Bengals Position by Position Breakdown: Day #7 DE
It’s not a secret that the Bengal’s pass rush over the past few years has been average at best. The Bengal’s defense ranked very high in 2009 despite another underachieving year for the defensive ends. Cincinnati will rely on the addition of their 2nd round pick, Carlos Dunlap and a combination of veterans, to chase down opposing QB’s this year. Dunlap is a very fast and physical kid, but in college he was constantly ridiculed for his effort and character. The recovery of Antwan Odom seems to be at the forefront of the Bengals pass rushing concerns. After suffering a devastating torn Achilles tendon in just the sixth game of last year, Odom has spent the better part of the last year working on a return to the NFL. When the Bengals got Odom from Tennessee, he was highly underachieving and didn’t make even a whisper of noise in the quarterbacks ears. However, going into 2009, he put on more pounds and muscle which in the end helped him lead the league in sacks going into week 6. He had an amazing 5 sack game vs. the Packers which helped Cincy hold back Green bays explosive offense and lead the team to a win. Cincinnati will undoubtedly need similar production from Odom in 2010 if it wants to bolster its numbers.News looks good though, from what was said at mini camps it definitely looks like he will be ready to go at the start of training camp. Frostee Rucker, Jonathan Fanene, and Robert Geathers all have played well in limited roles at DE but none proved to be the disruptive force the Bengals are seeking. Also the very talented Michael Johnson has moved to LB so that hurts the depth as well. This looks to be one of the thinnest groups the Bengals have this year and they are definitely the big question mark of the defense.
Predicted Depth Chart as Regular Season Begins-
Starters- Antwan Odom and Robert Geathers/Carlos Dunlap
Backup- Jonathan Fanene, Frostee Rucker
Cut/Practice Squad- Rahim Alem