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3 Cincinnati Bengals
Michael Silver
September 05, 2005
Marvin Lewis is rebuilding his porous defense on the same foundation that brought him success elsewhere: bruising linebackers
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September 05, 2005

3 Cincinnati Bengals

Marvin Lewis is rebuilding his porous defense on the same foundation that brought him success elsewhere: bruising linebackers

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The same, of course, has been said about Lewis and the defenses he coached elsewhere. This year, finally, he hopes to add the Bengals' to the list. --M.S.

PLAYMAKER

Few noticed because the Bengals were already slipping out of playoff contention, but Carson Palmer's development into a potent passer took a dramatic jump in his final six starts of 2004. During that span, in which Cincinnati was 4-2, the former Heisman winner and No. 1 pick of the '03 draft threw for 1,429 yards and 13 touchdowns and had a rating of 96.9. With a stable of big-play receivers led by All-Pro Chad Johnson, Palmer should be able to air it out with even more impressive results this year.

AN OPPOSING SCOUT'S VIEW
ENEMY LINES
This is a very dangerous team, especially on offense. I don't think anybody has stopped Chad Johnson yet, and he's still improving. They have a lot of weapons at the receiver position.... Carson Palmer is an up-and-comer; he's making the progress each year that you want a young quarterback to make.... Rudi Johnson is a strong, tough runner. He moves the chains, and that will make their passing game even scarier.... They have one of the better offensive lines in football, which is something that goes unnoticed. Levi Jones is coming into his own, Eric Steinbach is getting better, and Willie Anderson is one of the league's better tackles. He's a big guy who is very, very steady.... Brian Simmons, when he's healthy, plays at a consistently high level.... The defensive line certainly isn't one of the team's strengths. They did get Bryan Robinson, who should help against the run.... The secondary is solid, and there's some young, untapped talent there. Madieu Williams is an instinctive guy who's always around the ball. He was versatile enough to play some corner for them early last year, and he has a chance to be a helluva safety.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP with 2004 statistics

OFFENSE

RUDI JOHNSON
POS. -- RB
PVR -- 14
ATT.-- 361
YARDS -- 1,454
AVG. -- 4.0
REC. -- 15
YARDS -- 84
AVG. -- 5.6
TDs -- 12

CARSON PALMER
POS. -- QB
PVR -- 59
ATT. -- 432
COMP. -- 263
% -- 60.9
YARDS -- 2,897
TDs -- 18
INT. -- 18
RATING -- 77.3

JEREMI JOHNSON
POS. -- FB
PVR -- 326
ATT. -- 3
YARDS -- 5
AVG. -- 1.7
REC. -- 16
YARDS -- 53
AVG. -- 3.3
TDs -- 1

SHAYNE GRAHAM
POS. -- K
PVR -- 200
XPs MADE -- 41
XPs ATT. -- 41
FG MADE -- 27
FG ATT. -- 31
PTS. 122

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