Monday, August 10, 2009

Same Old Bengals

I want to start my Bengals stuff with something positive. After all, we're four days away from the first preseason game against the Saints. But that's impossible with this club, because you had to think the Bengals first round draft choice, Andre Smith would holdout, not because of where he was picked (sixth overall) but because of the red flags. It's a pattern that Bengals repeat with remarkable frequency. Choose talent over character. I mean look at Chris Henry. Granted, this year he's been a model citizen but considering his run ins with the law, it begs the question, why give this guy so many chances.

The problem with bad character guys is that you can't depend on them. If they're going to act badly off the field there's nothing to indicate that won't happen on the field. And if they're off field problems interfere with their ability to play football, why pick them? Remember Stanley Wilson's cocaine induced drunkenness which kept him out of Super Bowl XXIII? Bad character off the field hurts the team. Look, I'm all for giving people multiple chances but when they demonstrate they don't care about the team, it's time to change your policies and stop picking these guys.

The Bengals needed to draft an offensive tackle because of the need to revamp their offensive line with injuries to Levi Jones, and last year's loss of Willie Anderson. It was almost a year ago when we saw what would happen if the line failed. In a preseason game against the Saints, Carson Palmer had his nose broken. This year Levi's gone and so is center Eric Ghiaciuc. You've got to protect your franchise quarterback or else the season is over. Just like it was when Carson went down last year.

That brings us to offensive tackle Andre Smith. Look, I admit he's a huge talent. He won the Outland Trophy for 2008. But Pro Football Weekly in their 2009 draft guide rates Virginia's Eugene Monroe ahead of Smith. Yes, it might be choosing between chocolate and vanilla. But the Bengals should have heeded the red flags. Those red flags include getting suspended before the Sugar Bowl for allegedly dealing with an agent. Then he left the NFL Combine early. And he was unimpressive at his pro-day workout. These are important events in his professional career and he intentionally botched them. (This wikipedia article details all of these events.) Pro Football Weekly says he has "[q]uestionable character." Pg. 61. So, why should we believe he would come to camp, to start his professional career on the right note? Nothing. Same old Bengals.

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