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News » Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2009-02-28

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2009-02-28

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2009-02-28

Coach Marvin Lewis has said the team will be proactive in free agency. Not only because the team wants to make upgrades after a 4-11-1 season but also because the Bengals have 15 free agents (10 unrestricted, 5 restricted).

After the team gave kicker Shayne Graham the franchise tag, Lewis said: "We will continue to talk with several of our other pending free agents in an ongoing attempt to re-sign them. Some will want to test their value in the market, and we of course will look at the market for possible new players.

"But as I've said before, the best value for all sides tends to be when a team re-signs its own key free agents, and we will make every attempt to re-sign the players we consider most important for 2009."


1. Offensive line: After giving up 51 sacks last season, the Bengals are lacking depth with linemen and don't have a lot of experience. With the sixth pick in the draft, they could be looking at left tackle since Levi Jones has been injury plagued. With Stacy Andrews and Eric Ghiaciuc being free agents, it's doubtful that both will remain, and since Andrews can play both guard and tackle, which means the team will be looking for a center.

2. Running back: Cedric Benson came on during the last three games of the season, but he was the only back to do anything. Even if they re-sign Benson, they need a consistent second back. Dede Dorsey is a restricted free agent, but has had his share of injuries. Even if the team re-signs Benson, they are sorely lacking in depth.

3. Defensive line: Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer likes aggressive, blitzing units, but the Bengals leading sackers had only four and the team just totaled 17. The team likes Pat Sims' development, but needs a couple more big bodies and players who can put pressure on the passer.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: PK Shayne Graham: Tendered at $2.483M.



--OT Stacy Andrews was given the franchise tag by the Bengals last year and showed improvement before a knee injury in Week 16. The team is negotiating to re-sign him.

--RB Cedric Benson will attempt to test the free-agency waters after he had three 100-yard games in the four Bengals' wins after being signed in early October.

--CB Jamar Fletcher signed with the Bengals after Week 3 and made two starts. He is best suited as a nickel corner and is not a high priority to re-sign.

--C Eric Ghiaciuc started all 16 games for the first time in his career. He is a good pass blocker but has been overmatched against nose tackles in the AFC North. He is not expected to return.

--WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh is the top free agent at his position and has said that his chances of being with another team are "greater than 90 percent." He has three straight seasons of at least 90 catches and is a very good short- to medium-route receiver.

--DT John Thornton has been one of the emotional leaders of the defense during his six-year stay with the club. The team is looking at the possibility of bringing him back in a reserve role.


--S John Busing (not tendered as RFA) saw most of his action on special teams and limited action in the secondary.

--WR Glenn Holt (not tendered as RFA) was the Bengals' top kick returner for most of the season and was the fourth receiver on multiple sets.

--LB Corey Mays (not tendered as RFA) played primarily on special teams but made an impact on defense in the Week 15 game against Washington with a forced fumble and fumble recovery.


--LB Rashad Jeanty (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) made 15 starts and was fourth on the team in tackles and second on special teams. He is a disruptive pass rusher and good tackler.

--LB Brandon Johnson (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) started the last nine games after rookie Keith Rivers was injured and was second on the team in tackles. He is very quick and an effective pass rusher.


--DT Orien Harris saw occasional duty on the defensive line and made one start.


--P Ryan Plackemeier (waivers Redskins).


--LB/DE Darryl Blackstock: Potential UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--FB/TE Daniel Coats: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.

--S Chris Crocker: UFA; $10M/4 yrs, $3.5M SB.

--RB DeDe Dorsey (not tendered as RFA); terms unknown.


--QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: UFA Bills; terms unknown.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 28, 2009

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