2010 Cincinnati Bengals Season Preview

The Cincinnati Bengals captured the 2009 AFC North Division crown a year ago after going through several hardships throughout the course of the year that included the death of wide receiver Chris Henry. Still, the Bengals moved on and head coach Marvin Lewis won the NFL Coach of the Year. While the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Team Preview isn't predicting the same success, it will indicate that it isn't outside the realm of possibility.

While the division title was nice for the Bengals, the team stumbled into the post-season, losing four of their final five games, and then exited early in the opening round of the playoffs at the hands of the New York Jets. The Bengals have made back-to-back post-season appearance just once in their 42-year history, but will look to double that this season.

Offensively, the Bengals ranked 24th in the league in total offense, gaining 309.1 yards per game. Quarterback Carson Palmer's statistics dropped in 2009, as Cincinnati ranked 26th in the NFL in passing. The run game was more productive, ranking ninth in the league, at 128/5 yards per game behind Cedric Benson. Cincinnati averaged 19.1 points per game which ranked 22nd in the NFL, a number which they will look to improve upon in the 2010 NFL Season.

Defensively, the Bengals were vastly superior, ranking fourth in total defense surrendering 301.4 yards per game. They were equally effective against both the run and the pass, ranking seventh and sixth respectively. Scoring, the Bengals only surrendered 18.1 points per game, which ranked sixth in the league. They struggled slightly in the turnover department, coming out even on the year in turnover margin. It was only the second time in the history of the organization that the defense finished in the top-10 in both run and pass defense statistically in the NFL.
2010 Cincinnati Bengals Coaching Staff & ChangesMarvin Lewis is coming into his eighth season with the Bengals, as only a handful of coaches have have been tenured at their team longer. Lewis has tabbed a record of 56-57 with the team and a playoff record of 0-2.

This is the final year of Lewis' contract, and he has yet to get a playoff win during his time in Cincinnati. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has turned around this Bengal defense into one of the better defenses in the league, ranking in the top-10 in all major categories. Offensive coordinator Brad Bratkowski has been in charge of the offense since 2001, but needs to open up the passing game and playbook this season to avoid an uprising.
2010 Cincinnati Bengals Key Free Agency Acquisitions & LossesAcquistions
WR - Terrell Owens from Buffalo Bills
- Antonio Bryant from Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB - Pacman Jones from Free Agency
WR - Matt Jones from Free Agency
K - Mike Nugent from Arizona Cardinals
RB - Cedric Peerman from Detroit Lions

WR - Laveranues Coles to Free Agency
RB - Larry Johnson to Washington Redskins
K - Shayne Graham to Free Agency2010 Cincinnati Bengals NFL DraftRound 1: Pick 21 - TE, Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma)
Round 2: Pick 54 - DE, Carlos Dunlap (Florida)
Round 3: Pick 84 - WR, Jordan Shipley (Texas)
Round 3: Pick 96 - CB, Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)
Round 4: Pick 120 - DT, Geno Atkins (Georgia)
Round 4: Pick 131 - LB, Roddrick Muckelroy (Texas)
Round 5: Pick 152 - OG, Otis Hudson (Eastern Illinois)
Round 6: Pick 191 - WR, Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)
Round 7: Pick 228 - OL, Reggie Stephens (Iowa State)
2010 Cincinnati Bengals QuarterbacksPalmer's production on offense declined in 2009, far enough to rank 24th in the league in passing. That is a far cry from what has become expected of Palmer since bursting onto the scene as a Heisman Trophy winner out of USC and being productive in the NFL early in his Still, Palmer still possesses the arm strength and the play-making ability to compete among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Palmer threw for 3,094 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Behind Palmer is J.T. O'Sullivan with Carson Palmer's brother Jordan Palmer the No.3 quarterback on the depth chart.

2010 Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Depth Chart
QB - Carson Palmer
QB - J.T. O'Sullivan
QB - Jordan Palmer 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Running BacksCedric Benson was the cornerstone to the Bengal offense last season, tabbing 1,251 yards on 301 carries and six touchdowns. Benson was the bright-spot on the Cincinnati offense and was productive in the run department. Behind Benson is Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard, who together can prove to be an effective tandem for the Bengals, and try and open up the pass-game more. While the Bengals may not have as deep of a RB staff in 2010, they do have the best components that made up their rush offense from the 2009 season.

