If you were to put together a Week in Review for this week, what would your lead story be? The Bengals conducted their first Organized Team Activities in which head coach Marvin Lewis declared the team's first-team offensive line. Were you surprised that Andrew Whitworth became the team's left tackle so quickly? No competition. It was like Lewis had already envisioned the team's offensive line -- likely heavily suggested from offensive line coach Paul Alexander and offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski -- and not only had a look at the personnel starting on the line, but clearly said to Geoff Hobson that this will be the offensive line for as long as he coaches. Then again, he may have long passed the midway point of his Bengals coaching career if he doesn't turn things around by the time his contract expires.
Either way, I'm very supportive of the Bengals and coaching staff declaring their offensive line right now. Maybe a player or two -- like Jonathan Luigs, Anthony Collins, Dan Santucci -- unseat Nate Livings, Kyle Cook or force Whitworth back to left guard. However, the fact the Bengals aren't willing to play musical chairs with their offensive line absolutely suggests a change in philosophy that's highlighted this entire offseason.
If setting the team's offensive line was the lead-in story this weekend, then the situation about our wide receivers was a close second. Yet, nothing during OTAs suggested that any "story" was prominent. Then Carson Palmer spoke.
"It's definitely a new look for the Bengals receiver corps but I couldn't be happier with the guys we've got," Palmer said. "T.J.'s (Houshmandzadeh) gone and Chad's pretty much gone, he hasn't been here, so we've got guys that want those two spots, guys that compete day in and day out, when we're out there on the field, running, conditioning and in the weight room lifting. They're guys that want to take over for those two spots. They look every bit capable of doing what we're going to ask them to do."
Has Palmer ever been so bold? Yes and no. He typically speaks with enough caution not bring attention to what he says. However, when he does speak, it comes from a foundation of truth. Both happened at the same time this week. And what he said was nothing more than matter of fact. Johnson isn't here. Henry is taking advantage of Johnson's absence. Furthermore, Henry does done everything he's had to do since given his redemption contract right before the season started last year. Are you cautious about trusting Henry? Sure. You have no reason not to be. Are you worried about him falling off the wagon (so to speak)? Not really. Not anymore. There's a difference between being cautious and worried. And Henry only has me thinking the former.
Does it really matter who a player's agent is? If you say no, then my counter-argument is Chad Johnson and Drew Rosenhaus. However, that's not the issue this week. Andre Smith took a hit last week when it was learned he'd be firing his second agent, Rick Smith, possibly in favor for his original agent Alvin Keels. People didn't like this. The team most of all. What would cause someone to fire his second agent? There is a theory. After Andre Smith performed so poorly during the combine, he fired Keels. The thinking is if Smith was associated with Keels, it would hurt his draft stock. So Smith hired Priority Sports to rehabilitate his draft stock. Once he was selected sixth by the Cincinnati Bengals, Smith decided to fire Priority Sports and, reportedly, bring Keels back to the fold.
The best part of Memorial Day weekend. I believe Memorial Day is a critical day of remembrance, not only for America's soldiers that should be honored, but also America's history. Wars weren't just the protagonist that created the United States of America, but it defined us as the greatest, most powerful country in the world. No matter where your politics are, or how much pacifism lies in your heart, it's critical that we remember those that allowed us fortune of being Americans, living what only others can possibly dream.
With that said, another great thing during Memorial Day weekend is that the History Channel shows all of the episodes for Band of Brothers -- perhaps the greatest World War II non-documentary ever created. Great, great show.