Bengals needed to sign center Faine

As expected, the Bengals signed veteran center Jeff Faine to replace Kyle Cook, who is dealing with a serious ankle injury.

Faine has experience playing in the AFC North. He was with the Browns for three seasons after the Browns drafted him in the first round in 2003.

More importantly, Faine has experience in a Gruden offensive system. He was with the Buccaneers in 2008, when Jon Gruden was the head coach and current Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was an offensive assistant.

But this move looks like a downgrade for the Bengals. While Cook took a step backward last season, especially in pass protection, he was still a solid run blocker in a division that features interior defensive linemen like Haloti Ngata, Casey Hampton and Ahtyba Rubin. Faine was the 31st-ranked center by Pro Football Focus last season and was the eighth-worst in 2010. The biggest knock on Faine was his struggles as a run blocker.

The Bengals, though, had no other choice than to sign Faine. After losing left guard Travelle Wharton for the season, the team couldn't start two rookies in the season opener at Baltimore. As the Bengals' official website points out, the 31-year-old Faine becomes the oldest starter on the Bengals offense.