Is this the weekend the Bengals see their first round draft pick hit the field for the first time this season? Considering what we were told going into the bye week, no doubt many Bengals fans were thinking, "Yes, I'll finally get to see Andre Smith play when the Ravens come to town," however, those thoughts might have been a bit premature. It's either that or Marvin Lewis just wants to keep everybody on their toes.
Or he's just practicing his non-committal skills.
Offensive line coach Paul Alexander would not discuss Smith's status. On Wednesday, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Smith "would have to be one of the best 45 guys" to suit up.
So yeah, that sounds like an "I'll never tell" if there ever was one. It seems the Bengals staff seems really hesitant to use any of the offensive rookies at their disposal. Granted, Smith's ankle and his weight have been issues, but while every other team in the NFL showcases their new offensive talent, the Bengals take "wait and see" to a totally different level.
Now, if you are a defensive rookie with miles of potential, you'll have every opportunity to play through your mistakes. Unfortunately, that same level of approval seems to be missing for known college stars like Chase Coffman, and now Smith. Of course, the lack of Andre Smith "he's playing" talk might just be gamesmanship on the behalf of the coaches. Or it could very well be Lewis and his staff doesn't want Smith to stop working hard, and they feel any news about playing time could affect Smith's preparation.
Considering how well the Bengals have been running the ball, it's hard to not think how an Andre Smith, a player known as being an incredible run-blocker, might improve that aspect even more.