Bengals stay put for Friday

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 23, 2010 – 4:17 am

With teams flying all around them again in a trading flea market, the Bengals stayed put Thursday in the first round for the sixth straight year, and for the fifth time the guy they wanted dropped right to them. In 2008, they would have been happy with Sedrick Ellis, Derrick Harvey or Keith Rivers at No. 10. But in the other years, David Pollack, Johnathan Joseph, Leon Hall, Andre Smith and Jermaine Gresham were the guys they targeted.

But it would have been interesting if Gresham had been gone. USC safety Taylor Mays was still on the board. So was cornerback Kyle Wilson of Boise State. And, yes, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant seemed to be leering right at them.

But none of those guys were as enticing as Gresham or Idaho guard Mike Iupati, gone at No. 17 to the 49ers.  When Mays’ college coach had a chance to take  him at No. 14 and took another safety instead (Texas’ Earl Thomas), that had to make the league wonder.

The Bengals didn’t take Bryant off their board like a lot of teams, but he seemed to be a polarizing figure. He had some vociferous supporters but not enough to carry the day. Probably just as well given the track record, but there are those here that think Bryant was treated by the media as unfairly as any prospect in the last 10 years.

Bryant is the kind of guy that makes you say you don’t want him and then in the next breath makes you say you don’t want to play against him, so it was nice he went to Dallas. And while the Ravens didn’t get Georgia Tech receiver Demaryius Thomas, either, they fleeced Denver so badly for draft picks in the Tim Tebow trade they may end up being the AFC North favorites after Saturday’s fourth round. Giving Ravens general manger Ozzie Newsome more draft picks is like giving time Kate Gosselin more TV time. No good can come of it.

The reason the Bengals don’t trade up is Friday, when they get three picks in Friday night’s second and third rounds that begin at 6 p.m. Since they did meet a need with Gresham, maybe they can unbutton their shirt a little bit with the driver and take a run at a developmental guy in the second round at, say, safety or wide receiver.

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Bengals trying to keep Kelly (and should)

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 23, 2010 – 12:57 am


The Bengals didn’t say goodbye to tight end Reggie Kelly Thursday night. But it was just a few speeches short of a testimonial.

They made it quite clear that while they want to re-sign him it is going to be more as a mentor for rookie Jermaine Gresham. A few weeks ago Kelly said he had no problem mentoring a rookie that everyone expected the Bengals to take at some point but he also felt like he had plenty of juice left to start.

So it will be interesting to see if Kelly re-ups. The Bengals need him to go between Gresham and Chase Coffman on the depth chart to provide aid and comfort to two guys that haven’t played an NFL snap between them.

“He’s going to add a dimension to us,” said tight end coach Jon Hayes of Gresham. “We all know Reggie’s been great for us. He’s been a great player for us and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I commend him for that, but Jermaine will give us a different dimension. We’ve got to get ways to get better in this business because you guys know if  we don’t we’ll be out the door next.”

If that doesn’t say Gresham is the starter, what does? But the Bengals still need the 33-year-old Kelly’s calm and brains at the position. Who’s going to show the kids? Of the four tight ends on the roster (Gresham, Coffman, Dan Coats, Darius Hill), only Coats has taken an NFL snap.

If anyone knows the value of experience, it is Bratkowski.

“Reggie’s very special. I know that a lot of people didn’t quite see the value in Reggie,” Bratkowski said.  I know more than once, (Jets head coach) Rex Ryan has complimented Reggie in that he said he’s never had an answer for him. He was the one guy, when they played us, because of what we did with Reggie in the pass protection and the run game, he’s given that compliment to Reggie. We think highly of Reggie, and other people do as well. I think that door still may be open. If it is, great.”

If anything, the Bengals need Kelly for the rematch with the Jets.  “Jermaine, let me show you how to protect Carson from Rex,” Bratkowski said.

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Jag surprise mean a slip for Bengals?

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 22, 2010 – 8:48 pm

The first six picks of the 2010 NFL Draft was business as usual, starting with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford to St. Louis and ending with Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung to Seattle.

