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Quick Glance

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on August 16, 2010 – 2:49 pm

In honor of tight end Jermaine Gresham’s 19-yard route on the last play of the first quarter Sunday night, here is one man’s quick Glance at the 33-24 win over the Broncos:

» The first offensive line held up, didn’t it in pass protection? Of course, there was no Elvis Dumervil out there, but then Dumervil didn’t have a sack against them in last year’s regular-season opener.

Then again, Denver, which now has no pass rushers, played more vanilla than Dallas and played pretty much straight up with no blitzes or games along the front and the Bengals responded after an urgent week of practice. The Eagles, in here Friday night, always seem to play aggressively on defense so that should be an interesting first half from a protection standpoint.

Quarterback Carson Palmer did his damage in that third drive against a secondary that didn’t have cornerback Champ Bailey in there, but it looked like the rest of the DBs that started were.

It’s hard to tell about the running game because that’s all about rhythm and with the first two series scripted, they’re trying to see different things instead of setting up a game plan. Take away running back Cedric Benson’s 21-yard run and he had nine yards on eight carries. But then again, in that stretch Palmer threw almost twice as many passes (15) and you can’t see that happening during the season.

» Especially when you’ve got a weapon around like No. 2 backup Bernard Scott. A 38-yard run and 46-yard catch on a screen pass and now he’s averaging 24 yards a catch and 5.6 yards a run in the preseason. Combine that with the regular season and preseason of last year and he’s averaging 4.8 per run and more than 15 per catch. Are we to see some kind of Great Scott package to get him about 10 touches a game?

» Remember back to even just two years ago when the closest thing the Bengals had to a punt returner was Mike Martin? Except the problem is he was then the 48-year-old coach at Taft High School. After Peter Warrick left and went away in 2004, it wasn’t exactly a Billy White Shoes Hall of Fame. You either had guys you didn’t want to do it in T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deltha O’Neal, or guys that struggled with it in Keiwan Ratliff and Antonio Chatman.  Hey, Skyler Green and Leon Hall actually combined to return 11 punts in 2007 and 2008.

Now you’ve got three guys that could be the No. 1 punt returner on any club in the league.

Wide receiver Quan Cosby is following up the best year a Bengals punt returner has had since Martin led the NFL in 1984 with more, popping one for 43 and another for 17 on Sunday night. And he’s fighting to make the roster. The two guys that look to make it, wide receiver Jordan Shipley and cornerback Adam Jones, have also gone long. Shipley encored his 63-yarder last week against Dallas with a 21-yarder Sunday, and Jones got in the fray with a nifty 28-yarder up the sideline, aided, by the way, with a Scott block.

So you’ve got a 63, a 43, and a 28 from each guy.  In the four seasons from ’05-‘08, the longest return was Ratliff’s 38-yarder in ’06. Jones’ 28-yarder would have been their longest one in 2005 and 2007, when they didn’t have one of at least 20 yards. And Shipley already has two.

» More depth?

What happens on the defensive line and secondary now that they have to keep four running backs instead of three because of the foot injury to Brian Leonard? They very well may have to go one less at one of those spots with either eight defensive linemen or nine DBs, but try to break it down and it shows you how much talent they truly have.

The D-line looked active; although there was some surprise how Denver’s offensive line pushed the starters back early on double teams. But the kids continue to impress. Fourth-rounder Geno Atkins, the rookie defensive tackle, has 3.5 sacks in the two games after 1.5 on Sunday.  They’ve always liked second-year defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. And doesn’t Frostee Rucker, who plays both end and tackle, always do something? Last night he scooped up Tim Tebow’s fumble that wasn’t for a 34-yard touchdown.

(Stat note: The play-by-play sheet incorrectly identified Tank Johnson as the player accessed the personal foul on a hit to quarterback Kyle Orton that revived a TD drive after linebacker Brandon Johnson knocked away a third-down pass in the end zone. It should have been on lineman Antwan Odom.)

Second-rounder Carlos Dunlap got his first snaps at end. He may end up being more suited to play tackle, but he flew around a little bit and got a few shots on Tebow, his old Florida teammate.

Right now you’ve got 11. You’ve got your four starters (Geathers, Odom, Peko, Tank Johnson). You’ve got the two guys that can play both end and tackle in Rucker and Jon Fanene. You’ve got the run stopper Pat Sims. You’ve got the draft picks in Dunlap and Atkins. You’ve got the young vets in McDonald and Orien Harris.

