CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Andrew Whitworth #77 and Anthony Collins #73 after scoring a touchdown during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals 34-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
There's part of us that enjoys the optimistic, positive reinforcement of ideals and beliefs, confirming our personal suspicions. Hearing that the Cincinnati Bengals had a good draft, only solidifies something that we've already known. However when others say it, it solidifies our beliefs and in some cases, adds a strut to our collective step.
Evan Silva with RotoWorld.com lists the top offensive lines heading into the 2012 season. The top of the pack starts with the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals... whoa, what?
Parting with longtime guards Bobbie Williams and Nate Livings, the Bengals have stayed true to form by replacing them with interior road graders Wharton and Zeitler. This is a power-blocking unit with impressive depth. Collins, Boling, Roland, and Bell have combined for 149 career starts, and only Bell (31) is over the age of 30. While this was already a top-five group in pass protection, the run blocking should improve in the post-Livings era. Offensive line play is a strength in Cincinnati, and if a starter goes down, the Bengals can replace him with a tested vet.
Not to mention Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth admitting that he was dealing with tendinitis and muscle loss, impacting his overall run blocking. Which showed. Full recovery is expected. With the arrival of Wharton and Zeitler, projected as the team's starting offensive guards during the season opener, the Bengals offensive line is that much improved. What makes it better, however, isn't just the starters. Rather the depth because if someone goes down with an injury, there's players in place that could step in.
Not a bad offseason, don't you think? But that just confirms our own suspicions.