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The Cincinnati Bengals 2010 Roster: What Does It All Mean

Terrell Owens is just one of several improvements the team made over the 2009 opening day roster.
Terrell Owens is just one of several improvements the team made over the 2009 opening day roster.

Cincinnati's weekend, much like any NFL team, was busy. Getting rid of talented players, whether historically productive or potentially effective, is always tough. But the truth is, Bengals fans are inexperienced watching talented players walk because there's simply more talented players on the roster. Though it's questionable how talented those players were in the first place, as none were claimed off waivers, nor signed when released into free agency. It's still early though.

The weekend has passed and two things are certain. This is your 2010 Cincinnati Bengals. And by this time next week, we'll be analyzing the team's first regular season game against the New England Patriots. Does it get much better than this? Let's take a look at the weekend that was.

CHANGES FROM 2009. Quite honesty, I feel this squad is the best unit that Marvin Lewis has built yet. They've improved across the board, except for maybe quarterback where there's no real gain for an effective veteran quarterback where Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour have a combined 12 regular season pass attempts. Let's take a look at several areas on the team's roster to see where they've changed, compared to the team's 2009 roster announcement.

  • Offensive Line: Reggie Stephens replaces Jonathan Luigs, who very well could be moving on with the next phase in his life after a hip injury that he has yet to recover from.
  • Wide Receiver: Terrell Owens and Jordan Shipley replaces Laveranues Coles and Andre Caldwell, who, based on the preseason, was demoted as the team's fourth wide receiver.
  • Running Back: Cedric Peerman replaces DeDe Dorsey.
  • Tight End: Jermaine Gresham replaces J.P. Foschi, who was released by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Reggie Kelly replaces Daniel Coats, who essentially replaced Chase Coffman.
  • Defensive Ends: Carlos Dunlap replaces Michael Johnson, who moved to outside linebacker, replacing Rashad Jeanty as the backup strong-side outside linebacker.
  • Defensive Tackles: Last year the Bengals kept three defensive tackles in Domata Peko, Pat Sims and Tank Johnson. This year, they add Geno Atkins to the mix. Scary.
  • Linebackers: Michael Johnson replaces Rashad Jeanty, backup as a strong-side linebacker who will split time at defensive end. Roddrick Muckelroy replaces Abdul Hodge and the Bengals kept a seventh linebacker, unlike last year, with Dan Skuta.
  • Cornerbacks: Brandon Ghee and Adam Jones replaces David Jones and Geoffrey Pope. Could cornerback be the most improved position, in terms of depth?
  • Safeties: Reggie Nelson replaces Tom Nelson and Kyries Hebert. Anyone want to call that a draw?

BIGGEST SURPRISES. Again, I'm a bit vain. Based on our roster prediction last week, we scored on 51 of the team's 53 players. The two that we missed were virtual surprises. We thought Chase Coffman would make the squad, mostly because they'd go with no fullbacks. That way Reggie Kelly and Daniel Coats can work more in the backfield, giving the Bengals a double tight end formation with Coffman and Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals, who are likely sticking with their physical philosophy over finesse, elected to drop Coffman.

Fortunately, the tight end cleared waivers and the Bengals signed him to the team's practice squad. Kyries Hebert was less of a surprise. Our argument for him was on special teams; unfortunately, he virtually added very little on defense. Ultimately, the team just didn't release him on Saturday, they traded cornerback David Jones to Jacksonville for former first round pick Reggie Nelson, who likely replaces Hebert on special teams.

DID DAN LEFEVOUR MAKE THE BENGALS BETTER? Dan LeFevour was claimed by the Bengals off waivers from the Chicago Bears, who selected the quarterback in the sixth round in the 2010 NFL draft. I know what he did in college, becoming only the second Division 1 quarterback to record 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in a single season and becoming the only quarterback in Division 1 history to record over 12,000 yards passing and 2,5000 yards rushing (second all-time in total offensive yards).

Dan LeFevour's passing at Central Michigan University
Year COMP ATT Comp % Yards TDs INTs QB Rating
2006 247 388 63.7 3,031 26 10 146.2
2007 355 543 65.4 3,652 27 13 133.5
2008 251 376 66.8 2,784 21 6 144.2
2009 318 456 69.7 3,438 28 7 150.3
Career 1,171 1,763 66.4% 12,905 102 36 142.9
Dan LeFevour's rushing at Central Michigan University
Year Games Rushes Yards Avg. TDs
2006 14 123 521 4.0 7
2007 14 188 1,122 6.0 19
2008 11 168 592 3.5 6
2009 14 183 713 3.9 15
Career 53 671 2,948 4.4 47

But let's be honest. This isn't college. Ridding themselves of J.T. O'Sullivan may have pleased Bengals fans, but I'm not exactly sure where promoting Jordan Palmer as the team's immediate backup with LeFevour being the third-string quarterback, makes the team better. Maybe we can call it a draw?

Quite honestly, I hope we never have to find out.

IS CEDRIC PEERMAN TIED TO BRIAN LEONARD'S RETURN? The truth is, we're not exactly sure how long Bengals running back Brian Leonard will be out. His injury could last as long as a month into the season, as reported when specifics of his injury were known. The Bengals kept Peerman, who recorded three rushing touchdowns during the preseason, ultimately winning the job after a 93-yard touchdown run against the Colts.

Marvin Lewis loves Peerman. After the team's 30-28 win over the Colts, Lewis said of Peerman: “He shows the speed that we know he's got. That was the thing Cedric had coming out of Virginia a year ago. It kind of got him elevated up in the draft. We know he can do it. He's been an impressive guy for us.” While the team's roster was being set on Saturday, Lewis reiterated his approval of Peerman saying that he's "done a great job."

Even when Leonard comes back, the team may keep Peerman around longer, depending on their confidence with Leonard's recovery. I doubt that the team will waive Peerman on Leonard's return, because they may want their insurance policy (Peerman) around until they feel fully confident of Leonard's health. They could always use an additional roster spot or two, depending on their opponents. But I wouldn't be surprised if Peerman sticks around throughout the season.

PRACTICE SQUAD. They kept a talented pool of young players on the team's practice squad, ranging from Jeromy Miles and Rico Murray in the secondary, to the tackling machine Vincent Rey, the Bengals established additional depth if needed with one remaining slot to fill. Dezmon Briscoe elected to "earn" more money with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I find no fault with either side. If Tampa Bay wants to pay Briscoe over $300,000 to work on the practice squad, no one can fault Briscoe. Nor can you fault the Cincinnati Bengals for giving the standard rate of approximately $5,200/week that mostly other teams are offering. It would have been nice to have Briscoe, but at the end of the day he was a wide receiver drafted in the sixth round that no one else drafted through five rounds and no else bothered to claim off waivers. In other words, I'm glad we can move from the debate of who's better: Briscoe or God!