Running some numbers

Posted: 12:15 p.m.

Some of the numbers and dates to keep an eye on as the Bengals offseason unfolds.

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Thurman

Average age of the defensive starters: During last year's spring camps their average age was 28.5. Now with cornerback Deltha O'Neal taking a walk in the woods and Marvin Lewis' semi-pronouncement on linebacker Odell Thurman, it can be as young as 25.7.

That would be if you lined up the 24-year-old Thurman at Will linebacker instead of the 29-year-old Hartwell, and the 22-year-old Leon Hall at cornerback instead of the 30-year-old O'Neal.

Thurman is obviously a reach because not only do you not know if he can come back from his problems, but you don't know how long it will take to get that year-long rust off his game while Hartwell provides stability.

But even with Hartwell and O'Neal starting, the defense is still nearly two years younger than last year with a 26.9 average.

The intriguing and maybe scary thing about that 25.7 lineup is that 30-year-old safety Dexter Jackson would be the only player in the back seven older than 25.

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Henry

Stretching The Field: How much are the Bengals going to miss wide receiver Chris Henry and his ability to make the big play down field during his eight-game suspension to open the season?

A yard never seemed so long.

Here are Palmer's numbers in the 27 regular-season games he's played with Henry: He averages 7.8 yards per pass attempt. In the 18 that he hasn't it's a 6.8 average.

And just take Henry's numbers themselves.

Of his 67 career catches, 15 are touchdowns, or a score every 4.5 catches. Chad Johnson is at a TD every 11.4 and T.J. Houshmandzadeh one every 14.4, and they're the best tandem in club history. Isaac Curtis scored every 7.5 catches, Carl Pickens every 8.4, Eddie Brown every 8.9, and Cris Collinsworth every 11.6.

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Lewis

Marvin's Garden of wins: The karma says the Bengals have at least a 10-win season this year. Only two Bengals head coaches have had two 10-win seasons with Paul Brown doing it in 1973 (10) and 1975 (11) and Sam Wyche doing it in 1986 (10) and 1988 (12). Note the two-year gap in each and that Lewis' lone 10-win season came with 11 in 2005.

At 35-30, Lewis comes into his fifth season with a .538 winning percentage, behind Forrest Gregg's .557 and Bill Johnson's .545 on the franchise list that includes postseason games.

The Bengals need an 11-5 regular-season record for Lewis to overtake Gregg at .568.

The 46 wins would put him nine behind Brown for second place on the victory list headed by Wyche's 64.

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Palmer

Carson Comeback: The last time we saw Carson Palmer, he capped off his comeback season from knee surgery in the last two games with fourth-quarter comebacks betrayed by special teams in becoming the first 4,000-yard passer in Bengals history.

Now he's coming back from the comeback and with 78 touchdown passes in his 45 career games Palmer needs 22 to become the third Bengals quarterback to pass for 100 touchdowns. He's on pace to do it in his 58th game Dec. 9 at PBS against the Rams, 18 days before he turns 28.

Franchise leader Ken Anderson with 197 did it in his 93rd game, a 28-12 loss in San Francisco Oct. 1, 1978. Boomer Esiason, at 187, did it in his 71st game on Sept. 17, 1989 during a 41-10 win over Pittsburgh at Riverfront. Both were 28.

If Palmer is to join Anderson (32,838), Esiason (27,149) and Jeff Blake (15,134) as the only 15,000-yard throwers in Bengals history this season, he'll need to pass for a career-best 4,232 yards.

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Johnson

Chad Watch: Chad Johnson may end up giving thanks this upcoming holiday season for owning the Bengals record book. He needs 65 catches to break Pickens' all-time club record for his 531st. Since he's been averaging 5.8 catches per game since Palmer became the quarterback, that puts him on pace to break it, naturally enough, in Pittsburgh on Dec. 2 in what may very well be a prime time game.

As for Curtis' club-record 7,101 yards, Johnson will reach that mark long before the holidays but it is again projected for a road game. He needs just 177 to pass Curtis and since he's averaging 84.8 yards per game with Palmer, that translates to the game in Seattle the third week of the season.

Rudi, Rudi: Running back Rudi Johnson's first rushing touchdown this season gives him 46 for his career and moves him past Corey Dillon into second on the Bengals all-time list behind Pete Johnson's 64.

Rudi Johnson got his 45th in his 69th game, while Dillon did it in 99 games. In the three seasons Johnson has been the starter, he's scored 12 touchdowns every year. So he should pass Pete in the 13th game of '08 with his 65th TD.

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Graham

Come back, Shayne: Somewhere in the mess of the last two games, Bengals kicker Shayne Graham joined Horst Muhlmann, Doug Pelfrey and Jim Breech with 100 field goals as a Bengal. He's got 102, 19 shy of passing Muhlmann. Pelfrey, at 153, and Breech, at 225, are a few shots away.

In his four Cincy seasons, Graham is averaging 25.5 made field goals per year and 1.6 per game. That puts him on pace to pass Muhlmann in Pittsburgh and pass Pelfrey in the first game of the '09 season.

It just shows you how good Pelfrey was, how bad those offenses were in the '90s, and how much the Bengals relied on him. He hit his 100th field goal in his 59th game with the Bengals in the 41-31 win over Atlanta at Cinergy on Nov. 24, 1996. Graham did it in the Monday night game last year in Indy, a 34-16 loss that was his 62nd game as a Bengal.

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