The writing team at CincyJungle pulled out their chairs at Writers Of The Round Table to discuss the Cincinnati Bengals, current issues that face the team and topics of general interest to us. With Jason Garrison, Naji Bsisu, Joe Goodberry and Josh Kirkendall, we begin talking about our general expectations about this Friday's game against the Detroit Lions, quickly side-tracked about the overall state of our offensive line.
Expectations for Friday Night Against The Detroit Lions
Naji Bsisu: Andy Dalton showing good command of the offense, no false starts on the offensive line and a defensive line that can generate pressure on the QB. I'm also hoping our secondary holds up against Megatron.
Jason Garrison: I want to see an organized offense led by Dalton. I want to see a tough and determined defense led by Maualuga and I want to see ZERO injuries - that's the most important part.
Naji: I agree, leaving with no injuries is very important. We're not a very deep team.
Joe Goodberry: Yes, no injuries. I just want to see how our second-year players have progressed. Players have said that their second season is when they've had their biggest gain. So does last year's class look that much better? It was such a good draft class in 2010, if most of them take the next step. It will be the foundation of this team.
Josh Kirkendall: To be honest, I'm very interested in the offensive line. The love-affair with the "new" Andre Smith interests me. The coaches are obviously confident enough to appoint him as the team's starting right tackle.
Jason: That makes me really happy. Hopefully Smith lives up to where he was selected in the draft. The Bengals could definitely use him.
Joe: Andre Smith has the power to make this offensive line dominant again. Having two bookend tackles makes a HUGE difference. Like when the Bengals had Levi Jones and Willie Anderson.
Josh: Those were the glory days. I honestly believe that this offensive line could improve immensely according to Smith's performances and improvements. I mean the alternative is Dennis Roland, who is the type of gamer that can't get past the easiest round at the easiest setting in Halo. Also hearing a lot about Otis Hudson and to be honest, I want to see what he can do. Paul Alexander labeled him the most improved offensive lineman thus far.
Joe: Hudson had some really raw skills coming out. I bet he's Alexander's pet project.
Jason: What is your deal with the offensive line?
Josh: Can't get enough of them. The offensive line IS football. They're at the backbone of the sport. When you think of football, you think of lineman in three-point stances, breathing heavily into the frozen air during that quiet second just before the ball is snapped and all hell breaks lose. The offensive line is football.
Naji: I think the offensive line can make or break an offense.
Jason: That's definitely true, the more time Dalton has to throw and the more room Benson has to run, the better off we're going to be. I'm excited about Smith but I'm worried about Nate Livings. The fact that he's first on the depth chart bothers me. I know it's early but still.
Josh: I want to piggyback on Joe's earlier point, the progress of second-year players. Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and even Otis Hudson will all be second-year players. That's a hell of a core.
Joe: You can't hit on all of them and I'm getting worried about Ghee and Muckelroy long term. Add Reggie Stephens as a possible contributor.
Josh: To be honest, I'm not so sure about Stephens. Clint Boling is getting his fair share of snaps under center, plus we've seen how quickly the Bengals abandon backup centers; think Jonathan Luigs. I'm sure Stephens is relatively safe, but the note on Boling working at center made me take notice.
Joe: I thought the same thing. But I also could see Bobbie, Livings, Jean-Gilles and Boling as their 4 guards. None could play Center until Boling took snaps. I think that move was more for the active gameday roster
Jason: I was really excited when the Bengals selected him because I was thinking that he could play guard and possibly start. I'm not going to lie, the fact that they're moving him to center, or trying to move him to center, bothers me.