Wow, if they keep only eight. And, wow if they keep nine, too.

What about the secondary if they only keep nine with five corners?  You’ve got the top three of Joseph, Hall, and Adam Jones and then  a third-round pick Brandon Ghee (hurt Sunday), two guys that played No. 3 for a season in Morgan Trent and David Jones, and a rookie free agent in Johnny Sears that has impressed despite picking up back-to-back pass interference calls against the Broncos. David Jones’ 24-yard interception return for a TD on Sunday served notice he hasn’t gone away.  But doesn’t a team that plays six games against 4,000-yard QBs need as many corners as they can get?

Nice problem to have.

» It’s a big surprise that the first defense has allowed as many long drives as it has in the first two games. Sunday’s three pass-interference calls against the corners (the other was on Leon Hall) were uncharacteristic, as were their problems with the play-action pass.

But don’t you get the idea that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is holding onto a lot of stuff until Sept. 12 in Foxboro? He was as vanilla Sunday as Broncos D-coordinator Don Martindale.


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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “Quick Glance”

  1. By looking4sb1 on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    Very good points. I agree that it looks like Zimmer has been holding back during these first preseason games — and he should. But I do have concerns with the lack of pressure our starting D-linemen are getting. Also, Leon Hall looked a bit off his game last night. BUT it’s the preseason… so we might not be seeing the max effort from the starting D, just yet.

    Also, I liked how the offense started to show signs of life — they moved the ball a little more effectively and converted some third downs. As long as the offense continues to improve, I think we’re in for a good year.

  2. By theredbengal on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    No doubt about it: Gresham and Shipley are the real deal. Guys, how good does this draft class look? Those two, plus Ghee looked quick, Dunlap’s got the quickness, Reggie Stephens stepped in for Cook and didn’t miss a beat, and Holy Krumrie! does Geno Atkins look like a steal in the 4th round! How did he drop to the 4th?!

    The weapons are aplenty. Scott looks very comfortable with a year under his belt. And not that I think this offense will need it, but jeez the punt returns might be even better than last year. Nothing helps an offense more than good returns on special teams.

    Take away 2 of those defensive penalties (Hall’s 40 yd PI and roughing the passer), the Bengals defense doesn’t give up a TD until the final seconds of the game.

    My expectations were high going into this preseason, and nothing has been done to change them.

    Good stuff, Geoff. Keep up those great insights!

  3. By wildcat14278 on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    I was wondering what do you think about the receivers competition. I have seen you mention before that you still consider Andre Caldwell a lock to make it, but I just wonder why you do? With what he brings to the table, I don’t see where or how he would help? I don’t think he will ever be more than a 3 or a 4th receiver in the league. If the Bengals keep just 6 receivers, in my opinion it should be Chad, TO, Bryant (basically have to becuase of the contract), Shipley, Cosby, and Simpson. You have guys there who can play outside and the slot. I believe you have to keep Cosby, with how well he does on special teams, plus I think he brings almost the same as Caldwell the receiver spot. While Simpson seems to be getting it more now, and is a guy who eventually could be that #1 guy for us, while Caldwell never will be in my opinion. We have some older receivers, so we need to keep a guy who can be a #1 in future, or fill in if one of the older guys go down. So I was just interested in why you think Caldwell is a lock, because I just don’t see why he should be a lock. Or maybe if you have changed your opinion, after seeing them play some now?

  4. By jgoods on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    I’m also suprised about the long drives the D has let up so far. But like John Thornton said via twitter. Leon Hall is a technician, and plays better with a defensive scheme and film work. Hes not going to line up against guys and be more athletic, he wins with his preparation and technique. So Hall gets a pass. And Geoff, No more Leon Hall stories just before a game.

    I really think they have to figure out a way to get as many skill players on the 53 as possible. If that means keeping 2 QBs, A.Smith on PUP, Bryant injury settlement. That would save 3 roster spots for at least the first 6 weeks. And Fui Vakapuna needs to play. Any update on him? If he can carry the ball like he did in college, maybe he can be the 4th RB, and Dan Coats/ Dan Skuta can be the backup FB until Leonard is healthy.

    Maybe Mcdonald can sneak onto the P.S. again. But you have to keep 10 D-lineman and 10 DBs when you play the sched we do next year. But does that only leave 6 LBs? Tough Choices. You would love to keep 25 players on offense and defense. So we could be looking at 5 CB, 4 S, 7 LB, 9 DL.

