Much of the team's offensive line seems to be totally regressing, emphasized being on the thrones of being dominated when protecting Carson Palmer. But unlike 2009, when Cedric Benson rushed for 100 yards in six games, the team's feature running back has yet to record more than 81 yards on the ground. Furthermore, in only six games last season, Benson averaged less than four yards a carry. He's achieved that, thanks partly to a regressed offensive line with no fullback, during the season's first three games. Benson finally got off the schnide with a 4.0 yard/rush average against the Cleveland Browns last week.
After being sacked four times against the Browns, a team that came into the game ranked 23rd in the league with four sacks, Palmer is on-pace to being sacked 28 times this year. While that might seem like a rather acceptable number, it's not just the sacks that cause problems. Pressure forces a quarterback to throw before the route's completed, many times ending with an incomplete pass or worse, an interception. Including the four sacks, Palmer was knocked down seven times by the Browns defense; three times by Matt Roth, who lines up across the right tackle.
So far this season, Palmer has been hit 25 times in four games, or just over six times a game.
|Opponent||Times Sacks||Times Hit|
|@ New England||1||6|
You could identity many problems with the protection and run blocking, ranging from Kyle Cook and Nate Livings. But it seems most of the protection breakdowns typically come from the right tackle spot, with Dennis Roland manning the position during a majority of the snaps this year (where the hell is Anthony Collins?).
Andre Smith, the man that's supposed to become a foundation piece on the offensive line, is slowly being worked into the fray. Before sitting against the Carolina Panthers in week three, Smith was averaging 10-12 snaps. Against the Cleveland Browns, Roland and Smith "took roughly the same amount of snaps at right tackle." The Bengals are evaluating the position to basically find out if Smith is ready to take over for Roland.
“Well, he played more snaps yesterday. We’ll evaluate that this week and see what’s the best way to go. But we want to keep putting our foot on him and pressing it and trying to see what’s the best option for us there.”
My question is: How badly is Smith not ready if the solution is to play Roland over him?