This has been a rough season for the Bengals, specifically dating back to Cincinnati's 23-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Alright, so Cleveland is a better team than we gave them credit for at the time. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a position to combat the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons for the NFC South crown and, well the Falcons are considered by most to be the class of the NFC. Though after last night's
Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick performance, that's debatable.
We knew Cincinnati's schedule was going to be rough. We didn't know that some of the lesser teams on the schedule would play out of their minds this season either. And through it all, we always come to the same conclusion: The Bengals aren't being beaten by their opponents, they are simply finding ways to lose, evident by the fact none of their losses during their current six-game losing steak was by more than eight points. But a loss is a loss. There's no reason to find happy ways of talking about the team's losses; though it does kind of help the bitter taste of another disappointing Bengals season.
The team's expectations isn't the only thing the crashed this year. Since the team's seven-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons in late October, Adam Jones, Morgan Trent, Andre Smith and Mike Nugent, all players with starts or a significant role with the team, have had their seasons prematurely ended with injuries.
Smith re-injured the same foot he broke last year that kept him out for the first half of his rookie season, as well as a significant portion of training camp this year. Finally breaking into the starting lineup, Smith would have respectable performances against Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh before injuring his foot the week leading up to the Colts game. Smith was featured at one point during Monday Night's telecast with glowing remarks from Jon Gruden (has ever criticized a player?) against the Steelers for solid pass blocking against Lamarr Woodley before being pulled momentarily for Dennis Roland after allowing a quarterback sack. Roland gave up a quarterback sack soon after.
Smith, showing a level of maturity that he's often be criticized for not having since arriving in Cincinnati, said afterwards regarding his injury:
"I’m still going to be with the team, still going to meetings and learning the offense inside and out so that when I return I am clicking on all eight cylinders," Smith said on Friday in the locker room. "I’m going to make sure I handle my business. Make sure I’m on a great nutritional diet and rehab the proper way."
"It was a little disappointing. I was doing well and working on technique," Smith said. "Just to have that happen was a blow. It’s not a block in the road but a bump."
At this point, the only unknown was whether or not Smith would have surgery or not. During Monday's press conference, Lewis confirmed that Andre Smith, as well as Morgan Trent (knee) will each have surgery on their respective injuries.
We're not exactly sure when or how Trent suffered his injury; only that it occurred during the week leading up to the Dolphins game. He still started the game and played against the Steelers the following week. Trent missed Friday's practice heading into the game against the Colts and was placed on Injured Reserve on Monday. Trent was having a good season compared to last year, recording his first interception, virtually trying all of his statistical categories from last year playing in only half the games.