Questions for a new week

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on November 29, 2010 – 11:32 am

Questions. From immediate to big picture.

The Bengals go back to work Monday with the most immediate question revolving around their kicker.  As in, who is it going to be Sunday in the 1 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium game against the Super Bowl champion Saints? Marvin Lewis sure made it sound like it won’t be Aaron Pettrey.

The next most pressing question is the state of the secondary. As in, will there be more of one than has played the last seven quarters?  The Saints come marching in with their cadre of receivers and quarterback Drew Brees’ deadly 105 passer rating on third down, so they’ll  need to get at least a couple of defensive backs healthy. Cornerback Rico Murray (ankle) has indicated he’ll be ready to go and safety Roy Williams would have two weeks rest after his concussion. It would also be two weeks since cornerback Johnathan Joseph reaggravated his ankle sprain.

Plus, are they looking at a second straight blackout? Of the three remaining home games, the thinking had been this one has the best shot of selling out. As of Monday morning, they don’t expect it to be sold out.

The Bengals are 4-3 against Super Bowl champs in the last decade. They knocked off the Steelers twice last year, split with them in 2006, and in between lost to the Giants in overtime on the road. The 21-10 win over Baltimore at PBS came in the first game since 9/11 on Sept 23, 2001. Not a good 43rd birthday for future Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, then the Ravens defensive coordinator.

(But one of the touchdowns came on linebacker Takeo Spikes’ interception return.)

Then there are the longer-term questions that won’t be answered until after the season ends Jan. 2. The coaching situation figures to be resolved one way or another that week, but there are other questions pending a new collective bargaining agreement and that’s a question in itself.

The biggest on-field question is no doubt the offense. It has never hit stride since the first two games of 2007. In the 46 games quarterbacked by Carson Palmer since, the Bengals offense has scored three or more touchdowns eight times.

The next question – how to fix it – isn’t so easy.

It is easy to start with the quarterback, particularly when you look at the Monday morning passing stats. Carson Palmer’s 15 interceptions are fewer than only Brett Favre’s 17 and Eli Manning’s 16, and he’s ranked 30th in average gain and 26th in passer rating, behind former backups Jon Kitna and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

But out of all the pieces, the quarterback is the hardest to get. And there are those that insist the majority of the picks aren’t Palmer’s fault. Although, there seems to be no doubt the two in the end zone in the last two games fall squarely on his shoulders.

Yet here’s a guy that through those first two games in ’07 had 86 TDs and 45 interceptions in his first 47 starts and that doesn’t include the ’05 Wild Card Game. In the 46 games since (including the ’09 Wild Card game), he has 61 TDs and 50 interceptions. Palmer is a guy that has obviously been there, done that.

What happened?

Personnel? Timing? Protection? Scheme?

Those are all factors impacting the quarterback and, at some point, that is the ultimate question facing the franchise.

Does fixing the factors make the quarterback better or not at age 31?

Not an easy answer, although the numbers would say the QB is in his prime and he can still wing it. Those guys don’t grow on trees.

Just some of the questions.  Big and small.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 21 Comments »

21 Responses to “Questions for a new week”

  1. By bengalpete on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    I believe that CP has some years left. I think the Bengals Org. has to turn its back on the aging dynamic duo. If CP had a receiving core that would actually work out w/ him in the offseason, I think there would be no more “not on the same page” routes. Gresham and Shipley are 2 big steps in the right direction. A little house cleaning on both lines and the secondary wouldn’t hurt either. I hate to say it, but I think Marvin needs a new home. The honeymoon is over. We fans got a taste of the playoffs last year, but I don’t think it’ll happen again soon unless some serious changes happen soon.

  2. By 2ndboot on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    If you want to take the path of least resistance you throw Palmer under the bus and keep on with the same trash O-line, Diva WRs and butter fingered RB and plug in someone else and likely get similar results.
    I have no doubts if Palmer goes elsewhere he’ll become the CP of old and come back to shred us to pieces. If he stays his career continues to be mired in mediocrity along with everyone else because of the way this team is run, like a backwater high school team..
    One of the saddest things that can happen to a great QB is to put in stripes it seems. Can you even imagine how his career would have been on any other team giving him decent protection with sufficient weapons instead of continual retreads? He would be a shoe in for the HOF, but instead like all Bungle QBs his career goes in high speed reverse.
    IF MB ever wakes up top realize his role ought to be just that of team owner and keep his hands off day to day operations things MIGHT change, but that’s hope against hope. The only bright side is the knowledge that he can’t outlive everyone even though it sure feels that way at times.

  3. By looking4sb1 on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    As much as it’s frustrated me to watch Palmer consistently miss open receivers while throwing into double and triple coverage this year, I think he is the least of our worries.

    Here is my top-5 list of items the Bengals need to address:

    1. Improve the offensive line. Many of the offensive problems disappear when there are gaping running lanes, minimal penetration, and flawless pass protection. 2. Improve the defensive pass rushers. Heck, we might have the future pass rushers already in Johnson and Dunlap, but we can’t keep converting our best pass-rushing athletes to linebackers.
    3. Safety. Our safeties are getting older and brittle. Ndukwe is decent, but I don’t think Nelson is not the answer. A solid safety under the right scheme can do wonders for a defense — just look at Kansas City and Eric Berry this year.
    4. Hire a new offensive coordinator. Bengals fans have been saying it for the past few years — our system is predictable. Brat also hasn’t gotten the job done with making sure all players know the system.
    5. Resign Jonathan Joseph! J. Jo. is as solid as they come at corner. Yes, his injuries concern me, but I would assume that should help us get him for a little less money than the top corners in the league.

