combatbengal Posted November 25, 2007 Report Share Posted November 25, 2007 College football is really getting exciting. #1 LSU lost! Missouri took it to Kansas last night. Those kids on Defense were fired up. Watching those games made me wonder how those kids can play with so much heart and pride and we can’t get our Bengal defensive players to make a tackle. Here is a spark of good news, I hope. Bengals have an opportunity to revamp the Def for next year and get rid of our DC!The Bengals could be one of the NFL's busiest teams in the offseason.They'll have a jump on the playoff teams. With seven losses in their first 10 games, heading into the matchup today at home against Tennessee, the Bengals probably won't be involved in the NFL's postseason. With some 20 percent of their roster - 12 players, including five current starters - set to become free agents in March, the Bengals have a lot of personnel decisions to make. And with the potential for a 10-loss season mounting each week, the Bengals could be drafting in the top 10 come April. The biggest questions center on a defense that is ranked 30th in yards and 31st in points allowed going into today's game. There are three defensive starters headed to the open market: end Justin Smith, safety Madieu Williams and linebacker Landon Johnson. In fact, at the injury-ravaged linebacker position, the Bengals have four potential unrestricted free agents in Dhani Jones, Lemar Marshall, Caleb Miller and Johnson. Jones is now a starter. Linebackers Rashad Jeanty, Ahmad Brooks and Anthony Schlegel are under contract for 2008. The Bengals have the opportunity to make sweeping changes on the defense or tweak it. It's believed that head coach Marvin Lewis might make another change at defensive coordinator at the end of the season, when Chuck Bresnahan's contract is up. There could be movement at the level of the defensive position coaches, as well.The Bengals and Jim Steiner, Smith's agent, have been unable to reach agreement on a long-term contract for the defensive end. Can the Bengals afford to spend so much cap money - $8.64 million - on an end with only two sacks this year who will be headed into his eighth NFL season?Bengals president Mike Brown said in an interview last month with The Enquirer that the club would like to re-sign Smith.There's a chance veterans such as cornerback Deltha O'Neal (one year remaining after this season on his contract) and safety Dexter Jackson (two years remaining) might not be back. O'Neal is still disenchanted about not getting a new contract from the Bengals after his 2005 Pro Bowl season, and he recently lost his starting job.The Bengals have added heavily to their secondary in the previous two drafts - investing consecutive first-round picks in cornerback Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall and adding safeties Chinedum Ndukwe and Marvin White in 2007. Ndukwe, like Hall, could crack the starting lineup down the stretch.In addition to roster flexibility, the Bengals will have money to spend if they choose. The NFL per-team salary cap will rise from its current $109 million to $116 million.Teams are built through the draft. Free agency can plug some holes. But where teams such as New England and Cleveland spent big in free agency last offseason, the Bengals signed the likes of linebacker Ed Hartwell and defensive tackle Kendrick Allen, neither of whom survived cut-down day.With their defense getting gashed consistently, will the Bengals spend big money on an A-list player the likes of Colts safety Bob Sanders, Titans tackle Albert Haynesworth, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs or Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs? Of course, original teams can apply the franchise tag to a top free agent, severely limiting their movement, but several high-impact players will be available again in March.Offensively, the value of lineman Stacy Andrews has gone up. He attracted attention from the Jets as a restricted free agent last offseason. He will make his sixth start at right tackle today after starting the first three games at left guard. There are questions whether 12th-year pro Willie Anderson will be able to return from serious heel and knee injuries, and with the long-term health of left tackle Levi Jones in doubt, the Bengals almost have to make Andrews a top priority.In the draft, the Bengals have done a good job in recent years of finding special teams and role players on Day 2. But with injuries - running backs Chris Perry and Kenny Irons and linebacker David Pollack - as well as off-field problems and suspensions to linebacker Odell Thurman and wide receiver Chris Henry, some top-flight talent has been missing.Here are some names to keep in mind in Rounds 1 and 2 of the April draft:Defensive tackles Glenn Dorsey, LSU; Sedrick Ellis, Southern Cal; and Kentwan Balmer, North CarolinaDefensive ends Chris Long, Virginia; Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech; Lawrence Jackson, Southern Cal; and Tommy Blake, Texas ChristianLinebackers Keith Rivers, Southern Cal; Quentin Groves, Auburn; Phillip Wheeler, Georgia Tech; and Dan Connor, Penn State. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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