Things I Think I Believe

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 27, 2010 – 11:50 am

In honor of going on Lance McAlister’s show on 1530 at 4:05 p.m. Thursday the 27th to talk a little OTAs, here are some things I Think I Believe, with the nod to Red Sox fan Peter King:

I Think I Believe that Matt Jones and Jerome Simpson are the two receivers that have the longest to go in convincing the coaches they can play. That doesn’t mean they are longshots, but they have to show that people have been wrong about them.

I also think they can do it because they have looked great here. But, look, the only thing that is going to get decided in the last OTA sessions in May and June is who lockers next to whom at Georgetown. To think that any position picture is going to clear up before preseason games is fantasy football.

So much depends on what Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley do returning punts (not to mention cornerback Adam Jones) and you can’t go off that until the games. Will Jones and Simpson be able to do against others what they’ve been able to do here? Jones has been able to run by people and Simpson has been able to leap and dive to make some spectacular plays, but can they do it against another club’s first- and second-teamers? Who is going to be able to play special teams other than return punts? You have to see them tackle somebody.

I Think I Believe they’ll have eight or nine guys left after the final preseason game and we’ll still be guessing.

Maybe The Ocho can bring in Len Goodman to judge.

I Think I Believe Bengals president Mike Brown voted against bringing a New York Super Bowl. That is his M.O. He has always thought a warm weather site was the best thing for fans so they would have things to do in the days leading up to the game.

This is the guy that told Chargers owner Gene Klein to save it when he wanted to postpone The Freezer Bowl in ’82, so he knows a homefield advantage as well as anyone. But my sense is that Brown thinks the neutral site with warm weather works best for the people going to the game.

And, he’s probably worried about the Pandora’s Box they’ve opened. Why shouldn’t Washington and Boston get one now? Cincinnati never will because the stadium is too small and there isn’t enough hotel space. The airport was always a great selling point, but no more with the drastic decrease in direct flights.

I Think I Believe I’m amazed at the national NFL writers that just always shrug when they see the word “Bengals,” and automatically write “suck.” Sometimes you get the feeling they stopped watching this club in 2002.

One thing you never hear about this offseason is how just one Bengal isn’t here during the voluntaries, The Ocho, and that with the blessing of the head coach. Meanwhile, there is a daily upheaval around the NFL about what players aren’t reporting. So much so that did a roundup the other day about who isn’t showing up. In places like Baltimore, it is easier to say who’s there instead of who’s not.

They like to write about how it is so dysfunctional around here and how many bad guys are in the locker room and how they don’t know how to win or don’t want to win. And, meanwhile, every day just piles up and refutes all the pontifications.

Talking to somebody about this on the inside, they chalk up the attendance to tremendous leadership of the big players, such as Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Andrew Whitworth, Domata Peko, Johnathan Joseph, Leon Hall, Robert Geathers and Keith Rivers.

Yes, I understand. This club has some problems and questions. But what team doesn’t? What entity doesn’t? Even Miss America has to use deodorant, I Think I Believe. Here’s a team that won a division, then addressed its top needs in the offseason, and now has nearly everyone intact working on it, and you’d think they’re rebuilding if you read the national clips.

I Think I Believe I have a list of Bengals that are going to have breakout seasons:

Wide receiver Antonio Bryant – Yes, AB, quarterbacks actually do throw spirals and get it to you on time.

Running back Bernard Scott – If he touches it a dozen times a game via kick returns, passes and runs, he becomes a household name.

SAM/RE Michael Johnson – He didn’t know what he was doing last year and he got three sacks by accident and a slew of tipped balls. Now he’s got a year under his belt and he’ll be lined up in more places than LeBron James, so he looks to be on the brink. A very earnest guy and hard worker.

SAM Rey Maualuga – He’s got the speed, size and hunger to make those game-changing plays, so Mike Zimmer and Jeff FitzGerald are going to make sure he does. Older and wiser, he could be a real handful as they move him around, too.

