While at my job -- the one that I'm supposed to show up for to put on a happy face, letting them know that I do, in fact, work for them still -- I got a thought in my head that began with wondering which squad at a better group of wide receivers. The 2005 squad or the 2010 squad. Then it morphed into the entire offense. I choose not to do the entire team; simply because I'll just say it right now, the 2010 defense is miles better than the 2005 squad, whose greatest contribution was turnovers (I mean no offense, John). That being said, let's compare the two offenses from 2005 and 2010 and then you guys chime in on your thoughts of the two squad comparisons.
|Quarterback||2005||While the same quarterback is playing on this year's squad that started on the 2005 squad, Palmer five years ago was largely considered an elite quarterback before his knee was shredded by Kimo Von Oelhoffen. It's not that Palmer is a worse quarterback now, but he's definitely trying to recapture that magic; which he very well could do this year.|
|Running Back||2010||The Bengals are sporting perhaps the best running back combination during Marvin Lewis' tenure to date. While Rudi Johnson was good in his own right, I believe Cedric Benson is a slightly better back -- consider that if Benson plays all 16 games at his 92 yards/game pace, he'd have broken the franchise record by nearly 100 yards. Even if you consider them a draw, Bernard Scott's versatility and Brian Leonard's third-down contributions last year gives this year's unit the edge.|
With Pro Bowlers Willie Anderson and Levi Jones (second alternate), this unit allowed only 21 quarterback sacks; protection from this group allowed Palmer to take 5-7 step drops routinely; unlike 2009 where a majority of Palmer's passes came during short drops. Furthermore, the team's rushing offense of 4.2 yards/rush is the highest since 2000. This group also included left guard Eric Steinbach, who would be a second alternate in the 2006 Pro Bowl, the cagey veteran leader Richie Braham and Bobbie Williams. This was one hell of a unit.
|Full Back||2005||While hitting the height of his prime, Jeremi Johnson was considered one of the better fullbacks in the NFL with his power and decent hands skills out of the backfield. Johnson would become a shell of himself last year, his final year in the NFL as of now. The Bengals aren't necessarily having a problem with fullbacks; however it's expected that they'll be employing two unproven players in either Fui Vakapuna or Joe Tronzo.|
|Tight End||2010||With Jermaine Gresham, we admit we're ranking this year's tight end unit higher based off potential; something we couldn't do with the fullbacks group. Aside from that, the Bengals will bring Reggie Kelly back and if Chase Coffman rebounds after a redshirt rookie year, this squad of tight ends could easily be the best unit fielded during the Marvin Lewis era.|
I know this will cause some debate. With the team having a potential three-way threat with Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens and Antonio Bryant, one could argue that it falls short of the Bengals Big-Three in 2005. Chad was much younger, dominating as one of the league's best receivers. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was coming into his own as a possession receiver that routinely found gaps in the coverage, converting 67% of his receptions for first downs. Chris Henry was one of the best number-three receivers in the game, creating serious matchup problems with his size and athleticism who scored a touchdown on nearly 20% of his 31 receptions that year.
Outside of the big three is where the 2010 squad comes strong. While the 2005 squad also had Kevin Walter (whose been the #2 receiver for Houston for a few seasons) and Kelly Washington (greatest endzone dancer in the history of endzone dancing), the Bengals 2010 lineup with Jordan Shipley and Andre Caldwell comes into the new season with generally much higher expectations.
But I couldn't pick one group as being better than the other. Both are unique and this year's squad could be just as strong and entertaining as that playoff team in 2005.
Your turn. How do you compare the two offenses?