The Cincinnati Bengals had an extremely disappointing season in 2010, and I am surprised Marvin Lewis kept his job.
They have a lot of question marks heading into next season, and it’s possible that a couple of long-time stalwarts in Cincinnati, namely Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, will not return next year. The Bengals have a lot of talent on their roster; they just have to play better than they did last year.
Palmer has been the franchise quarterback for many years, but he didn’t look very impressive last season, and he may be going downhill. He has said he doesn’t want to play for the Bengals ever again, so they may have to start searching for a long-term option if they let him go.
Cedric Benson is a solid running back, but he is currently a free agent, and he may also not be back in Cincinnati. There isn’t a whole lot of depth behind him, so they may be in need of a new starting running back.
Chad Ochocinco is not the same player he once was, and the Bengals will most likely send him packing before next season. Terrell Owens had a nice season last year, but he won’t be back with the team in 2011. Jordan Shipley and Jerome Simpson are two nice young receivers to build around.
Jermaine Gresham performed well last season at the tight end position, and he will be a big part of the offense moving forward.
The offensive line is suspect, where only Andrew Whitworth is a reliable starter. Kyle Cook and Bobbie Williams are solid players too, but the rest of the line could use some upgrades.
The defensive line struggled at the beginning of last season, but they really started to show some improvements down the stretch. Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson are both pretty good pass-rushers, but the depth behind them is questionable due to Antwan Odom’s injury problems.
The defensive tackle position is set with Domata Peko, Pat Sims and Geno Atkins being the main contributors.
Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga are two solid young linebackers who will man two of the three linebacker spots. Dhani Jones led the team in tackles, but he is getting older and is a free agent. I don’t expect him to be back next season, so the team will have to find a replacement for him.
Jonathan Joseph is a free agent, but I don’t expect the Bengals to let him get away. He makes up one part of a very good cornerback tandem with Leon Hall, and Adam "Pacman" Jones is a solid backup when he is healthy. Reggie Nelson was impressive last season after being brought in via trade. Roy Williams is solid in run-defense, but he is a liability in coverage, so the Bengals may decide to bring in some competition for him.