2001 NFL Football Preview
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Cincinnati Bengals

Downtrodden franchise looks to turn offensive

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Posted: Wednesday July 18, 2001 11:08 AM

 
  • 2001 schedule
  • Head coach: Dick LeBeau (first full season, 4-9-0 career)
  • Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium
  • Bengals all-time record: 223-288-1
  • 2000 rankings: Offense, 29th; Defense, 22nd
  • 2000 team statistics
  • 2000 season results
  • Bengals alerts from CNNSI.com!
  • City Page: Cincinnati, Ohio 
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    Cincinnati opens its training camp at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., on July 20.

    By Jarrod Breeze, CNNSI.com

    Dick LeBeau, 63, begins his first full season as Bengals head coach with a new offensive coordinator to help improve the league's worst passing offense. But one problem persists -- Mike Brown still is in charge of a team that hasn't had a winning season in 10 years.

    The Bengals can make the playoffs if ... Bob Bratkowski can work the same magic with Cincinnati's passing game as he did when he led Seattle to the No.1 ranking in 1997. The Bengals were the only team to average more yards rushing (144.6, second in the league) than passing (121.6) last season. The return of top receiver Darnay Scott, who missed last season with a broken leg, will help.

    Pivotal games: As usual, the Bengals' season could be over by October. After opening at home against New England, Cincinnati plays three of its next four games against division foes, including back-to-back meetings with Tennessee and Super Bowl champion Baltimore.

    On the hot seat: Quarterback Akili Smith looks to be the second coming of David Klingler. The third-overall pick in the 1999 draft hasn't been able to grasp the offense and was benched after 10 games last season with the league's worse QB rating (52.8) of any regular. Now, he must beat out free-agent signee Jon Kitna to avoid becoming an official bust.

    Up-and-coming: Wide receiver Peter Warrick led the Bengals with 51 catches for 592 yards in his first season. Cincinnati's 2000 first-round pick displayed his multidimensional weaponry by scoring touchdowns three different ways (four receiving, two rushing and one via punt return).

    Sports Illustrated's season preview will post Aug. 29.

  • AFC Central Previews: Ravens | Bengals | Browns | Jags | Steelers | Titans

    Cincinnati Offseason Movement
    Signings  Departures 
    Michael Basnight, RB  LaVell Boyd, WR 
    Brandon Bennett, RB  Tom Carter, CB 
    Rich Braham, C  John Copeland, DE 
    Corey Dillon, RB  Craig Heimburger, G 
    Artrell Hawkins, CB     
    Rodney Heath, CB    
    Kevin Henry, DE    
    Jon Kitna, QB    
    Scott Mitchell, QB    
    Lorenzo Neal, FB    
    Matt O'Dwyer, G    
    Adrian Ross, LB    
    Richmond Webb, LT    
    Tony Williams, DT    
    Bernard Whittington, DT    
     
    Bengals' 2001 Draft Picks
    Rd.  Overall  Player  Pos.  School 
    Justin Smith  DE  Missouri 
    36  Chad Johnson  WR  Oregon St. 
    66  Sean Brewer  TE  San Jose St. 
    100  Rudi Johnson  HB  Auburn 
    135  Victor Leyva  OG  Arizona St. 
    168  Riall Johnson  OLB  Stanford 
    204  T.J. Houshmandzadeh  WR  Oregon St. 
     

     
    Related information
    Stories
    Dr. Z's NFL Power Rankings
    The NFL in '01: Ten faces in new places
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