Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
The release Friday of Kenny Irons was an indication of how good the Cincinnati Bengals feel about their running back situation.
Starter Rudi Johnson bulked up this offseason and looked strong in minicamp. Backup Kenny Watson was solid and versatile last season, and the Bengals feel they have two promising backups in Chris Perry and DeDe Dorsey.
All of those factors provided the Bengals the luxury of no longer having to wait on Irons. Cincinnati gave Irons nearly a year to recover from his Aug. 9, 2007 ACL injury, and the progress wasn't as good as the team hoped.
Injuries ravaged Cincinnati's running backs corps last season. Johnson battled a hamstring injury that forced him to miss five games. Irons' rookie year never got started when he was hurt in the preseason, and the oft-injured Perry was hurt for the fourth straight season. In the end, the Bengals' offense at times became one-dimensional and finished with a 7-9 record.
But with more depth this year and a little luck heath-wise with Johnson and Perry, the Bengals shouldn't be caught in that position in 2008. By cutting a former second-round choice in Irons, it's clear the Bengals are confident that will be the case.