S Roy Williams – Hard for a five-time Pro Bowler to break out, but after playing just seven games the last two years, he looks and sounds hungry. They get 13-16 games from a near Pro Bowl player at that spot, that is quite interesting.

WLB Brandon Johnson – I love this guy just watching the drills. If the Celtics had him on defense, Superman would disappear. Johnson can cover and he can blitz. Last year he was their best all-around linebacker when it came to making plays.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Things I Think I Believe”

  1. By phlockar on May 27, 2010 | Reply

    HOBSON – How about this? I think I believe our offensive line will be stronger than the 05′ season, mentally and physically. This obvisously goes hand in hand with how A Smith plays as a 16 game starter. But hey, it’s a “I think I believe”, not “I know”…

  2. By bengalanthony13 on May 27, 2010 | Reply

    Hob —

    I usually don’t like your “I Think I believe” articles, but this was a really good post–kudos. I agree with the breakout players you listed. Along with those, two rookies that I think are going to be huge this year are Gresham and Atkins. I think Atkins has “3rd Down pass rush specialist” written all over him. I do have a question for you, though: My brother and I talked about how we’d like them to keep 7 WRs (Chad, AB, Caldwell, Shipley, Jones, Q and Briscoe). If you practice squad and/or cut Briscoe or Q, they’ll be snagged by someone else. I like what Q brings and I think Briscoe has a ton of ability from what he showed in college. What if you went one light at QB and made Matt Jones the emergency 3rd QB? It would allow you to keep all of these guys who could contribute and get rid of a guy at a position who won’t. Plus, we all know that if Carson goes down with injury, the season is done anyway. What do you think?

  3. By bengalbowl on May 27, 2010 | Reply

    I agree this was a good post. I also agree with the other comments. I like the idea of having Jones as backup QB but that would mean we would have to cut J.Palmer which isn’t going to happen. When it comes time to cut down, I hope we can make a trade rather than just let someone go for nothing. I am so excited about this season. I just hope the injury bug doesn’t come back. With everyone healthy the sky really is the limit for this team. Our defense is going to be great. I expect big things from the O, but at the very least they will be better than last year. Finally, I think our special teams could really have an impact on score as well as field position. Who Dey?

  4. By theredbengal on May 27, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff, you’re getting me all fired up and ready for some football!

    OTA’s are voluntary and not vital, but the fact that everyone sans Ocho (who has enough of a rep w/ Palmer anyway) is here to go through the “underwear football” is very telling of how mature and focused this team is. I read that the Ravens had a large amount of no shows for their OTA’s, notably Ray Lewis, Suggs, and Boldin. You’d think Boldin, a guy they spent their 3 and 4rd picks and 4yr 28 mil on would be trying to build up a rapport with Flacco. It might not mean anything, but this Bengals team sounds more dedicated and will be ready to rumble in the jungle!

  5. By cincy9 on May 27, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff… just wanted to thank you for “I Think I Believe”, these are always my favorite articles of yours to read. I know you get to see things us normal fans don’t get to see, but really want to know. So its great to get your opinion…

    Also… there is a good 5 minute video on The name of the video is “One and done?” The title sounds bad, but they really talk about why everyone is overlooking the bengals as they have done nothing but get better this offseason after sweeping the division….

    Thanks again and…. Whodey!

  6. By pacomomogoose on May 27, 2010 | Reply

    Hob….. Couldn’t agree more, frustrating the NFL media doesn’t give us any props. Jamie Dukes had some nice things to say on the NFL Channel a few days ago, but that’s about it. And Peter King has us 23rd in his power rankings??? Ludacrious. But maybe this is something our guys use to fuel the fire?? It certainly gets me worked up!

  7. By ready2smoke1 on May 28, 2010 | Reply

    I think I believe, Cincy is an underdog which in the past has worked well for us!!! There will be no reason y we can’t go deep into the playoffs if Carson is on point this year.

