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State of the Bengals - Training Camp Preview
David Dorey
July 20, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
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Training Camp Opens: July 30
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis (7th year)
Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium  Surface: FieldTurf
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 4-11-1

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 29 32 0 523 327 63% 4067 12.4 28 13 6 3
2007 24 10 0 575 373 65% 4131 11.1 26 20 9 11
2008 67 346 2 513 303 59% 2677 8.8 11 15 30 31

Quarterback - The Bengals are coming off a horrible season, again, but at least Carson Palmer wasn't to blame. He missed 12 games and the Bengals passing attack dropped like a rock when it relied on Ryan Fitzpatrick. This was an offense that had a top ten passing game for several years under Palmer and that seems to be quickly forgotten in the fantasy world. Palmer is back and proclaimed himself as 100% recovered from his elbow injury in July. He will no longer have his favorite outlet of T.J. Houshmandzadeh but the addition of Laveranues Coles could prove an equal impact.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 391 1559 4 14 86 61 71% 416 0 21 22 11
2007 376 1468 3.9 10 96 75 78% 535 2 25 24 17
2008 345 1108 3.2 4 88 53 60% 375 0 31 32 32

Running Backs - The Bengals took the unenviable place of the worst rushing attack in the NFL last year - dead last in rushing yards and scores by running backs. Cedric Benson landed with the team and started playing around mid-season with some success and even ended on a very hot note with 171 yards in Cleveland and then 111 yards against the Chiefs. The Bengals signed him to a longer contract in the offseason and it appears that Benson has found a home where everyone doesn't hate him. Of course that is on the worst rushing team in the league, but at least Benson had a clean slate. The Bengals also drafted Bernard Scott with their 6.36 draft pick and the rookie has looked better than advertised in the offseason. Kenny Watson remains the #2 unless Scott can dislodge him in training camp.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 390 232 59% 3288 14.2 26 1 1
2007 432 266 62% 3263 12.3 24 4 2
2008 344 200 58% 1964 9.8 11 23 20

Wide Receivers - Here is where the interest should be this season. Carson Palmer is back and healthy but T.J. Houshmandzadeh left for Seattle. That means Chad OchoCinco remains the #1 wideout after his annual bitching and moaning in the offseason. Laveranues Coles was acquired and should be a nice addition to the mix though he won't be the same possession style receiver that Houshmandzadeh was. Chris Henry remains and even second year player Andre Caldwell has turned heads. This unit should return to being one of the best this year and has shown above, it was a top ranked unit before it all fell apart without Palmer in 2008. Despite facing Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice each year, this season has a softer schedule and should see a return to a vaunted passing attack which made Chad Johnson the #1 wideout in receiving yards in both 2006 and 2007.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 51 35 69% 374 10.7 2 26 27
2007 43 32 74% 333 10.4 0 32 32
2008 74 49 66% 341 7 0 29 31

Tight Ends
- This has always been a fantasy wasteland but curiously enough, the Bengals added Chase Coffman out of Missouri with their 3.34 pick and he's pretty much a pure receiving tight end. The loss of Houshmandzadeh leaves a hole over the middle that perhaps Coffman could eventually fill but historically the Bengals rarely use the position as a receiver.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - First and foremost, we need to see that Palmer is truly 100% healthy because if he is, almost everyone on this team is being underrated after a disastrous 2008 season. If he is not healthy or if he is again injured, we can expect more disaster. The most notable feature here will be the passing game with Palmer playing again and seeing how Coles may mix in with OchoCinco. Take special note on Coles because he could end up as a major sleeper this year. Lastly, Coffman spawns little optimism as a rookie on a team that never throws to tight ends, but the Bengals got him for a reason and it was not to be just a blocker. This is another interesting camp worth watching.

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