Projected 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Running Back Depth Chart
RB - Cedric Benson
RB - Bernard Scott
RB - Brian Leonard2010 Cincinnati Bengals Wide ReceiversWhen one thinks of the wide receivers at Cincinnati, Chad Ochocinco is the first name that likely comes to mind. Though, he is not the explosive player that he was in his prime, he still possesses play-making ability and is usually sure-handed. The Bengals bring in Terrell Owens on a one-year contract after the receiver played a year in Buffalo last season. This puts two of the games most high-profiled receivers in the NFL together. Owens led the Bills in receiving last season. Cincinnati also brought on Antonio Bryant to help and round out the unit. The Bengals drafted tight end Jermaine Gresham in the first round of this year's draft. Ochocinco led the team in receiving yards and receptions, but Andre Caldwell hauled in 51 receptions as well. Cincinnati also drafted receiver Jordan Shipley out of Texas in the third round of the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals draft.

Projected 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Depth Chart
WR - Chad Ochocinco
WR - Terrell Owens
- Antonio Bryant
WR - Matt Jones

Projected 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Tight End Depth Chart
TE - Jermaine Gresham
TE - Chase Coffman2010 Cincinnati Bengals Offensive LineThe Bengals re-signed right guard Bobbie Williams at the right guard position, which was a move that they needed to make, as Williams is a key portion to the unit that will remain together in 2010. The offensive line will need to provide Palmer with more time to release the ball in the pass game, as they were effective in the run blocking. The Bengals ranked ninth in the league in run production. Andrew Whitworth is solid in the left tackle position and 2009 first-round draft selection Andre Smith will continue his position at right tackle.

Projected 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Starting Offensive Line
LT - Andrew Whitworth
LG - Nate Livings
C - Kyle Cook
RG - Bobbie Williams
RT - Andre Smith2010 Cincinnati Bengals Defensive LineAntwan Odom anchors the defensive line unit, who recorded eight sacks in the 2009 in the first six week before falling to injury to his Achillies. Odom will be back this season to give the Bengals a leg up in the pass rush, with Robert Geathers on the other end. In the interior, Domata Peko and Tank Johnson will be the big men in the middle, trying to get penetration and get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Bengals drafted Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap in the second round, which could be a gem as Dunlap's stock dropped following an arrest after a projected first round selection.

Projected 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Starting Defensive Line
DE - Robert Geathers
- Domata Peko
DT - Tank Johnson
DE - Antwan Odom2010 Cincinnati Bengals LinebackersDhani Jones led the Bengals in tackles last season with 113 total and 76 solo tackles. Jones is the anchor of the linebacker corps and the signal caller. Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers round out the three linebacker set that will be the starters for the year. Maualuga is an aggressive player, but will need to improve in the pass protection. If the Bengals linebackers can stay healthy, there could be a couple of AFC Pro Bowlers from that unit by the end of the season. Look for the Bengals defense to be improved.

Projected 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Starting Linebackers
SLB - Rey Maualuga
- Dhani Jones
WLB - Keith Rivers
2010 Cincinnati Bengals SecondaryLeon Hall and Johnathan Joseph will anchor the corner backs in 2010 and the defense against the pass will begin and end with them. They will play a lot of man converge as defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer wants to do, in the aggressive nature of his defensive play calling. The corner backs play a big role in Zimmer's defensive scheme, as both had six interceptions and create multiple turnovers. At the safety positions Roy Williams and Chris Crocker. Crocker was hurt late in the 2009 season and the coverage suffered. The Bengals are deep at both the defensive back and safety positions, something which the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Season Preview indicates will be huge for the 'Natti.

Projected 2010 Cincinnati Bengals Starting Seconday
CB - Johnathan Joseph
CB - Leon Hall
SS - Roy Williams
FS - Chris Crocker

2010 Cincinnati Bengals Preview