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First impressions

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 11, 2010 – 4:54 pm

A few observations after Tuesday’s first on-field practice session of the season:

» Chad Ochocinco dropped a hint the Bengals are going to bring in former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Not so fast, OCNN. Here is what happened from what can be pieced together.

The Bengals have apparently called old friend Hue Jackson to ask about Russell. It is believed that Jackson, the Raiders offensive coordinator and former Bengals receivers coach, didn’t kill him and talked positively about him. But apparently Russell isn’t ready to make a move yet and the Bengals just called his people to see what he’s thinking. The club isn’t sure there is a fit and right now just seems to be kicking tires.

But stay tuned. Marvin Lewis said earlier in the day they are not done tinkering with the roster.   

» The early surprise is looking to be wide receiver Matt Jones, the Jaguars’ former No. 1 pick. He sped past a heck of a cornerback in Leon Hall twice, once for a catch. Carson Palmer said it Monday, “He’s always a mismatch” because of his height and speed, and another offensive player said, “Matt Jones is a beast.”

» The much-maligned Jerome Simpson had a very nice day. The third-year wide receiver also caught a long ball, leaping between two defenders to pull it in. He looked quick, spry and sure-handed but the challenge for him is to keep that consistency every time out. And he’s got a lot of guys in front of him.

» Safety Gibril Wilson showed up with the seasoned sureness of an 84-game NFL veteran. You can tell he’s energized being back at strong safety. It looks like he can run and flashed some pretty good hands in the drills.

» It looked like cornerback Adam Jones still has some quicks. He can really break on the ball. After one play Marvin Lewis reminded him to keep his shoulders square, which is going to be the challenge. How long is it going to take him to knock off the rust for a guy who hasn’t relied much on technique in the past? But there is no missing those physical skills.

» Antonio Bryant is a physical guy. He’s a horse when he gets position on you. Maybe I’m nuts, but the difference between him and Laveranues Coles this time last year is stark.  Bryant played both the slot and outside Tuesday (as did Andre Caldwell) and while he had some snafus, it was also pretty clear he was picking it up. In fact,offensive coordianator Bob Bratkowski said he have him a lot on purpose and was impressed with how he responded.


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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 17 Comments »


17 Responses to “First impressions”

  1. By 2ndboot on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    I have to admit..after following this team since the days of Virgil Carter (I think) I am REALLY getting excited about this bunch.
    It seemed like year after year I would express excitement and all my friends and family would say something like “Same old Bungles” and they usually turned out right, but I just don’t think anyone will be thinking “same old ANYTHING” about the Bengals these days.
    Fans who want a major change in coaching simply don’t know what they’re talking about. Marvin, Zim and even Brat have put together a nice running machine called the Bengals it would seem and I love what they’ve done…even those players I had big questions about.

  2. By carson9 on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    So much going on! It will be nice to see Jerome Simpson finally step up and show what he has. If we end up cuting him, then it would be such a waste of a 2nd pick. I hope that Matt Jones stays strong, and has a productive year. I may be in the minority here, but I belive that a healthy and drug free Matt Jones could be more explosive and productive then Bryant. I would be very pleased if Gun-man Jones makes me regret my words, and has a steller season. Last thing, JaBlubber??? Seriously? The only thing going for him is no current arrests or DUI’s.

  3. By theredbengal on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    Matt Jones and Antonio Bryant SHOULD both help this offense tremendously. They both put up very solid receiving #s in ’08, and neither was playing with guys like Palmer and Ocho. Jones is such a red zone threat with his 6’6” frame. How bout all the possible red zone toys Brat and Palmer can play with? Matt Jones (6’6′), Chase Coffman (6’6”), Gresham (6’5”). That’s a lot of big boys that can fight for jump balls over 5’10” corners. Or, pound the ball with Benson behind the large behinds of Andre and Bobbie. Could be exciting.

  4. By 34inXXIII on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    What a decision the coaches would have if Simpson and Jones build on this solid start and have a productive offseason. It could make for a tough call when it comes time to pare the roster down to 53, yet it’s the kind of problem most coaches would love to have.

    I’ve been quite skeptical of Matt Jones, but he has the Carson Palmer stamp of approval. I have to think that goes a long way. I hope he takes advantage of it.

