Yesterday, Marvin Lewis criticized Andre Smith publicly. Today, Geoff Hobson published a blog noting that offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski is concerned about the pass protection. And thus, we have our first mini-crisis of the preseason.
Here’s what I think:
Cincinnati needs Andre Smith to be healthy, in shape, and on the field. Dennis Roland is okay at right tackle, but Smith represents a huge upgrade (emphasis on HUGE). If Smith, can’t get himself in shape, the team is going to suffer. Cincinnati is going to have a lot of mismatches in the passing game this season – starting in Week One in New England – but Carson Palmer will need time to exploit them. Smith should be an athletic upgrade at right tackle who’s a solid pass protector. But he can’t help if he’s not playing.
So I understand Marvin’s frustrations and Bratkowski’s concerns. This Sunday’s preseason game with the Broncos should give a good indication of how troubling the pass protection is. Without Elvis Dumervil, Denver doesn’t have many pass-rushing threats. That should give the Bengals lineman a relatively easy day. Things should turn out pretty well.
But Andre Smith would make things even better.