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Thursday, October 7, 2010
Grading Andre Smith

By James Walker

What's wrong with Andre Smith and why isn't he starting for the Cincinnati Bengals?

Andre Smith
Andre Smith saw extensive action against the Browns last weekend with mixed results.
We get this question often in our AFC North inbox. The former No. 6 overall pick came to the Bengals last year with high expectations but hasn't produced because of issues with weight, health and lack of performance.

But on Sunday, Smith received extensive playing time, rotating series with starting right tackle Dennis Roland in Cincinnati's 23-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The AFC North blog went back to study film of each Smith snap to grade his performance.

Points were awarded or deducted on a five-point scale, depending on how good or bad Smith performed on each play. Here is what we found:

Smith is out for the first and second offensive series. Roland is in.

Smith enters game on third series at right tackle.
Grade for drive: -4 points

Smith in for Bengals' fourth series.
Grade for drive: +5 points

Smith is replaced by Roland on Cincinnati’s fourth and fifth series.
Grade for special-teams play: -5 points

Smith replaces Roland in the sixth series.
Grade for drive: -1 point

Smith in for seventh series.
Grade for drive: -5 points

Smith sits out eighth and ninth series.

Smith's game grade: -10 points

AFC North blog's analysis: Smith still has a long way to go in his development. There are several flashes that you can see above, but too often Smith makes negative plays and mistakes. The Bengals are giving Smith every chance to win the starting job at right tackle. But Cincinnati's offensive line is already struggling and it could be risky to insert Smith full time while he's learning on the job and making this many errors. Smith needs to improve rapidly and be more consistent to make a bigger contribution.