National Football Post’s Matt Bowen has a very good article out on the Bengals and their prospects for 2010. Its definitely worth checking out here.
Bowen calls the Bengals “underrated” and “overlooked” and sees them as a real threat again in the AFC. He goes on to say many of the same things found here at the Gab, about the team having added excellent weapons to an offense that had nothing to offer at the end of 2009, particularly WR Antonio Bryant and TE Jermaine Gresham.
On paper, the defense will be strong again. The running game will be steady and reliable, and now there are playmakers in the passing game.
So it all comes down to QB Carson Palmer.
Bowen calls Palmer a prototype franchise QB (which he is), but feels that he hasn’t played like one of late, noting his declining numbers since the last AFC North championship in 2005. For the Bengals to maintain their success from last year and build upon it in 2010, Palmer will be the key:
But, it still comes back to Palmer. No excuses. He has the weapons that every QB in this league wants when heading to the stadium on Sunday. Now, he just has to play like a QB with franchise-level talent.
Of course, I agree. Palmer needs to show he still has the goods, but in my view its just as important that he stays healthy. Number 9 has been plagued with both major and minor dings throughout his career, notably with knee, elbow, and hand issues limiting his effectiveness. Add to that the aforementioned dearth of options in 2009, and the results could have been expected.
I for one see Palmer proving he is still the man who won a Heisman Trophy and became the face and the leader of a franchise’s turnaround from the depths. Nonetheless, as Bowen so eloquently puts, he must do it on the field. He can’t complain about the talent around him.