  8. By feltsphoto on May 28, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve visited several other sites that cover the NFL as a whole. I’m really surprised at the negative or total lack of coverage of our team. Most rank us at around 15th (between 11 and 23 on most) in the league and called last year a fluke. I can’t wait till they have to eat there words. Yes we have a very tough schedule, but we also have a VERY tough team. The Browns get twice as much as we do. The times I do see stories about blogs about the Bengals they turn in to Steeler blogs on how the division is mad at us for sweeping them and how they are going to seek revenge and sweep us… PLEASE! I’ve been an avid fan of this team since I have been 13 (I’m 36 now) and I can honestly say I have never been more excited and confident going in to a season than this one (yes even more than our last SB against SF) IF, and I do mean IF, we can stay healthy look out. It is about time to shut up our critics and finally hear how we are a team to be feared! I too like the underdog theme we have going, but enough is enough. I WANT SOME RESPECT! I really dislike to use the word hate, but I’m pretty sure I HATE the Steelers and all their steel curtain (stuff) and how Big Ben can walk on water. I think attitudes will be a lot different when sweep them 2 years in a row.


  9. By tepidfan31 on May 28, 2010 | Reply

    Why I think Two Bengals should be on the Bubble

    Geathers vs. all DE’s in NFL in 2009
    Tied for 45th in Tackles
    Tied for 51st in Solo Tackles
    Tied for 59th in Sacks (last 3 yrs, avg 1 every 5 games)
    (and all that money given after 11 Sacks in 2006)

    Caldwell vs. all WR’s in NFL in 2009
    Tied for 51st in yards per Catch (Tied for 2nd last)
    Last in yards After the Catch (just 2 yard avg)
    Tied for 66th in First Downs (where’s Housh?)

  10. By hobsonschoice1 on May 28, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks to one and all for logging in and firing out. Classic responses. One likes the I Think column, another one doesn’t like the I Think column. Which is about the way it goes out here.

    I like Atkins, too. I love how he goes after it, but I’m also worried about his size. He’s going to have to adjust to the NFL bulk. Mr. Geno Atkins, 295 pounds, I give you Mr. Bobbie Williams and all his 345 pounds.

    I think Atkins ends up being a productive NFL player for a long time just because of his intensity alone. You’ve got to love a guy that gets the nickname “Tasmanian Devil,” in the first rookie camp. But I don’t think you can write him in for 5.5 sacks right away.

    I agree. Jordan Palmer isn’t going anywhere. Having the name “Palmer,” probably helps some but this is a brutal business and you better have something more than a big brother. And Jordan does have many other elements to be a serviceable backup NFL quarterback.

    He’s smart, coachable, and has a great big-picture view of this offense and the quarterback position. Plus, he’s been developed by this team over the past three springs and you just don’t discard a 26-year-old QB just like that.

    (By the way, Happy Birthday Jordan.) He turns 26 this Sunday the 30th.

    I think we’re just going to have to get our arms around the fact that they’re going to keep six wide receivers. The chances are virtually zilch that they’ll keep seven.

    They’re not going to go light at QB, running back or tight end. Bob Bratkowski touched on this Tuesday. If you play in the AFC North, you have to have three tight ends. And if they can’t find a backup fullback, it may very well be four tight ends. If you’re committed to the run, it is real tough to keep seven wides.

    That’s why it could come down to a guy like Briscoe against, say, a Matt Jones. We said it a week ago. Briscoe is going to get picked up by another team if he’s cut. So now you have to measure the potential of a 20-year-old (Briscoe doesn’t turn 21 until just before the last preseason game) vs. what the 27-year-old Jones can give you. If you think Briscoe can play, wouldn’t it be hard to cut such a young receiver like that with so many years ahead of him?

    Unless there is going to be come clear-cut stuff in the preseason games, it’s a tough call.

    But maybe Jones wins a game or two this year by catching some bombs and it gets you into the playoffs.

    Not an easy call, huh?

    Even though I’m hated out there, I don’t like pushing the idea of hate. So take it easy on the Steelers. Their fans just want to win, too. It would be nice if we could all sit back with our beverage of choice and talk about it and enjoy the game instead of turning it into life and death, and good and evil, Red Sox vs. Yankees.

