Kyle Cook at center, Nate Livings at left guard and (maybe) not worrying about Chris Henry anymore

Is Chris Henry ready to dominate the Steelers secondary again?

Kyle Cook. Dan Santucci. Jonathan Luigs. Andrew Crummey. Digger Bujnoch. Bobbie Williams. The list isn't fearsome. Never has been. However, it is a list of potential centers heading into the 2009 season. We can scratch Williams off now. No way the Bengals replace their right guard. We can scratch Andrew Crummey off, and maybe Digger Bujnoch, if the team's depth with guards is set. The primary topic of who plays center in 2009 has always been a three-way discussion between Cook, Santucci and Luigs.

Cook got the call Tuesday morning. Geoff Hobson writes that Bob Bratkowski said the position is Cook's to lose. Carson Palmer is fine with that. "Kyle's smart enough and capable and athletic enough to step right in and take over and do a great job for us." Not bad, when you're endorsed by the God of Golden Arms. The only question is can the 300-plus pound Cook protect the God of Golden Arms, and open rushing lanes, against those big uglies in the get-your-face-kicked-in AFC North?

Also on Tuesday, Geoff Hobson writes, Nate Livings got the call to replace Whitworth, who is now the team's starting left tackle. He earned it. Once the Bengals had to replace players who fell to injury, the team's offensive line really solidified, which highly contributed to the team's three-game winning streak to close the season. Livings and Anthony Collins were a big part of that.

In other things that Hobson wrote that I really liked seeing.

Palmer predicted Henry will "have a great year," and he said he could see Henry playing 50 to 60 snaps a game in that spot (X) even though he's primarily worked out of three-receiver sets. Palmer said the first play out of the huddle Tuesday, Henry read the blitz and executed his "hot" route.  

Could Henry be the Bengals' comeback player of the year, so to speak? We've never argued his talent. Through the first two seasons of his NFL career, 22.4% of his receptions went for a touchdown. In his first three career games against the Steelers, he was highly effective.

Date Score Rec. Yards TDs
December 4, 2005 38-31 5 52 0
September 24, 2006 28-20 5 69 2
December 31, 2006 17-23 4 124 1

Since 2006, he's been, well, troubled. With that trouble, from 2007 on, Henry hasn't recorded a 100-yard game (recorded 99 yards in 21-7 win over Baltimore) and only four total touchdowns in 18 total games played.

We know what Henry can do -- literally, in both possible scenarios. He can become troubled again. Or he can whip on the Steelers. I hope the latter, obviously. The most encouraging part is that he appears to be really rededicating himself. Other than having lingering memories of his mug-shot proudly wearing his Cincinnati Bengals uniform, there's little reason to suspect that Henry will embarrass us anymore.

Hopefully the Leon Hall curse doesn't return. Note: Leon Hall curse is now what I call it when I step on my soapbox or make a bold pronouncement and something happens that day, or the next day, to make me look utterly foolish. This doesn't include dumb things I might say, which we call the Peter King Incident.

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