As I'm sure everyone in Cincinnati is aware, the Bengals are a bit of a question mark this season. Even before Chad Ocho Cinco hurt himself in the pre-season, I didn't have high hopes for this team. Plus, with the addition of Chris Henry I am just perplexed. Coach Marvin Lewis was very clear in his distaste for Henry and the ownership went behind his back to add him again. That sort of action from the head office doesn't bode well for the cooperation of this team. That's just the behind the scenes situation.
At the fore-front we have injuries, most notably T.J. Houshmanzadeh. Beyond that, we dropped the ailing Rudi Johnson, even after off-season touting of his increased strength. The question becomes whether or not Chris Perry and Kenny Watson are capable of getting something going on the ground. At the same time, we need Carson Palmer to be able to get the ball to T.J. and Chad. We also need them to be healthy enough to even be on the field. This could all fall apart if our O-Line is as thin as it was in the pre-season. Nothing is going to happen if Carson is on the ground the whole season.
Another urgent question that will be answered is whether Keith Rivers is enough to turn the defense around. Can this team start to stop the run and can we cause some serious turn overs in the secondary like we did in 2005. If this team isn't scoring much on offense then we will need the guys on D to really step up and stay healthy.
Health is really the key to this season. If our guys can get healthy and stay healthy, then we have a good chance of competing for the division title. We also need to stay out of trouble, and keep the press for this team positive. The guys need to take the criticism of the past and focus that into their game play. If they can play as a team and stay positive, good things can happen. This is a division that is far more open than people think.