As Bengals fans, we at WDR are excited that Andre Smith is signed and hopeful that he will be anchoring the right side of the offensive line for years to come. But the Bengals insistence to save money means that the team has put Smith so far behind he will not make an impact for a while - and possibly the entire season.
Per Joe Reedy, here is what Bengals Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander had to say:
“He has a long way to go. He’s not all of a sudden going to be starting anytime soon. It’s impossible. I’m not afraid to put rookies in there but this guy is so far behind and he has so much work to do. It’s going to be an intense year for him.”
Reedy followed up: "When asked if he was on the same learning curve and development as Anderson, Alexander said that Smith’s is probably steeper."
Andrew Whitworth added:
“He’s on Day 1 and all of us are on Day 31. All of the strides that we’ve made in 30 days he has to make up. Everyone knows he’s a great run blocker. He’s great at the point of attack and can move people. He’s going to have to learn pass protection and put on the pads and realize that part.”
Again, we hope that Smith becomes the RT for the next decade, but his impact in 2009 will be limited because of the Bengals' determination to save as much money as possible. Other owners will do whatever it takes to win. The Bengals want to win, but not at the expense of losing control or losing money.