Now the surprises have started with four guys that went sooner than expected. 

With the trade for Sheldon Brown, the  Browns were supposed to be OK at cornerback, but they took Florida’s Joe Haden at No. 7. No one ever knows what Oakalnd is going to do, but Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain wasn’t supposed to go until Denver at No. 11 or the Giants at No. 15. And the Bills were supposedly desperate for a left tackle at No. 9 but plucked Clemson running back C.J. Spiller.

But while the order may be shuffled, those guys have been discussed in the top 15.

The real shocker was the Jaguars at No. 10 when they took Cal defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, a guy many had early in the second round. That could push down a name or two that maybe the Bengals didn’t think would be there.

When the Broncos traded No. 11 to the Niners for Rutgers left tackle Anthony Davis, that was another top 15 guy so that shouldn’t mean much  of a change.

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Chad gets in a workout

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 22, 2010 – 4:39 pm


With Chad Ochocino and Dhani Jones going network this offseason, there is no truth to the rumor that the Bengals are going to draft reality TV icon Simon Fuller with their extra fourth-round pick.

The Ocho stepped off the Dancing With The Stars stage Thursday morning and into the Paul Brown Stadium weight room, where he got a hug and the once over from Bengals strength coach Chip Morton.

“He looked good. Lean. He’s never far off from being in shape, anyway,” Morton said. “I gave him a hug and he went to work. He didn’t blow it away, but he wasn’t blown away either by what he did. He fit right in with the guys. Somewhere in the middle.”

Because he had a rehearsal lined up with partner Cheryl Burke and the receivers work last in the morning, The Ocho worked out earlier with the quarterbacks, tight ends, linebackers and specialists. The Ocho has said he made the trip back from Hollywood to show coaches and teammates that football remains his No. 1 priority even though he is heading into his sixth week in the ABC live competition show.  Morton said he got a playful but attentive Ocho and didn’t hear much byplay about the show. It was hard for Morton to bring it up because he’s only seen it once.

“Today was a big agility day.  Change of direction. Reaction. Competitive like all our running workouts.” Morton said. “He held up. He was feeling it after, but so were the other guys.”

Morton said the thing that Ochocinco has to worry about is making sure he keeps on weight and doesn’t lose it. It’s too early to tell what kind of impact Burke’s demanding eight-hour practice sessions are going to have on his season, but Morton expects to see some benefits.

“I don’t know how long they train,” he said. “I know it’s rigorous from a flexibility standpoint, from a mobility standpoint, even from an agility standpoint there’s some productive carryover. It depends how often they work, how long they work. I don’t know those details but I know it gives you some stability and strength.”

The Ocho has said he’s headed back to Hollywood Saturday for Monday’s show and told Morton he’d be in the weight room again Friday.

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Big Ben react

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 21, 2010 – 3:30 pm


After hearing the news of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s six-game suspension that can be reduced to four, Bengals safety Chris Crocker had a muted reaction Wednesday. On Tuesday, he was quite vociferous in hoping that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would treat a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback as harshly as he has treated the league’s rank-and-file.

“I’m not going to bash another player,” Crocker said. “But at the same time I’ll say I don’t know how long he should have gotten or what kind of punishment, but there definitely should have been a punishment.”

Crocker isn’t sure what is fair and not fair. Roethlisberger hasn’t been charged, but the accusations are disturbing. What Crocker does know is that he doesn’t think Goodell should have the only say on player conduct and the question of fairness and consistency has to be addressed in the new collective bargaining agreement.

“I don’t think it’s fair that just one guy makes a decision like that,” Crocker said. “I think there has to be some kind of a committee looking at it instead.”

The Bengals won’t be affected by the suspension because they don’t get the Steelers until the ninth week of the season. Funny how it all works out, isn’t it? The schedule surfaced a week later than usual and, presto, Roethlisberger misses only one division game and no prime-time games.

