Cincinnati Bengals: Dennis Roland

As we mentioned Saturday, we have another two-part mailbag this weekend.

After primarily discussing running back Giovani Bernard in Part 1, we're going to start Part 2 by chatting about receiver A.J. Green. Then, we'll get to a few other offense-related questions that were on your minds late last week. As always, if you asked a question and it didn't make it on the mailbag, fret not. Keep asking questions and we'll try to get you in the queue the next week. Many thanks for all the questions you send in each Friday.

Now let's get to A.J.:

 
With the offseason here, let's spend the next two weeks taking a position-by-position review of the Cincinnati Bengals' 2013 season and give a sneak peek at what may lie ahead in 2014.

After quarterbacks Monday, running backs Tuesday, receivers Wednesday and tight ends Thursday, up next:

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

2014 free agents: Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland.

Britt
Whitworth
Smith
The good: Cincinnati's entire offensive line had a strong season, finishing as the top pass-protecting unit in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. It was the Bengals' tackles, though -- Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Collins and Roland -- who particularly had a strong season. Collins, for example didn't allow a sack all season, which was a feat not replicated by another player who saw as much action as the regularly used backup did. Starters Smith and Whitworth combined to allow 10 sacks between them, PFF said. In addition to playing left tackle, Whitworth finished the season at left guard, filling in for Clint Boling, who was lost for the year with an ACL tear in Week 13. Whitworth's versatility earns him even higher marks.

The bad: Aside from the sacks allowed by Smith and Whitworth, there wasn't much bad among the tackles. A few false-start penalties and holding calls may have been annoyances at times, but the nature of the position is that they will come. That's particularly the case when teams are trailing and playing in hostile road environments. What the Bengals' tackles may need to do a better job of in 2014 is making sure they're consistently setting the edge in run-blocking scenarios. With offensive coordinator Hue Jackson taking over, there's a chance they'll be running slightly more than they did in recent years.

The money (2014 salary-cap numbers): Whitworth ($6.2 million), Smith ($5.2 million). Whitworth and Smith will be back next season, but questions linger concerning how they'll be used. That's particularly the case with Whitworth, who could move permanently to guard, especially if Boling hasn't fully recovered by the beginning of the season. If Whitworth makes the switch, which likely wouldn't be announced for several months, it would be partly because the Bengals expect to re-sign Collins If Whitworth remains at tackle and Collins gets re-signed, Smith and Collins would compete for the second starting job. Cincinnati hopes it will be able to bring Collins back, but the team has no plans of getting rid of either Whitworth or Smith.

Draft priority: Moderately high. There have been better offensive tackle draft classes, but this isn't a bad one. Teams across the league are constantly looking to add to their depth on both the offensive and defensive lines, so expect them all to target linemen. Closely watch the team's talks with Collins and Roland to gauge just how serious the Bengals are about drafting tackles. If just Roland is brought back, expect the Bengals to draft another one or two versatile linemen.
CINCINNATI -- With Sunday's 34-17 win against the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals retained their No. 3 seeding entering the start of this weekend's AFC playoffs.

Speaking of the number "3," that's also where the Bengals' defense finished the regular season in the NFL rankings. It's the first time the unit has ranked that high since 1983.

Here are a few other numbers to ponder from Cincinnati's big division win:

27.0: Ravens' third-down percentage (4-for-15).

54.0: Bengals' third-down percentage (7-for-13).

61: Yards on the Ravens' second drive of the game. It resulted in a 22-yard Justin Tucker field goal; his second of three field goals.

161: Yards the Ravens gained on their other 13 possessions.

7: Total number of interceptions. Baltimore picked off four passes. Cincinnati intercepted three; all in the fourth quarter.

50: Passing attempts for Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco.

3.4: Average gain per passing play for the Ravens.

7.8: Average gain per passing play for the Bengals.

53: Yards on Cincinnati's first touchdown of the game. It came when receiver A.J. Green sprinted right past the Baltimore secondary and got wide open deep downfield.

47: Yards rushing for Baltimore's running backs.

15: Yards rushing for Ravens running back Ray Rice, who had just six carries.

66: Yards rushing for Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who averaged 6.0 yards on his 11 carries.

5: Bengals receivers who had more than 10 receiving yards Sunday. Four of them caught three or more passes.

35.0: Net punting yards for Bengals punter Shawn Powell, who was hurt by one 10-yard shank that sailed wide left, over the Bengals' sideline and into the first two rows of seats.

2: Punts out of Powell's three that landed inside the Ravens' 20-yard line. One took one bounce before getting downed on the 1.

28.2: Average yards per kick return for Baltimore's Jacoby Jones. He had six returns for 169 yards.

14: Total tackles for Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict who led his team in stops for the 15th game this season. He finished the regular season with 171 tackles, enough to lead the league and set a new single-season Bengals record.

22: Snaps Bengals offensive tackle Dennis Roland played out of a possible 66, according to Pro Football Focus.

2: Bengals players who played every offensive snap, according to PFF. Quarterback Andy Dalton and offensive tackle Andre Smith played all 66 Bengals plays.

26: Passing routes the Bengals' tight ends, Alex Smith and Orson Charles, ran, according to PFF.

6: Hurries PFF credited Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap with having as he pressured Flacco.

9: Passes Flacco attempted that were 15 yards or more downfield; the most of his career.

