Q: You said, "A theme of the bye week is going to be how surprisingly well the offensive line has played." I for one am not surprised. I mean everyone wanted more because we all thought there were better players to be had, but Alexander knew before any of us knew. I told everyone, especially on the message board, that we have one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. Is it finally time for every Bengals fan to acknowledge that we have been greatful of Alexander's body of work here? One of the bright spots even going back to our ugliest days. I for one am proud of Alexander's leadership and poise to get this year’s line ready for great things. Remind me again, how many first day picks do we have on that line?
--Brandon, Fairfield, OH
BRANDON: No NFL position coach has a lot of first-round picks. Success in the NFL at every spot is molding college free agents like
The ’05 line had two No. 1 picks at tackle, a 1A pick in left guard Eric Steinbach and two guys drafted by other organizations in the second round (right guard
No question it is a tribute to Alexander and assistant Bob Surace. You’re in the minority, though, so pat yourself on the back because even Alexander himself is saying it is a surprise. In a conversation with Bengals.com on Thursday, head coach Marvin Lewis also said the two biggest surprises to him are the offensive and defensive lines.
Alexander is following in a long line of brilliance. One of the five greatest offensive lines of all time, the Bengals in the late 1980s, had one just No. 1 pick, Anthony Muñoz. The other tackle, Joe Walter, was a seventh-rounder in 1985, guard Bruce Reimers and center Bruce Kozerski arrived back-to-back in the eighth and nine rounds in 1984, and the other guard, Max Montoya, was a seventh-rounder before any of them showed up in 1979. That architect, Jim McNally, is now retired, but he counts Alexander as one of his disciples and you can bet they’ve talked about the ’09 crew a little bit.
Q: Can someone explain to me why we aren't playing
--Karen G., Mason, OH
KAREN: Catch my conversation with Lewis from Thursday. I asked him if he’s not playing Henry because he didn’t want him back last year, and he politely reminded me that he wasn’t signed until Henry met with him in a secret session at training camp about a week before they re-signed him. He also said he’s playing about 60 percent of the snaps, which he considers a lot, and that he doesn’t see him playing much more than that. He also hinted that Henry has been slowed by a tender quad and again pointed out his desire for his receivers to be well-rounded at blocking and running the proper routes.
Lewis has made it clear why
Q: With all indications pointing to next season being an uncapped year, what effect will that have on the Bengals this offseason in terms of re-signing players, signing free agents, the draft, etc.?
--Justin H., St. Louis, MO
JUSTIN: Remains to be seen but it shouldn’t be a big impact either way. They’ll get a break if there is no cap in the sense that free agents under the old system, such as Henry,
Except for Henry and Graham, there aren’t any looming big names headed to market, but they’ll no doubt look into extending several guys after the season. If Lewis has a new-look team, management has a new-look salary structure.