    My mind is swimming with scenarios. so i’ll stop now. I’ll get to see the Bengals first hand on the 28th in Buffalo. Whodey!

  5. By mwindle1973 on Aug 17, 2010 | Reply

    We still have no answer for cutting Big Willie way back when do we? Roland is definitely the starter right now. I think Smith could easily take that away, but when will he even see the practice field? Cook has looked really good as Whit and Bobbie Williams have as well. Livings looks improved, but still could do better there. But ROT is a little weak, although I have never seen Roland pass protect better. But then again talk about a no-name Dline.

    The rookie 7th rounder Reggie Stephens looked really good coming in at C for the injured Kyle Cook. I bet we see him earlier in the game at G next week. He has a great burst off the line and was able to stand the NT up several times.

    But the line still has some work.

    What about WR too. Ocho, Bryant, TO, Shipley are a lock. You have to assume Caldwell could be too (?). Simpson is starting to make a run for it, with Jones finding his way a little too. Simpson flashed why we drafted him against Denver. But he can’t play the slot or STs. Cosby is a great STs blocker and PRer. And he can provide quality snaps at the slot. You have Ocho and TO and possibly Bryant who can play the X spot do we have room for Simpson? And you also have TO, Bryant and Caldwell who can all play the Z spot. It’s really unknown if any of these 4 guys other than Caldwell can play the Y spot. With Shipley filling the bill there wouldn’t it make since to keep Cosby as another Y WR and PRer.

    Doesn’t it seem like Caldwell’s stock has lowered a great deal so far. Other guys are making plays and he is not. I think when you look at who’s a lock on the roster right now, his name is not on the list. SHipley has bumped him down. And Simpson and Jones are getting closer to him. Cosby probably has to win the PRers job to make the roster. I say this based on the fact he isn’t getting the snaps at WR. Briscoe has some time still to try and make his presence felt and Purify provides great STs.

    Looks like it’s turned into a 6 man scrum for those final 1 or 2 spots

  6. By atn1980 on Aug 17, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Hobs, why not trade Cosby to the Jets for a FB? I was watching the new Hard Knocks and it looks like they are loaded at FB… and with our recent injuries at FB wouldn’t it be a good idea to get something out of Cosby before you cut him? And before you say he’s not gone yet… He’s not going to make it as a WR on this team with the talent in front of him. I thought he would make it as a punt returner but with Adam Jones and Shipley showing they can handle the responsibilities… I just can’t see him making the team as a cover man on the punt team. I love the guy, he provided this team with something we haven’t had in a long time… and I would like to see him playing in the NFL somewhere… so why not try to get something for him rather than nothing… I would expect the Jets to feel the same way with their talent at FB.

  7. By 2ndboot on Aug 17, 2010 | Reply

    Just wondering why the Bengals would even think about letting Quan Cosby get lose..They might have an abundance of guys for now, but these kind of talents just don’t grow on trees along the Ohio river.. If push came to shove they could even entertain the notion of using Quan as a 4th back, but letting him get away would be tantamount to moving te team to Dayton and buying Welcome Stadium to use as the new home of the Bengals.. Dum de dum dum..

  8. By hobsonschoice1 on Aug 17, 2010 | Reply

    GUYS: You’re right, Caldwell’s stock has dipped but I don’t think enough to knock him out off the roster. He can still run and knows all three spots and you need a backup slot guy.

    But, Cosby makes things interesting. I’m with you, don’t throw him away even though you have Shipley and Adam Jones. Jones is on a thread and do you want Shipley returning punts if he’s your slot guy?

    I don’t know how this club could keep just five corners going into a season they play Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers.

    Do they start looking at keeping only two QBs? Do they go light at linebacker (six instead of seven?) Do they only keep three backs even if Brian Leonard misses the first couple of games?

    A lot of issues. No answers. Three weeks left.

  9. By overthroensamoan on Aug 17, 2010 | Reply

    The Eagles will be a much better indication of where this team is. You know they’re going to bring alot of pressure, lets see how the line holds up Friday. WR still seems to be a jumbled mess. 85,81, Shipley are locks after that who knows. I say the final 2 spots will go to Bryant and Simpson. I think Cosby still makes it as the PR. I see them going light at LB or QB. Sorry JT

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