0: Passes Flacco completed that were thrown 15 yards or more downfield. One of those incomplete passes was a deep throw near the goal line late in the fourth quarter that was intercepted by Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick had two interceptions, including another that resulted in a pick-6.

3: Passes Flacco had all season on balls that were thrown 15 yards or more downfield.

10: Times the Bengals used the zone-read option against Baltimore. The play netted them 67 yards and a touchdown. Dalton accounted for 19 of those yards and his 1-yard rushing score early in the fourth quarter.

18: Times the Bengals had run the zone read entering the game. They previously had no more than six zone-read rushes in a game.

Information from ESPN Stats & Info was used in this report. Follow on Twitter @ESPNStatsInfo.
CINCINNATI -- One day after learning left offensive guard Clint Boling tore his ACL in Sunday's 17-10 win at San Diego, the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday placed Boling on season-ending injured reserve and re-signed fellow lineman Dennis Roland.

Roland was on the Bengals' roster for three games earlier this season before getting waived. He comes back as the Bengals look to shore up depth on their line amid the possibility that they may shake up the lineup to feature Pro Bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth at Boling's old spot.

A third-year player from the University of Georgia, Boling started every game for the Bengals last season, and did the same in all 12 of this year's contests. He only lasted five plays against the Chargers on Sunday, though, going down on just the second drive of the game. Almost instantly the Bengals knew the injury was serious when Boling needed to be helped off the field by tight end Alex Smith.

Boling becomes the ninth Bengals player to head to the IR, and the first on offense. Receiver Andrew Hawkins was lost for all of the preseason and half of the regular season when he was added to the IR/designated to return list in August. He was the only other non-PUP (physically unable to perform list) offensive player to miss significant time this season. Hawkins came back at Miami four games ago.

Also a Georgia product, Roland is a sixth-year player who has spent his entire career with the Bengals. Although he was released Sept. 25, he didn't play for any other team before getting re-signed Tuesday. He has seen action in 69 career games and three postseason games. A tackle by trade, Roland's arrival could be a sign the Bengals are bolstering their depth at offensive tackle in the event they decide to move Whitworth to Boling's position more permanently.

After Boling went down Sunday, the Bengals' offensive line -- with Whitworth at left guard, reserve Anthony Collins at left tackle and Mike Pollak at right guard in place of an injured Kevin Zeitler -- led the way for a 164-yard team rushing performance. It was among the top three rushing efforts for Cincinnati this season.
Most significant move. The Bengals surprisingly cut John Conner and kept Orson Charles. This means the Bengals aren't going with a traditional fullback. The Bengals will use two tight ends in their primary formation with Jermaine Gresham and first-round pick Tyler Eifert. When the Bengals need a lead blocker, they'll go with Charles, who is more of an H-back. Conner worked with the starting offense in the preseason finale and was the lead blocker on Giovani Bernard's one-yard touchdown. He also played a part in the top rushing attack in the preseason.

Cincinnati also cut offensive tackle Dennis Roland, who joined the Bengals in 2008 and played in every game for the previous four seasons. Rookie fifth-round pick Tanner Hawkinson made Roland expendable. And, as expected, the Bengals parted ways with defensive end Dontay Moch, a disappointing third-round pick who never produced a tackle in two seasons with the team. The release of quarterback John Skelton means Josh Johnson is the backup to Andy Dalton.

Surplus at two spots. Most expected the Bengals to choose between Ryan Whalen and Dane Sanzenbacher. But they kept both. Sanzenbacher helped his cause by producing big plays as a receiver (averaged 20 yards on five catches) and punt returner (71-yard touchdown) in the preseason. The Bengals are carrying seven wide receivers for the second straight season. They did waive Cobi Hamilton but the rookie sixth-round pick is expected to go on the practice squad.

The Bengals decided to keep five safeties, the same amount as cornerbacks. George Iloka is listed as the starter with Reggie Nelson, but rookie third-round pick Shawn Williams will likely be the eventual starter. Like wide receiver, Cincinnati was expected to choose between Taylor Mays and Jeromy Miles for the fourth safety spot and it kept both. Miles survived because of his play on special teams.

What's next. The Bengals likely will put wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (ankle) on the injured reserve-designated to return list, but they can't make the move until after 4 p.m. Tuesday. Based on its numbers at linebacker, that's the position Cincinnati will look at on the waiver wire. The Bengals are currently carrying five: James Harrison, Vontaze Burfict, Rey Maualuga, Jayson DiManche and Vincent Rey. The Bengals will probably sign linebacker J.K. Schaffer, the leading tackler in the preseason, on the practice squad after waiving him Saturday. The Bengals may add a sixth cornerback.

Here are the moves made by the Bengals to get down to the league limit of 53:

Waived: FB John Conner, TE-LS Bryce Davis, S Tony Dye, OT Reid Fragel, WR Cobi Hamilton, RB Dan Herron, C T.J. Johnson, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, CB Onterio McCalebb, DE Dontay Moch, CB Shaun Prater, WR Taveon Rogers, WR Roy Roundtree, LB J.K. Schaffer, QB John Skelton, DT Terrence Stephens, G John Sullen, LB Bruce Taylor.

Contract terminated: OT Dennis Roland.

Physically Unable to Perform list: RB Bernard Scott.

Injured reserve: LB Emmanuel Lamur (shoulder).

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