Before the start of the 2009 NFL season many gave the Bengals virtually no chance at competing. Now, as we head into week 8 they are 5-2, hold a victory over each of their AFC North opponents. While those are impressive stats, the fact that this is a team compromised mostly of other team’s castoffs is nothing short of amazing.
Here is a look at where these castoffs came from, and how they are helping the Bengals win:
Cedric Benson, RB– drafted 4th overall by the Chicago Bears, after several non productive years was released in 2008. He spent nearly four months without team before signing with the Bengals last September. For the Bengals he leads the league in rushing, and has scored five touchdowns. Last week he got sweet revenge against the Bears.
Laveranues Coles, WR– Played seven years for the Jets, around two years with the Washington Redskins, all before signing with the Bengals. Starting opposite Chad Ochocinco he has 16 receptions for 155 yards and three touchdowns.
Roy Williams, SS– After five pro bowl appearances in seven years with the Dallas Cowboys, they let him become a free agent after last season. For the Bengals he has 30 tackles, and has broken up three passes. Although he has missed time with injuries.
Dhani Jones, LB– After years with the Eagles and Giants, he got released by both the Eagles and the Saints in 2007. He was surfing in San Diego when the Bengals came calling. In 2009 he is leading the team with 46 tackles.
Tank Johnson, DT– After being released by the Bears, and the Cowboys, and after problems some legal problems, he is back in Cincy proving a tough physical run stopper, who can put pressure on the QB.
Chris Croker, FS– A journeyman, who was cut in the middle of last year and signed with the Bengals last season. He has intercepted a pass in each of the last two games, and is helping to mentor the Bengals two young corners.
Kyle Cook, C– for the last few seasons he has been on the Bengals practice roster, but no appears to be the replacement for Rich Braham.
Dennis Roland, RT– Was cut by Tampa Bay multiple times, was signed to practice squad last year. Now he is a huge bookend at 6-9 and 325 pounds has worked his way into the starting lineup.
Evan Mathis, LG– A third round pick by Carolina in 2005, he played 7 games with the Dolphins in 2008, now he is a starter since Nate Livings suffered an injury.