
Now let's look at two recent excerpts regarding our offensive line. First from Chick:
“It’s the biggest challenge we’ve ever had,” Alexander said. “The attitude’s been right. They’re working hard. They’re competitive. They’re tough. And we have some strong leaders.”
Hmmmm. I'd prefer to hear less about the O-line's "attitude" and more about their "being good". Though maybe it's a sign our DL may actually get pressure this year (Douche Bag alert!). And here's this from Baghdad Hob:
These two tidbits only reinforce my concerns. And as the O-line goes, so goes the offense. Make no mistake.
My conclusion: in a division featuring both representatives in last year's AFC Championship game, a decent-to-good defense and a sketchy O-line will not get it done. I hope I am wrong.