Five takes

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on August 13, 2010 – 3:59 pm

Five observations:

1. BRADY BUNCH:  It would be nice if at some point Sunday night against the Broncos the Bengals’ first offense could do what the Saints and Patriots did in their opener Thursday night.

In his second series, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led a 14-play, 93-yard TD drive that featured three throws of at least 20 yards. In his third series, quarterback Drew Brees took New Orleans 86 yards in 20 plays for a TD.   
With Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and…well, that’s fairly comparable firepower, isn’t it? But note that the Saints had two three-and-outs before Brees had his scoring drive. And in his first drive Brady couldn’t convert a red-zone turnover into a touchdown and New England had to settle for a field goal.

It makes you start to think, “Why can’t they do that that?” but if you take another look it took each club about six or so snaps to get warmed up and that’s about all the Bengals had Sunday night in Canton.  So don’t hang them just yet, give them some rope. If they get close to a quarter and can’t score, then maybe you can start with the why-can’t-they-do-thats.

One interesting note about Brady’s 17 snaps as reported by The Boston Globe’s Albert Breer. All but three had Brady under center, including a third-and-14 play-action pass that resulted in a 16-yarder to Brandon Tate, a second-year receiver taken in the third round. Used to be you always knew where two things were located in New England. Brady would be in the shotgun and Paul Revere’s statue would be in the North End.  

But the Pats are changing gears, like the Bengals did last year. As Breer notes, they won’t ditch the spread, but they did come out in that first red-zone series with one back, one receiver and three tight ends (two of them prized rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski) in an effort to become more balanced.

Yet you don’t hear anybody complaining that they’re taking the ball out of Brady’s hands. That’s what three Super Bowls get you. Bob Bratkowski, like offensive coordinators everywhere, gets continually ripped. But his ability to execute Marvin Lewis’ vision won them the division last year.
2. T.O. CAN STILL RUN: Maybe I’m nuts, but Terrell Owens looks closer to a No. 1 draft pick than a 36-year-old receiver at the end. I’m just basing that off what he’s done against cornerback Leon Hall in practice. Remember last year? Nobody ran past Hall last season with any consistency. He and cornerback Johnathan Joseph just don’t give up long balls.

Brandon Marshall’s longest catch against them was nine yards. Santonio Holmes’ longest catch against them in two games was 21 yards. The longest catch by a Ravens wide receiver in two games was 23 and they had none of 20 in one game. No Vikings wide receiver had a catch of 20 and neither did any Jets receivers in the last two games. The one
game Hall did get nicked was in San Diego on Vincent Jackson’s 34-yard touchdown catch.

So you’d have to say these two guys can play. If not at a Pro Bowl level then pretty close, and Owens, working on Hall’s side a lot of the time, has managed to get by a few times.

Virtually no one did that last year.

3. NO PANIC ON GEATHERS: The Bengals are trying to figure out what’s wrong with the foot of left end Robert Geathers and have put it in a boot. Word is the worst-case scenario is he might not be able to play until the regular season.

Perfect. The guy got worn down last season, barely ever coming off the field after an offseason he had microfracture knee surgery, and if he can get some time to chill now it probably would be the best thing that ever happened to him and second-round pick Carlos Dunlap.  Dunlap needs snaps. Drink plenty of fluids, kid.

4. FAVORITE ROOKIE: Got to like Vincent Rey, the rookie free agent linebacker out of Duke. He’ll hit you and ask questions later and apparently his comedy standup was the hit of the rookie show. He’s Queens all the way. Grew up in Far Rockaway. Went to Bayside High School. Likes the Mets instead of the Yankees, so you could like him based on that alone. Dad drives a subway train underneath Manhattan.
Of course it’s a longshot, but maybe the practice squad calls. Yet he doesn’t look out of place. He’s far from intimidated. It doesn’t look, as they like to say, that it’s too big for him.
5. TWO-WAY GO: Some of the reactions of moving linebacker Dan Skuta to fullback were interesting.

They didn’t just wake up after Sunday’s game and say, “All those who played fullback or tight end in high school, take one step forward. Michael Johnson, not so fast.”

