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Filed under: ranks offensive positions

Wanted to take this moment and review positional rankings on offense -- they cover defense this upcoming week.

First, the general. They ranked the Cincinnati Bengals as having the fourth best Quarterback behind the Colts, Patriots and Saints.

Carson Palmer rebounded from a devastating knee injury in 2005 to play all 16 games last season, throwing for 4,035 yards with a 62.3 completion percentage. He is big, strong, has a great arm and can be lethal running the no-huddle offense. He has worked hard this offseason to improve his mobility -- he was sacked 36 times last season -- and passing on rollouts. He did not play great at the end of the 2006 season and seemed to force the ball at times, but his weaknesses are fixable and he is poised to have a great year. Following Anthony Wright's signing with the Giants, the backup role goes to veteran Doug Johnson, who has a good feel for the offense and good overall skills. Rookie Jeff Rowe will fill the No. 3 spot and will be brought along slowly. ranked the Cincinnati Bengals Running Backs as 12th best -- sounds fair.

Despite finishing the 2006 season with the 26th-ranked rushing offense in the NFL, the Bengals have a lot of talent in their backfield. Part of the Bengals' inability to run the ball stems from not staying committed to run and becoming pass happy. Starting RB Rudi Johnson just didn't get enough touches last season. He is a solid No. 1 running back, but he is also a back who gets better with touches because he can wear down a defense. Backup Chris Perry has missed a lot of time with injuries but when healthy is an excellent threat catching the ball out of the backfield. Kenny Watson is also a player who can fill a third-down role, and the team spent its second-round pick this past draft of former Auburn RB Kenny Irons. Throw in FB Jeremi Johnson, who is an excellent player, and all of a sudden this is a team with a lot of talent in the backfield. The key in 2007 will be staying more committed to the run.

Like Quarterback, the Bengals wide receivers were ranked 4th.

This is an elite group of wide receivers, but Chris Henry's eight-game suspension will hurt. Henry has his problems off the field, but when he steps between the lines, he creates mismatches and consistently makes big plays. He is a touchdown machine. Although Henry will be missed, Tab Perry is a player who could blow up in Henry's absence. Perry is tough as nails, strong and determined with a great blend of size and speed. It can be argued that Chad Johnson is as good as any receiver in the league today, and diagnosing weaknesses in his game is difficult to do. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is an exceptional second option with a high football IQ who consistently exploits single coverage in the short and intermediate areas.

Bengals tight ends ranked 27:

The Bengals' offense doesn't utilize the tight end much, but ninth-year veteran Reggie Kelly did have a productive season in 2006. Kelly has good size and athleticism, but has inconsistent hands and is an average route runner. He is a solid blocker and uses his foot agility and strong hands to gain leverage on the edge. Backups Ronnie Ghent and Tim Day are untested players who may be utilized more in 2007. Ghent was an excellent receiving tight end coming out of college, but is more of an H-back player now. He would be a liability as a run-blocker in goal-line and short-yardage situations. Day is a limited athlete and would be used strictly as a blocker.

Finally, the Bengals offensive line, even after losing Eric Steinbach and Rich Braham, are 5:

The Bengals have a combination of experience and youth with right tackle Willie Anderson entering his 12th season and the other four players following his lead. They have a quality left tackle in Levi Jones, who is more of a finesse-type blocker than a smashmouth drive blocker, and massive guards Bobby Williams and Andrew Whitworth, both of whom are in the 340-pound range. The center position is adequately handled by third-year man Eric Ghiaciuc, though he is still learning the nuances of the position at the NFL level. Cincinnati was in the middle of the pack last year with 36 sacks allowed and just 3.7 yards per carry, and having pretty much stayed put with the same group, it will be difficult to show much improvement.