Of course, there’s a very palatable sense that Ben won’t be there by the time we get going. The Steelers are one of the best covered teams in the NFL with the Gene Alley-Bill Mazeroski double-play combo of Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the trade stuff is real if they’re reporting it.

Dulac broke the story Tuesday that the Steelers have not only been contacted by other clubs about a deal for Roethlisberger but that the Steelers have talked about it internally. When we caught up on Wednesday so Dulac could make the Pittsburgh pick in the Media Mock (Idaho guard Mike Iupati), he said the club doesn’t want to actively try to deal Roethlisberger.

“They’ve contacted every club in front of them so they know that they’d be willing to listen to any trade, but that’s just the course of their regular draft business,” Dulac said. “Forget Ben, or a specific trade, that’s just what they do.”

The way the anti-Ben sentiment is festering in Pittsburgh, though, Dulac wouldn’t be surprised either way. The club was furious with the tawdry details of the police report and the smoke from that fire could generate anything. You’re talking about a guy that was already not loved by his teammates and a recent poll question that ignited 3,000 responses in the Pittsburgh area that said 75 percent wouldn’t mind seeing him gone shows he has the same kind of popularity in the fan base.

“He won’t win any Man of the Year awards in the locker room, but they love the way he wins Super Bowls,” Dulac said. “They’ve been able to put that all aside and just catch his passes.”


“Now it’s tough,” Dulac said. “What if he comes back and they’re 3-1 or 4-0? Or what if they’re 1-3 and he comes back and they know he’s the reason why?”

Just for the heck of it, here are the numbers of the veteran Steelers backup quarterbacks against the Bengals:

Bryon Leftwich is 1-0 against them (2005 for Jacksonville) and is 13-for-27 for 195 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Charlie Batch is 0-1 (2001 for the Lions) and in his only game against the Bengals he was 20-for-35 for 239 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Leftwich mopped up for Roethlisberger in the Steelers’ 38-10 win at Paul Brown Stadium in 2008 and completed all three of his passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.

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Ocho dancing to Cincy Wednesday

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 20, 2010 – 9:44 pm


Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco survived for another week on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars on Tuesday’s results show, so Wednesday ‘s trip to Cincinnati with partner Cheryl Burke is on.

The Ocho plans to be at Paul Brown Stadium Wednesday afternoon to see some of the guys, work out, and sit down with head coach Marvin Lewis. Then he and Burke will hit an unknown dance studio.  He’ll work out Thursday and Friday mornings at PBS before going to the studio in the afternoon and evening. It sounds like they’ll jet back to Hollywood Saturday to get ready for Monday night’s show.

“The travel shouldn’t be a problem. A lot of the people on the show travel,” The Ocho said. “Your life can’t stop. I want to come back to show the Bengals and Coach Lewis that football is No. 1 with me. If there are any doubts, I want to end them.”

Ochocinco said he’s not discourged by the judges’ low scores in last Monday’s outing and is conviced he’s getting better.

“I don’t know why they’ve been so harsh,” he said. “Cheryl tells me to keep hanging in there. I know I’m getting better as a dancer. I’ll tell you what, I’m not leaving. If I do, then I’ll just be back there with y’all.’

He was stunned to hear that the ratings in Cincinnati nearly double every other city.

“That’s another reason we’re coming back,” he said. “We want to thank everybody.”

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Sked talk; Mathis signs

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 20, 2010 – 1:42 pm


With the schedule released Tuesday night, Bengals running back Cedric Benson doesn’t buy the notion that the NFL needs to put division games at the tail end of the season to secure a more competitive December.

He thinks coaches of teams that have already clinched a postseason berth should be allowed to sit players. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was vindicated for benching Benson in last year’s regular-season finale when Benson came back six days later and set a Bengals playoff record with 169 yards in the Wild Card loss to the Jets.

“If it’s not broke don’t fix it,” Benson said. “Coaches do it so they can have the best in the playoffs. It’s a strategy.  You saw what happened. Coaches have to compete against each other, too.” …

What are the first things players look at when they get the schedule?