They scouted Skuta as both a fullback and linebacker when he was coming out of Grand Valley State, sending both running backs coach Jim Anderson and assistant linebackers coach Paul Guenther to work him out.

And head coach Marvin Lewis was intrigued enough that he put Skuta in some offensive meetings this past spring in a potential backup role. Last Tuesday he said it was a good time to make the switch because they see Skuta as playing some linebacker and since he’s well-versed in the defense, they could take some time before the season to school him in the offense and see what he can do.

Even if starting fullback Fui Vakapuna didn’t get hurt it sounds like they would have done it anyway because Skuta can’t remember if Lewis came to him before or after Vakapuna dinged his shoulder.

So the move didn’t come out of left field.

One of the great differences between football and baseball:

In baseball, a guy moving from first base to left field merely has to change gloves and catch a few flies to change positions. But in football, a guy has to change his life and if it’s going to work it can’t be thrown together.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Five takes”

  1. By 2ndboot on Aug 13, 2010 | Reply

    The QB and OC complaints.. Geoff, I truly believe that some fans would complain if the sky was blue in the day time over Cincinnati and dark at night. I don’t see Brat as being a bad guy at all, but soon as anything goes wrong he’s the first one they want to drag out to beat on. Good thing he has a tough skin..
    As much as I hate the Mets the Yankees have to be the icing on the cake of teams I hate the most…well, maybe the Cards too..
    I like Rey a lot and hope he sticks around a while.. Hating the Yankees is just a plus. 😉
    Because Geathers didn’t get 40 sacks last year some guys think he’s ready for Arena Football.. I have a hunch Mike Zimmer would disagree..
    ..and about Skooter.. What can ya say? The guy seems to be multi-talented. Can he kick too? Play Cheerleader while he’s at it?
    Has he thrown any TD passes in practice yet?
    Just watch..someone on the boards will suggest any time now he be promoted to Carson’s backup. LOL

  2. By hobsonschoice1 on Aug 13, 2010 | Reply

    BOOT: Spoken like the seasoned observer you are.

    The Cards broke my heart in ’67. I still remember the newspaper cartoon of a kid writing on a fence after he hit a three-run homer into the Fenway net in Game 7: “Julian Javier is a herk.

  3. By 303bengalguy on Aug 13, 2010 | Reply

    Watching the videos of camp (which by the way are great, I wish they were posted every day) T.O. looks to be a man amongst boys out there. I have been telling everyone I know Bengal and non-Bengal fans alike, how fast he looks and precise he seems to be in his cuts vs. the other guys, not to mention just how great his physique seems to be.

    Also, pertinent to my question below, Vincent Rey is a guy I’ve taken a double take on more than once in the vids between the OTA’s and the most current camp practices… saying “wait, who’s that guy that looks so explosive again?” V Rey and G Atkins are two of the guys who’s numbers I had to look up because they got me in “whoa!” mode.

  4. By jgoods on Aug 13, 2010 | Reply

    I was all with you in the first few lines Geoff. Then you said give them a chance. I do agree, they need more time before we know who or what to blame. In just 10 snaps, it looked like Bengals 2009 Year in Review. I know its preseason, and the offense should look generic, so I am not ready to jump over the Falls, but concern is just around the corner.
    I cant wait to see what Carlos Dunlap brings to the table. Hes big enough to defend the run, and athletic enough to rush the passer. Hopefully the same scouting reports that hurt MJ93’s stock will turn out with similar results. You have talked to the guy, what do you think?

  5. By looking4sb1 on Aug 13, 2010 | Reply

    If T.O. can break off those big gains by going deep, it would definitely open up the playbook. Safeties would have to start playing back and linebackers would have to drop to take away the slant routes. As long as the five O-linemen can hold the three or four defensive rushers for 3-4 seconds, things should look pretty good. And if nothing opens up downfield, we should have an easy dump off in Manning-esque fashion to the running back underneath for a good 5-10 yards.

    If the running game is going like it was last year, play action should be T.O.’s biggest friend. With the speed he’s showing, one bit of hesitation by the corner will be a ten yard gap for T.O.

    This is my dream.

