I put on my Lance McAlister “I Believe” T-shirt and read Peter King’s “Things I Think I Believe” in this week’s Sports Illustrated and came up with these things I Think I Believe:
» A year after not having Roy Williams for 12 games and losing Chris Crocker down the stretch, the Bengals took another hit at safety when Gibril Wilson tore up his knee Friday against the Eagles and looks to be done for the year. The guy is into it and they loved his familiarity with some aspects of the defense. Wilson spent some time with the Giants under Marvin Lewis disciple Tim Lewis.
The Bengals now need a fourth safety and I Think I Believe don’t sleep on Rico Murray, the Moeller High School product via Kent State in his second season. He also plays cornerback and runs around on teams at high intensity. The fact he’s a swing guy is interesting. Could they keep just nine DBs, now, if they kept Murray? They would still have the magical number of six corners if they count Murray as a safety and count five others at corner.
» It took just one night to realize how good this defense can be. Kevin Kolb may not be Donovan McNabb, but he’s at the controls of a proven offensive scheme that had put up some numbers in the preseason. The intriguing thing about them is how deep they are at all three levels. They’ve never had this much depth on the defensive line ever, ever.
Who do you cut there? I don’t know, but I Think I Believe that at least two of them will end up with jobs the next day.
» How about some midseason preseason awards?
I Think I Believe Co-Offensive MVPs would be wide receiver Terrell Owens and running back Cedric Peerman. Defensive MVP would be rookie tackle Geno Atkins, and Special Teams MVP would be returner Adam Jones.
» But I Think I Believe that running back Cedric Benson has looked extremely good. He looks fast, decisive, and ready to dole out some more punishment. It doesn’t look like they’re carving out a lot of room for them, does it?
Which brings me to the next.
» The offensive vibes still aren’t there and I Think I Believe that’s a gnawing concern that is now moving into the pit of the stomach. Especially after watching the Opening Day foe the night before. Tom Brady and the Patriots already look at the top of their game.
The ease with which New England scored against the Falcons is a not-so-subtle reminder in a year the Bengals play Brady, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees – plus Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco twice – that they have to do a lot more than what they’ve been doing the last three years. They have to roll out more than their one or two touchdowns a game and the same old story of pre-snap penalties, holding calls, and not-on-the-same-page interceptions is more than a bit mystifying after three games.
The defense is good but it can only take the Bengals so far with this schedule.
» I Think I Believe the kicking situation is a mess. Both guys have lived up to the backs of their football cards. Dave Rayner makes about 70 percent of his field-goal tries and Mike Nugent has struggled with injuries. The Texans gave Neil Rackers a good bit of change to sign him this offseason, but along about the third quarter Friday night you had to be thinking how the guy would do kicking on this FieldTurf surface rather than the lunar landscape he dealt with his first three seasons here.
» The Bengals are suddenly thin on the offensive line with the release of center Jon Luigs and injured tackles. It is unclear how long Anthony Collins (foot) is going to be out, but it appears it may be just a sprain. Still, I Think I Believe they could go after a center-guard type on Cutdown Day.
Tags: roster look
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