    I have a close friend who is a big Raiders fan and he’s had nothing but good things to say about Gibril Wilson. He told me last night that he hated to see them let him go after only one year. This may very well end up being our best free agent acquisition of the offseason, not just for what he brings to the playing field but for what he allowed the team to do in the draft by forgoing the position to provide depth elsewhere.

    I guess the only guy I’d have really liked to have seen on this list that isn’t is Chase Coffman. He made a cameo on yesterday’s OTA video with a nice catch. It’s nice to see him back on the field once again. I hope he and Gresham really push one another once the rookie arrives next week, especially under the veteran leadership of Reggie Kelly should he return as well.

  5. By whodeynationcom on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    I have two very long words for you on how to fix the Bengals passing defense. Oshiomogho Atogwe

    This guy will become a free agent June 1st and is proven to be one of the best free safeties in the NFL. I like Chris Crocker but he is no Atogwe even if Atogwe is rusty from his shoulder injury last year.

    Want “peace of mind” think about this opening day DB roster depth chart.

    CB Joseph and Hall (back up Ghee, Pacman and Trent)
    Nickle CB Pacman Jones (back up Ghee and Trent)
    Strong Safety Roy Williams (Gibril Wilson)
    Free Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (Chinedum Ndukwe)
    Special teams FS Kyries Hebert

    Bring on those 4,000 yard passers now!

  6. By mwindle1973 on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t think the passing game needs “fixed”. It’s not broken. THey are trying to become dominant. Crocker is a lot better than you give him credit for. And it would be overkill to bring in a guy wanting that kind of money. If anything right now we need a FB and could upgrade our #2 QB situation for the right guy. Is Russell that guy? Probably not, but if you could secure the rights to him for a cheap price and see what you can do with him it’s a no lose situation. Same thing with T.O.. If he wants to sign for 1M for a season bring aboard. The Bengals have played this capless season almost perfectly. They have used it to load the roster up and continue to try and pull anyone in they can. Why? Because you can cut off anyone you don’t want without having a cap penalty next year. They have brought in plenty of talent, and the chances they have taken are smart ones. As none of the high risk signings have involved people we need to have on the field. Like with Adam Jones. If he doesn’t work out it doesn’t matter because we are pretty good in that area without him. If he does play to his abilities then we are amongst the best secondaries in the league. If not the best. If you look at Hall, Joseph, Jones, Crocker & Williams.

  7. By hobsonschoice1 on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    I think I’ve seen JaMarcus Russell before and his name is Akili Smith. Akili got it in time to become a college coach and you laud him for how he has turned his life around. But that won’t help you now.

    The word is Russell was attentive and had lost some weight before the Raiders cut him last week, but QB isn’t like any other position. There can’t be a what-the-heck-give-him-a-shot revolving door at that position.

    Completely agree with you on Crocker. The guy has been money.

    The 2009 season proved one thing that I think sometmes gets overlooked here and elsewhere in the league (Foxboro, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver among others).

    CHEMISTRY DOES MATTER.

    And a guy like Crocker proved it at a position where there was once more poison than chemistry.

    The influx of two first-rounders who are also good guys in Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall, as well as a chippy seventh-rounder in safety Chinedum Ndukwe, the no-nonsense hard-nose of Mike Zimmer, and Crocker’s sheer personality, all turned that room around attitude wise.

    And the attitude in the back has been as important as the talent.

  8. By jsmjohn on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t see us as allowing more than an average of 17 or so points with this D. IF(notice the big if) the Passing game comes alive like I think it will I see us averaging 21-24.

    We still need a veteran backup who can actually play, a blocking FB to take JJ.s place and I am concerned about our kicking game.
    Fix those three areas and I really don’t see how we can’t be a real force. Opposing HCs, DCs and OCs will not view the Bengals like they used to. We will have the ability to beat anyone in the league.

    It has been a very long time since I have felt as confident about this team as I do now.

  9. By dlynch1010 on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff:
    How many 1st round draft picks are npw on the Bengals roster? Do we have the most number 1’s on our roster in the NFL.
    Thanks,
    DHL

  10. By hobsonschoice1 on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    LYNCHIE – Good question for Elias and I’ll dial them up. I get 10, right? (Carson Palmer, Johnathan Joseph, Leon Hall, Keith Rivers, Andre Smith, Jermaine Gresham, Adam Jones, Matt Jones, Cedric Benson, Roy Williams.)

