Fox Sports ranks the Bengals as having the second best offensive line.
The only line besides Denver's to rank in the top 10 in all four of Football Outsiders' O-line stats -- Adjusted Line Yards, Power Success, Run Stuffs, and Adjusted Sack Rate. They gave up only 22 sacks, second in the league behind Indy. Why is this line so underrated? Well, can you name two of the five Cincinnati linemen?
Left tackle Levi Jones and right tackle Willie Anderson are the "marquee" guys here, as much as anyone in this group gets any recognition. Jones is good against both the run and the pass, but limiting Pittsburgh's Joey Porter to just half a sack in three matchups last year tells you that his specialty is blitz pickup. He's on the verge of joining that elite group of left tackles. Anderson went to his third straight Pro Bowl after the season, and the honors are deserved -- the 11-year veteran is smart, tough and a total competitor who has played in 96 consecutive games. Guards Bobbie Williams (right) and Eric Steinbach (left) anchor the inside -- Williams has only missed one snap in the last two seasons, and Steinbach was an AFC Pro Bowl alternate. Steinbach can play center and tackle as well. The starting center, veteran Rich Braham, may soon give way to 2005 fourth-rounder Eric Ghiaciuc.
From the standpoint of sheer athletic balance, this might be the most impressive line in the league right now. Perhaps the vox populi should pick up on what the NFL already knows?
Is this really surprising?