I'm very much a homer when it comes to offensive linemen. There's no position in football that requires team work, continuity, intelligence, instinct, power, quickness all rolled up into one. And when you have five guys that use all those skills, you have a very successful offensive team.
So you can only imagine how nice it was to hear Marvin Lewis reiterate, specifically, extension contracts for the offensive line.
Agents for Jones and Steinbach confirmed this past week that talks have begun with the Bengals on extensions.
"I think they're committed to trying to lock up their players, especially a premier left tackle," said Ken Zuckerman, Jones' agent. "There's no deadline, really. If it's right, it's right."
Lewis said he would like to sign the offensive linemen "as quickly as we can tie those things up. But it takes two to get it done."
A little recap on the line.
Levi Jones, the Bengals first pick in the 2002 NFL draft -- some cried bloody murder -- will enter his final season under contract. Jones was the second alternate in the 2005 NFL Pro-Bowl. However, this was a crime. Jones shutout some of the more prominent pass rushers in the league last season --
Eric Steinbach, the Bengals second round in the 2003 NFL draft, will enter his final season under contract. Steinbach is one of the better pulling guards in the NFL. His versatility is pretty good too. Against Jacksonville, Steinbach came in for an injured Rich Braham at center, and the offense never skipped a beat.
Willie Anderson, a three-time Pro-Bowler (2003-05), will enter his final season under contract. Anderson, without a doubt, is the horse that draws the offenses carriage. He's the man and my favorite player.
Rich Braham, a long-time respected and valued veteran among Bengals fans, will enter his final season under contract.
Bobbie Williams, an unrestricted free agent in 2004, will enter his final season under contract. Williams with Anderson on the right side of the line is enough weight to sink the Titanic... on land.
All five have developed a very strong and unified offensive line around the league; some say it's one of the best in the league. All five contributed to back-to-back record rushing seasons by Rudi Johnson. Carson Palmer was sacked only 19 times on 528 drop backs -- only Peyton Manning had a comparable percentage.
This high potent offense isn't the result of Chad Johnson grabbing impossible downfield catches through the air, nor is it the zig-zag out routes by T.J. Houshmandzadeh; it's the time given to calmly check his reads, set his feet and fire 90 MPH fastballs 50 yards down field.
It would be foolish for the Bengals not to sign this offensive line past 2006.
In other news, the Bengals expectedly declined to match the contract offer from the Texans on Kevin Walter.