    The real stunning number is top 10 draft picks, of which I get six in Carson, Smith, Cedric, Roy, Adam, Rivers)

  11. By pacomomogoose on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff… I’m fairly happy with the off season moves, think the D will be fine and believe CP now has his weapons. We’re also hearing these things on a daily basis. But we’re not hearing much about the O-line. What’s your take… same as last year, improvment, or possible collapse??? .

  12. By mwindle1973 on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    Wow! Add that with the recent “should have been, could have been” 1st rounders, like Johnson & Rey. The most impressive thing is that 3 of the 6 top 10 picks have came from other teams.

  13. By hobsonschoice1 on May 17, 2010 | Reply

    PAC: Well, I’m not sure whey there would be a possible collapse on the offensive line. Everybody is back and it should be be better now that Kyle Cook has a year under his belt at center.

    A healthy Andre Smith playing right tackle would be a big upgrade because they didn’t have his power and strength over there much at all last year.

    While Smith rehabs his foot this month, I’m interested to see if Anthony Collins gives Dennis Roland a run at right tackle. I really like both guys. Roland is so sound fundamentally and so smart. A coach’s son. We also know that Collins is an excellent athlete who has picked up seasoning because of the job he did at left tackle in the last six games of the ’08 season and his ability to move over to the right side last year.

    I guess the question is would they collapse if they suffered some injuries. Do they have enough depth? They seem to have four pretty good tackles and the depth at guard seems to be good with three guys that can start. But it all depends who would go down where. And that’s no different than any team in the league. Just look at this team how injuries on the line impacted their 2006 and 2007 seasons. Those teams were 15-17. Three wins (18-14) could have meant two playoff berths.

  14. By stujackson4 on May 17, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff,
    With all of the new weapons that we now have at WR I know that there is going to be some heated competition out there. Who do you see being the final 5 or 6 that make it when the roster is cut to the final 53?

  15. By hobsonschoice1 on May 17, 2010 | Reply

    STU: Tough one. It depends on so much, not the least of which are preseason games that are still three months away.

    They keep six on the 53 and one typically doesn’t dress on Sundays’ 45. Certainly The Ocho, Bryant, Caldwell, Shipley have to be the first four, right?

    And Quan Cosby is going to be a tough cut. He was very solid returning punts last year as a rookie. Now, if Adam Jones sticks and is the returner, that’s a very intriguing situation because Shipley might also be able to return punts. But don’t count out Cosby. Special teams coach Darrin Simmons is very impressed with his reliability and production.

    Plus, if Matt Jones is going to continue to run the 9 route like he has, he’s going to get consideration, as will sixth-rounder Dez Briscoe.

    That’s a real early look so we’re not looking to diss people like Chris Davis and Jerome Simpson, guys that looked good last week in the first workout. Simpson is really grinding. He flashed impressively in that first session and he’s got to keep it up.

    So it would seem we’re playing for the last two spots, but who knows?

  16. By stujackson4 on May 18, 2010 | Reply

    I must also say that I am very excited to see what Coach Zimmer is going to do with the defense this year. After having a stellar season last year finishing in the top five and all of the acquisitions that we have made this offseason, I can only see us getting better! Possibly being the top defense overall in the league.

    I was wondering whether or not you see Maualuga moving to middle sometime before the season starts and Dhani moving to the strong side. If Dhani was then to move outside would MJ give him a run for his money for the starting spot if he has a smooth transition from DE to OLB? With his frame and athletic ability it will be extremely hard to keep him off of the field.

    I was also tinkering with the possibly of having MJ, Odom, Dunlap, and Geathers on the field on passing downs if MJ is able to play the hybrid 3-4 OLB. To me, that sounds very intimidating! With four pass rushers like that on the field at one time, the number of sacks and pressures are going to sky rocket!

  17. By leftjabs1 on May 18, 2010 | Reply

    Bengals 6 receivers will be:
    Chad
    Antonio Bryant
    Jordan Shipley
    Matt Jones
    Jerome Simpson
    Dez Briscoe

    Caldwell drops too many balls and puts it on the ground too much
    And in a case of sad irony, Cosby will be replaced by his close friend and fellow Longhorn Shipley..

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