Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Evaluation of Offense: Overall

To put it shortly, this offense needs help. Almost everywhere. It would probably be unfair to place the blame on the offense's ineffectiveness on Cam Cameron. The team is lacking in talent thanks to several failed drafts. That being said, with Ronnie Brown in there, the team looks much better. It's funny because usually it is said that an offensive line makes a back look good, but once Ronnie went down for the year, the offensive line ceased to look like a solid unit.

The offense is in need of some upgrades in free agency. Sadly, so is the defense, so there needs to be a balance when trying to improve the roster this offseason. The team is below average in talent at every position except running back. Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised at the lack of success.

For now, I believe we need to entrust the offense to John Beck. We drafted him for a reason, and although Parcells has no attachment to him, it would be foolish to cast him aside as a mistake of the previous regime after only a handful of games. However, If something happens where we can upgrade it immediately, I would go ahead and do that. Like if Donovan McNabb were to get cut for example.

It would be a waste of a 2nd round pick on Beck to bench him, but if there is an upgrade available immediately, then you have to consider that pick a sunk cost. On that note, if that upgrade is Derek Anderson, DO NOT DO IT. Anderson is not worth the #1 overall pick in the draft, no matter how much of an "economic risk" the first pick is.

Pray for the recovery of Ronnie Brown. Regardless of the QB, this team is much better when Ronnie is the featured back. However, the guy throwing the ball for us needs someone to throw it to. Right now, the only two guys I expect back are still raw and would benefit from having a legitimate threat out there to help them get open. Bernard Berrian is a decent WR, but I'm not sure if I would break the bank for him.

What I am interested in is the future of two Pro Bowl receivers that are likely a pipe dream for Dolfans. Randy Moss is a free agent and the Patriots have tended to let high priced guys go. It would be foolish of them to do so though, but we'll see. The second guy is more of a pipe dream, but I've heard rumors that Chad Johnson doesn't want to come back to Cincinnati. There have been whispers about his rocky relationship with fellow Beaver TJ Houshmandzadeh. Finally, I watched every Bengals game this year so I know first hand that there are always chemistry issues with Carson Palmer. Don't expect anything from that though.

Getting a solid tight end should be one of this team's priorities. I don't know if Indy plans on keep Dallas Clark or not. They just spent a lot of money on Bob Sanders, but I doubt Peyton would be too pleased if he lost another weapon on offense. The bad news is that there aren't any Kellen Winslow type tight ends in this draft, though Fred Davis in the 2nd wouldn't be too bad. However, if you want that impact player at tight end, you would have to do just that: select them high and risk not taking a player at a more important position.

The line needs some help, and I'm not sure where they will get it if it's not through the draft. The team has a lot of cap space and surely will have more once they let go of certain guys, but they also have innumerable holes to fill. Therefore, it might be unlikely that they spend a huge amount on any one guy. If Hadnot would demand 30 million dollars, imagine how much anyone of a higher level would ask for.

Overall, I expect the following guys back: John Beck, Ronnie Brown, Lorenzo Booker, Reagan Mauia, Ted Ginn, Derek Hagan, David Martin, Vernon Carey, Samson Satele, Drew Mormino and Anthony Alabi. That's only 11 players out of what should be 25 on offense. Certain guys will be cap casualties, like Marty Booker and LJ Shelton. Others might price themselves off the team, like Jesse Chatman and Rex Hadnot. Cleo Lemon might be back, but if he gets a promise of playing time elsewhere, look for him to go.

It's obvious that the team needs a MAJOR overhaul offensively. The big problem is that is also needs a lot of help defensively as well, which I will get into in the next few days. It's amazing just how bad this roster is when you look at it.

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