If you’re wide receiver Antonio Bryant, it is Monday night games.

“You definitely want to get a chance to have the spotlight,” he said. “There are only two teams playing in most of the prime-time games. It’s just an opportunity to light it up for your family and friends. Everybody puts that on their calendar.”

If you’re safety Chris Crocker, it is who and where with an eye on the AFC North games.

“Kind of break the season up into quarters,” he said. “You kind of want to get (the division games) early. The second half of the season you want to get them early also because those games are more important than the rest of the games. You kind of want to get those guys first, especially early in the season when you’re healthy and have everybody ready to go.” …

Left guard Evan Mathis, a restricted free agent, signed his one-year tender. Mathis, heading into his sixth season, started seven games last year in a rotation with Nate Livings when both suffered injuries during the season.

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Players watching Goodell

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 20, 2010 – 1:04 pm

With all eyes on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, nowhere is the attention more intense than in the league’s locker rooms. On Tuesday during the weekly media session in the Bengals’ room, safety Chris Crocker told you why.

“I’m definitely interested. I’m looking at it through other players,” Crocker said. “Say a guy… isn’t convicted of something and he gets suspended. I’m sure a lot of people are looking at what’s going to happen with him. I think it’s important. We all know that Goodell has come down pretty strict on a lot of guys who haven’t been convicted.

“Roethlisberger is the same. Just because he’s a franchise quarterback, won two Super Bowls, and he’s kind of the face of that franchise, his punishment should be dealt (with) the same as everybody else.”

The impact of the impending suspension on the AFC North is secondary in Crocker’s mind, but significant.

“It will affect everybody. You can’t replace him. He’s not somebody that you can just put in another and the wheels keep turning,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting.”

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Judges slow Ocho quick step

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 19, 2010 – 7:58 pm


As Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco prepared to hit the stage on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars Monday to do the quick step with Cheryl Burke, he tweeted that he was dedicating the dance to late teammate Chris Henry.

“I have the quickest feet in football, I’ve (got) to translate it to the QUICKSTEP tonight, 2night is for #15,” he said.

But they didn’t get the number they were looking for when the three judges each offered only a six. Not even a jungle theme could jump start The Jungle’s greatest receiver. The Ocho and Burke did a  pretty brisk version of “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book, but the judges rung up The Ocho for being sloppy with his steps and not having enough contact with his partner.

Which was kind of ironic because most of the attention during their spot was paid to a tense week of practice by the couple with the hosts intimating it was lover tension. But The Ocho still denied there is anything going on off the floor.

Ochocinco wrinkled his forehead at the scores.  But he seemed to take it pretty well. They won’t know if they survived until Tuesday’s 8 p.m. show. The Ocho told a few weeks ago that the pair planned to head to Cincinnati after  Tuesday’s show so he could get in some workouts at Paul Brown Stadium during the mornings before they practiced for next week in a downtown studio duirng the afternoon.

No word Monday night if the trip is still on.

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Kelly, Bengals talking

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 19, 2010 – 6:56 pm

Reggie Kelly

The agent for Bengals tight end Reggie Kelly said Monday he’s talking to the club about bringing his client back for an eighth season in Cincinnati but says that there is nothing imminent. Jimmy Sexton, who, by the way, also represents Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, indicated this week’s draft is not any kind of a drop-dead deadline for Kelly and the Bengals.

“He likes it there. He’s always liked it there,” Sexton said.

Ten days ago Kelly told that he was encouraged after he worked out for the team on April 7, saying his surgically-repaired left Achilles tendon is stronger than his healthy one.

“I feel great. I hated getting hurt, but sitting out the year I think is really going to help my body,” Kelly said. “I feel refreshed.”

The Bengals are expected to take a tight end with one of their nine draft picks, but they still seem interested in securing the services of Kelly even though he’s coming off Achilles surgery at age 33. The only tight end under contract with any game experience is Dan Coats.

Taking a tight end at No. 21 would be an upset. The Bengals just don’t do it. They’ve never made the position the first pick in any draft.

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