In 2005, the Bengals were one of the top offenses in the NFL. They had young players that stepped up into their roles very well and got team wins.
It was a team that had a great receiver corps, with Chad Johnson considered one of the best in the league, T.J Houshmandzadeh, and rookie Chris Henry, who played very well for a young wideout.
Since then, Chad hasn’t been close to the best, T.J was shipped to Seattle, and Chris Henry has been in court more than in the end zone.
With the Bengals having one of the worst records last season, they have the sixth pick in the draft this season. They are looking for an offensive lineman, but they could also receive the best athlete in the draft, Michael Crabtree.
That will be decided next week. For now, they have to worry about what they have. Cincinnati drafted three wide receivers in 2008, and one has shown a glimpse of hope.
Andre Caldwell from University of Florida has a lot of potential.
During his career at Florida he had 166 catches for 2,175 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Also, in his senior season for the Gators he had 56 catches, 761 yards, and seven touchdowns.
With limited playing time and the back-up quarterback starting, he got his chance when both T.J and Chad were out with injuries.
In his time on the field as a rookie, Caldwell had 11 receptions accumulating 78 yards, and he ran the ball five times for 53 yards.
He has balanced athletic ability, rushed for 290 yards in college, and he averaged 13.88 yards per carry. On a trick play Caldwell has also thrown a touchdown on his only attempt.
These are some skills that the Bengals can utilize to make him their secret weapon. If he can keep practicing hard and consistently gets better, then they might not need to worry about lacking depth in their wide receivers.
The main thing that the Bengals missed in the 2008 season was explosive plays. That is why they were 4-11-1. They needed their leader and quarterback in Carson Palmer. With him back healthy this year, I feel that the Bengals will progress nicely.
They also have Jerome Simpson, who has not yet shown full potential. We are also still waiting for Chris Henry to show what he’s got instead of butterfingers.
When you look at the receiving corps, it’s not as bad as everyone thinks. They will lack T.J. and both his consistency and toughness, but they did a smart thing in gaining Laveranues Coles.
They will have their ups and downs and they may hit a few growing pains, but I think that the Bengals possess enough talent to have a productive year.
If Andre Caldwell can bring his play-making ability to the table, then the Bengals could once again be a dominant offensive force.