  6. By theredbengal on Aug 14, 2010 | Reply

    The bashing of the O-Coordinator is something that all fans HAVE to do. It’s just a rite of passage being a football fan. And, as much as I have yelled about ‘predictable’ playcalling from cozy section 338 going on 10 years now at PBS, you can’t fully blame Brat. He’s not on the field executing the plays.

    Brat has had good offenses every year he’s had the tools healthy and at the ready. He’s never had a solid defense to go along with his offense. Now he does. Brat also hasn’t had this kind of talented and deep WR core since ’05, when Kevin Walter (Texans #2 WR) was the 4th or 5th guy behind the triplets and Squirrel Dance (K Washington). He’s never had a guy like Gresham at his disposal.

    You could argue that at the end of last year, the 2nd and 3rd reliable options after Ocho for C. Palmer to throw to were Foschi and Leonard. No offense to those two, but that’s a big yikes!

    Not this year. Ocho. TO. Bryant (hopefully). Shipley. Gresham. Caldwell. Coffman. M. Jones (?). There will be no #2 WR struggles this year. This organization has gone all in. There will be no folding. Not this year. Who dey!

    (The sounds of “welcome to the jungle” in the distance)

  7. By whodey2010 on Aug 14, 2010 | Reply

    Personally, I love that we have so much depth on D that people are ready to dump Geathers to get Michael Johnson and Dunlap on the field. On top of that, that a guy like Rey is a “long shot, but maybe the practice squad.” Here’s a thought: Any chance that moving Skuta to FB is a roster move to keep Rey? If Coach Lewis did this in the spring, maybe they thought they had something special in Rey and didn’t wanna risk losing him off the practice squad? If he continues to play the way he has, and keeps putting it on tape, he won’t stick on the practice squad. Just a thought……And Boot: I’m all for Skuta being Carson’s backup, as long O’Sullivan’s gone…..Obviously a joke, but I can’t imagine him being worse than J.T. Every time I see him drop 3 steps and duck, I cringe at the thought of another Kimo moment, and the hands our offense would be in. In my opinion, Jordan is MUCH better, and I still believe Matt Jones would be better too. All in all, I’m excited for Sept. 12, and highly encourage as much playing time for the backups until then. We know the locks on this team, but the cuts will almost all be tough. Get as much out of these guys as we can to make it easier, and to ensure our starters stay healthy. It’s gonna be a great season……

  8. By hobsonschoice1 on Aug 15, 2010 | Reply

    JGood: I haven’talked to Dunlap as much as I should. Like Johnson, he’s quiet so it’s hard to tell. You’re right. He had the same knock as Johnson. Not always intense. Goes hard one or two out of every three, the draftnicks say. But he seems to get the importance of it and he carries himself like he’s from a big program so it shouldn’t be too big for him.

    They were clearly wrong about Mike, but let’s see what he does against the Broncos. He hasn’t done much because of his concussion and he has yet to take a snap against, as Marvin Lewis would say, someboy in a different helmet.

    But, look, this talk about dumping Geathers is just outrageous. The guy is 27, productive, tough, versatile and never comes off the field. Dunlap may be that one day, but not now. How do you know what he is? And by when? That’s a move, if it comes at all, is at least two years down the road.

    And from what I understand, Who Dey, Skuta is being counted as a linebacker and so that would not open a spot for Rey. They won’t count two fullbacks

  9. By whodey2010 on Aug 15, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t want to dump Geathers, I just think it’s great that we’re so deep at this position that people are willing to discuss getting rid of a guy his caliber. And as far as my comment on Skuta at FB, that is pending Fui’s shoulder. If he’s not healthy come opening day, he could be on PUP, with Skuta as his fill in instead of signing a new guy. This would allow us to keep Rey, and make the decision after week 6 to keep Fui, or keep Rey and leave Skuta at FB while either cutting Fui or placing him on IR. Just a thought I had…..

  10. By hobsonschoice1 on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    WHO DEY: Yes, I understand where you’re going on Geathers, I just wanted to make the point it just isn’t an option. Also, Fui can’t go on PUP because he has already practiced at least once in training camp. So they would have to IR him, cut him, or, if he’s like Leonard and back early in the season, carry him on the 53.

    I’m not sure how confident they are in making Skuta the No. 1 guy after just what will be about a month of playing the position.

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