    Thanks for sending along the clip. The Bengals will end up getting some love from the national media.

    There are guys out there that have been plugged into what’s been going on here since Marvin arrived.’s Len Pasquarelli was at Georgetown early and often. Pete Prisco of CBS picked them as one of his surprises last year. Clark Judge, his CBS colleague, never hesitates to reserach them. Don Banks of is never afraid to go against convention and Steve Wyche of and NFL Network is a two-way threat that usually gets it right.

    Of course, some of the criticism has been valid. All I’m saying is the days you didn’t have to make a call on the Bengals and could blow off a paragraph about thugs, organizational dysfunction, no chemistry, and bad drafts are gone.

    You’ve got to look them up now because there is a lot more here than that.

  11. By 2ndboot on May 28, 2010 | Reply

    Hobby, my grandfather was a baseball catcher and at one time when he was underage the Reds tried to sign him, but his family wouldn’t let him play pro ball, but to this day I can remember him talking about how the media and even refs and umpires disliked Cincinnati and that was back in the early 60’s. Now that I’m almost the age he was when he told me those things nothing has really changed and it’s all carried over to the Bengals as well.
    The Reds have never gotten respect even when they were the BRM and the Bengals will probably never get the respect either, but us fans know better so in many ways it’s kind of nice to always be able to nod to the morons of the nation who think the Bengals and Reds will always be second shelf teams even when they’re able to beat any team.
    I say let them flap their gums and accuse us of anything they like and when the Lombardy comes to PBS they’ll still never give the well deserved respect.
    After all.. Do any of you out there have even the slightest bit of respect for the Yankees?…I didn’t think so..and those who do, in the words of WC Fields.. Go away..You bother me.
    Who DEY!

  12. By samoanjungle on May 28, 2010 | Reply

    I have to agree with you Hob on the sports writers’ attitude towards the 2010 Bengals. They have already handed the AFC North to the Ravens.
    I heard an analyst the other day say something like “You may be surprised but I actually think the Bengals have a shot at winning the AFC North”.
    You would think the Ravens swept US last year.
    Another show was ranking QBs as Top Tier and Second Tier. Carson didn’t even get a mention while Flacco and Roethlisberger did.
    No Respect. I hope the Bengals go out and prove everyone wrong in 2010.

  13. By tepidfan31 on May 30, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff, I generally agree with your 5 Stats, however, I disagree with Geathers, and I would bet that Marvin expects him to have more sacks and pressures than he has had in the last 3 years. The DE’s are where most of sacks come from, especially from the right (blind) side, and when there is pressure up the middle. It is possible that he was double teamed a lot, but that was not the case in every game. Take a look at when the Patriots and Colts were beaten, it has always been from sacks and pressure on Brady and Manning. In today’s football pressure on the QB and protection of the QB are the keys to winning especially the playoff games against the good passing teams. You will never make a come-back without them.
    Number of tackles; our base is a 4-3, and not a 3-4 like the Ravens, where the LB’s are protected and expected to make the tackles. Tell Peko that his tackles are not important! Again, I would bet that Marvin expects more tackles from Geathers.
    If sacks, which goes hand in hand with pressure, mean nothing, then neither do interceptions and passes defended, along with support , which is how they measure a good corner. Individual stats when totaled define a good offense and defense; they are not meaningless.
    Opinions from your devil’s advocate, Groh.

  14. By tcrouse78 on Jun 1, 2010 | Reply

    I Think I Believe that Chase Coffman could be the biggest surprise of the year that completely opens up the Bengals passing game. When our running game continues to be effective, don’t be surprised to see Chase in there in a double TE set and then see him get some big play receptions through the play action game. Defenses will not be able to handle our new depth in the hands game.

    I have actually noticed that we are getting mentioned this year as much as we ever have been. The problem is that we have a lot to prove when it come to winning the big games… and as I always say, this is going to be our year. WHO DEY!

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