‘I can’t miss much more of this’

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 13, 2010 – 12:26 pm

If you weren’t ready for the Bengals season, you will be now.

Reggie Kelly admits in the painful days and weeks after he ruptured his Achilles tendon early in training camp last August he thought about retirement. After all, he would be 33 in 2010, he has his two grade-school children, wife Sheila and several off-field projects waiting.

But when his teammates started stringing together an AFC North title season, he knew he couldn’t stay away.

“When we beat Pittsburgh the first time, that lit a fire underneath me,” Kelly said Thursday after signing a one-year deal. “Then we went to their stadium and beat them a second time. I was like, ‘Man, there is only so much more I can miss. I can’t miss much more of this.’ I’ve just  been excited throughout the season. I’ve been excited in the offseason. I’ve been excited all the way up to this point. I’m just excited about the opportunity just to strap them back up.”

Rehab trainer Nick Cosgray’s successful program also got Kelly hungry to return for an eighth season in Cincinnati and 12th in the NFL because he said he was 100 percent back in December. He probably won’t get right on the field next week and he just may end up easing into it with strength coach Chip Morton’s staff on the side, but that’s only because Kelly says they’ve decided to “err on the side of caution” since he has been cleared.

Kelly said the team has been “very generous” with the deal, saying it protects them from risk and gives him incentives if he hits some play-time milestones. He’s anxious to work with No. 1 pick Jermaine Gresham and Chase Coffman at tight end, a trio that didn’t play at all last year.

 “I want to start. Every football player should want to do that,” Kelly said. “But if I’m backing up, I’ll help the young players all I can. I’m excited about this team and I want to help us win.”

More on Kelly and just how he fits into this offense is headed to later in the day.

Posted in Hobson's Choice | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “‘I can’t miss much more of this’”

  1. By ripper0863 on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    I think it is awesome that Kelly is coming back. I do have to wonder tho at just how much the tight ends will be used. Is it fair to fantasize a little and think about the what ifs. Visions of some of the really good tight ends and how they have demoralized defenses with their play.

    Why is it that we have struggled to really utilize the tight end. Seems like the last 10 years or so teams have had the ability to put extra coverage on the recievers because they know the tight ends dont get used much.

    That is very exciting for us the fans. If Gresham is even half of what they say, then we have found something pretty special.

  2. By hobsonschoice1 on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    RIPPER: Before Bob Bratkowski got here as offensive coordinator in 2001, the tight end position was terribly ignored. They finally drafted one in Matt Schobel and picked one off the waiver wire in Tony Stewart (both in 2002) and Reggie came in 2003 in Marvin Lewis’ first week of free agency.

    But they didn’t have to use them primarily to catch the ball because it was a receiver-oriented offense. They needed them to keep the pass-rushing beasts off Palmer. No doubt it would have been nice to have a Todd Heap or a Heath Miller, but when it was The Ocho, T.J., and Chris Henry, how much would he have been used and how much would his lack of blocking hurt? It is the how-many-balls-do-you-have question.

    They scored a lot of points and won a a lot of games in ’05 and ’06 with Kelly and Stewart blocking and making the occasional catch and without a big-time receiver at that spot.

    Did it hurt them offensively when they didn’t trade up in 2006 to get Anthony Fasano in the second round? They ended up getting left tackle Andrew Whitworth and in ’06 Carson Palmer had a passer rating of 93.9 and the pass offense finished sixth.

    It would seem not. But then in ’07 Henry’s suspension and the injury to the tackles changed them, and Bratkowski knew he had to get out of the three wides because the protection was suspect and they couldn’t run it.

    So they made Ben Utecht their highest paid tight end ever in an effort to go more double tight in ’08 with a receiving threat and it blew up when he and Palmer got hurt.

    ’09 was really the first time you could see the lack of a threat over the middle on third down and in the red zone. Not just because of the season-ending injuries to Kelly and Utecht. But because they are fundamentally different without T.J. and Chris. With the new commitment to the run, double tights is now a must and for the first time any one can remember they targeted tight end early in the draft.

    A lot of reasons why the decade hasn’t seen a big-time pass catcher at tight end with the main one being for most of it it was a receiver-first, pass-first offense. Now it is more balanced and the final transition is the move to Gresham and Coffman. But they couldn’t have a better mentor for the nuts and bolts of the trade than Kelly.

  3. By 2ndboot on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    So right..
    Everyone loves to bash on Brat, but when a team is missing so many pieces there is only so much he can do. For the first time in a VERY long time it would appear they have the whole thing finally set up at every spot and even then it can all fall to pieces with injuries, a major suspension or any number of things.
    One major injury to a key player that doesn’t have a solid backup and the whole train can fall off the wheels REAL fast…like at QB hevun forbid..

  4. By 2ndboot on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Maybe that’s why Chad is cheering for Russel so much.. could be…

  5. By mwindle1973 on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    I think Brat has been on record as saying he desires to have 2 TEs who can run and block, so they can play 2 TE sets. He will utilize these guys in 2 TE singleback, and IMO in I-max protect. Or basically he will do what he did last year with unbalanced via a 2 TE, single WR set. But I look for him to use the unbalanced lines as well. They were very successful and have become a bit in vogue the last couple seasons.

    Really I think you will see Brat at his all time best this season. Expect to see it all. Anyone who thought he was a spread ’em out and fire type guy should realize after last season that he is a all inclusive OC who can’t be labeled. THat’s what you want. We will run the same offense but that doesn’t have anything to do with what kind of packages or formations we will use. THat just means the same system terminology. I really think you will see us run so many formations it will be mind boggling.

    And I also think Kelly is not just here to mentor people. I’m not ruling out him being the starter opening day. It depends on how fast Gresham can adjust. But he will have to come a way with his blocking to start. As you said Geoff, Kelly makes the transition at TE seamless which is great.

  6. By hobsonschoice1 on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    MWIND – You’re right not to rule out Reggie starting, which brings to mind a conversation I had with a coach not too long ago.

    We were talking about developing guys and he asked, “How do you find out if a guy can play?”

    When I said, “Play him in a game,” he basically said, “Exactly,” and there’s the great dilemma if you’re a NFL head coach.

    You have to win games and you have to develop players and the only way you can find out if a guy can play is to play him in a game, not practice.

    So when it’s third-and-1 in the home opener this Sept. 19 and you have to keep Terrell Suggs from penetrating for the Ravens, who do you want doing it? Kelly, the reliable vet, or Gresham, the kid that must do it eventually? How does he learn to block him on the sidelines?

    I think it’s one of those blue book questions. You can write an answer, but there is no answer. Only a philosophy.

  7. By mwindle1973 on May 16, 2010 | Reply

    Well no telling what will happen in the end, but the track record has been to be pretty conservative about putting rookies on the field. But we also got a little more liberal with it last season. And there are a lot of variables involved in this that are unknown. And maybe the real questions are Gresham’s blocking and whether Kelly has lost anything from his injury. You can’t count Coffman out either, he had some time to work on his blocking before he was injured and he’ll have his second go at it. He has the size to be an NFL TE, but he has to learn to block. I just wonder if now that we have another TE if he couldn’t be used in the slot or as an H-back.

  8. By 2ndboot on May 16, 2010 | Reply

    At some point it becomes like teaching your kids how to drive. (anyone who’s ever done it knows) At some point you have to scoot over and toss the kid the keys and tell em to give it a rip and hope they don’t smash you into a tree.
    Everyone wants to win, but coaches, like parents have to give kids the shot to prove themselves which kind of brings to mind Jerome Simpson, but that’s another subject. 😉 I’m still rooting for him.. Call me a sucker, but I like underdogs.

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