Bengals' DE situation muddled, intriguing

Posted May 19, 2011 @ 2:50 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

The Bengals' DE situation is one to watch once NFL play resumes. For starters, there has been speculation about the future of veteran DEs Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom, two of the team's higher-paid players, with the emergence of young pass rusher Carlos Dunlap, who could have a bigger role in the defense after notching 9½ sacks in the final eight games of 2010. Odom has a skill set reminiscent of Dunlap's and was playing like one of AFC's best pass rushers before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in 2009. Last season was a disaster, as Odom missed time because of a wrist injury and a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Geathers isn't the pass rusher Odom is but is a tough run defender. The Bengals also have a decision to make on reserve DE Jonathan Fanene, who will be an unrestricted free agent. What's more, SLB Michael Johnson is also a capable defensive end. In short, the situation is muddled and fluid, even with Dunlap likely taking over a starting role in Year Two, a daily team observer suggested.