Can it be done, is this finally the year? That is the question going through the minds of Bengals fans like myself this year. One reason we're hopeful is the defense; with the addition of a Tank, Roy Williams, and rookie Rey Maualuga a defense that look much improved toward the end of last year looks that much better.The other main question we is can Carson Palmer stay healthy?
The defense who finally appeared to have some teeth to it last year, most of this if not all this can be accredited to defense coordinator Mike Zimmer. Leslie Frazier Marvin Lewis's first defensive coordinator was let go " philosophy" difference, Chuck Bresnahan Lewis's second coordinator was let go after not being " aggressive" enough. Enter Zimmer who since being named defensive coordinator in 2000 for Dallas, has lead an attacking, aggressive 4-3 defense scheme, which is exactly what Cincinnati needs to run, in a division dominated by the Steelers and Ravens and the 3-4.
Keeping Palmer healthy full a full season seems to be the bigger issue. He has already had a severe knee injury, and is coming back from in elbow injury in his throwing arm. I don't care if Michael Vick was starting for this team (just metaphorically) no quaterback can stay healty without an solid O-line in front of him. Lets look at the O-line for a second. Only two of the five starters are proven Bobbie Williams and Andrew Whitworth. I'm not a huge fan of Andre Smith, personally I didn't like the pick, it took to long to get him signed and now with the fractured foot his season is pretty much over with, Kyle Cook the starting center, this is the man who despite the foot injury last season more than likey would not have beaten out Eric Ghiaciuc, who was like a screen door trying to stop water, everything came through. Nate Livings and Anthony Collins are still have alot to prove. The Steelers O-line is weak as well so we may be able to make this work
After two games in this 2009 season and a record of 1-1 there are still alot of questions to be answered with every team, if the Bengals can get to the bye week with most if not all starters healty, and a record that is close to even, the Bengals may be able to finish the 4-11-1 that they did last season.