To some, the news that Bobbie Williams will be suspended for the first four games of the season (due to a violation of the league’s substance policy), might seem devastating. After all, Williams is one of the leaders on the Bengals’ offense and also one of its most consistent performers.
Certainly, it’s not an ideal situation. However, I think there could be some benefits that come from it. For one, Williams will turn 35 at the end of this month. He’s in the twilight of his playing career and a shortened season could keep him fresher down the stretch, when the Bengals schedule gets more difficult. Secondly, Williams struggled somewhat in pass protection during the preseason and his replacement (expected to be rookie Clint Boling), is one of the better pass protectors on the team. I’ve been impressed with Boling thus far and it should be interesting to see if he can continue the upward trend as the season progresses.
The Bengals certainly didn’t need any more speed bumps in what figures to be a rough season already. But the team also needed to begin preparing for life without Williams. And with Williams out four games, youth is being served, at least for a little bit.
And it might not be a bad thing.