    Finally, my ultimate fantasy wish is for Mike Brown to give his power to a worthy GM.

  4. By overthroensamoan on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah Palmer has looked really bad this year but it’s clearly not all his fault. I think mentally he’s a basket case. He has no trust in a subpar line and still no chemistry with a group of receivers (other than Shipley) that believe a designed route is only a suggestion. I recommend you watch the NFL Network Sounds of the Game replay of the Jets game. It shows the nonsense coaches and players alike have to put up with when it comes to 85. The guy is entirely consumed with himself. It also shows the huge number of mistakes made by coaches and players alike that have doomed this team. Gresham running the wrong route on the ball picked in the back of the endzone. Marvin going for a FG down 10 with a kicker in way over his head. The horrible job done by the entire Special Teams on KO return for TD. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately for the loyal fan base this team must start all over AGAIN!!!

  5. By bengalboy21 on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    There needs to be a change in philosophy with this team. Let’s take a cue from the Colts, who have one of the lowest payrolls in the NFL yet consistently put together solid teams. They do this because they have a GM who knows what he’s doing.

    As hard as it may be for MB, he needs to hire the most solid GM he can, and let them take on the role of hiring coaches and making personnel decisions.

    Until then, we’ll be the hamster on the wheel.

  6. By jengal3 on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    I’d hate to see Palmer go, but everything is so murky, it’s hard to see how it could work out.

    I was astounded at how poor his passes looked on Thursday, especially the deep balls. Every one looked short. Which made me wonder, which foot was bothering him? Was it his planting foot? That might explain why he was airballing the football.

    And I have to go back to wondering if he’s trying to force a play with T.O. when T.O. just ain’t open.

    One last comment: I just wish I could see more passion from him. I know his work ethic is there and I see him getting on his receivers, but there’s a spark missing that used to be there. I hope he hasn’t let the Bengal black cloud overshadow his talent and potential – yes, potential even at the age of 31.

    For what it’s worth…..

  7. By sapon1 on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    We should keep CP but bring in some serious competition for him – everyone performs better when there is a shark in the tank. A Vet FA plus a high round draft pick.

    Let’s say goodbye to: Chad, T.O., B. Williams, and Livings on ‘O’. On ‘D’ it’s time to cut Geathers, Odom, Tank, and R. Williams. Also time to put Rey in the middle; Dhani can back up all 3 LB starters.

    Marvin will leave so no need to fire him. The rest of the coaches, especially those on Offense, must be fired. Unfortunately there are no legit coaches willing to come into Cincy as long as MB is in the way.

    To make final games interesting for fans I’d like to see Chad and TO put on bench so we can see if Simpson, Caldwell, Shipley can work together. Would also like to see C. Pressley activated and started as an every down FB to see what that brings to running game.

  8. By thecincinnatikid45140 on Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

    I know that MB is a very smart person. He always says he doesnt need a GM so I am totally confused on why. Look what a GM brings to the table. Lets say Walt works for a company called the Reds and is the general manager. Walt continues to add a piece here and there to his young core of baseball players. But Walt just doesnt go out and add the best talent, no he adds specific personalities that enhance his young players making them better. See what Walt does is he builds his team matching not only talent but personalities that enhance the rest of the team. What Walt does not do is leave volatile personal in his locker room. If someone isnt doing what Walt brought them there to do then he moves them out and replaces them. Walt is always on the go making his team better every day, except for his vacation days. Wouldnt MB make more money if he spent a little extra for a guy like Walt and made the Bengals a more consistent winner. Imagine if he started selling mass merchandise to people outside of the city.

  9. By bengalpirate on Nov 30, 2010 | Reply

    Starting at the top and working down, you might think/know I’m crazy, 🙂 but how about Coach Lewis as GM? I’ve said it before that Marvin is good for the Bengals, but not a good game manager. Perhaps Marvin is the one person that the Brown family would accept as a GM, or a Director of Operations, whatever they want to call the position, just so long as it is a filter between the team and ownership. That then leaves an opening for Mike Zimmer as the head coach. He is the disciplinarian and motivator this team needs to turn things around.

    At QB, Carson still has what it takes, but give him the rock-solid protection he needs by building around a core of Whitworth, Cook and Andre Smith, if he can stay healthy, so that Carson has the time he needs to execute plays. Unless we are going to enter the Andrew Luck Derby, Carson is our QB for the next few years, so give him the max protection he deserves. We do, however, need to develop a good young backup QB.

    On defense, yeah, put the young guys in on the D-line and keep Geathers, Peko, Sims, Fanene and Odom for stability. Let’s put Maualuga at his natural Mike LB spot to build our defense of the future around. Dhani Jones is still good, but Rey is our potential headhunter of the future.

    Sounds like a Christmas wish list for our Bengals. One can only hope? Keep your chins up Bengals and let’s try and finish the season on the up and up. Who Dey!!! Go Bengals. beat the Saints!!!

  10. By bengalboy21 on Nov 30, 2010 | Reply

    Kid: My thoughts exactly. MB, if he hired a GM, could put 100% focus on marketing, and leave the personnel decisions to someone else. At the end of the day, who has the fattest wallet and the most satisfied smile? MB, the owner of the Bengals, who made the best decision for his team and himself.

  11. By jeff1964 on Nov 30, 2010 | Reply

    After watching the past several games, I’ll even date it back to last year – our offensive line has been lacking and in my mind they were exposed in the playoffs. We no longer have two bookend tackles that can do it alone. Smith hasn’t worked out – although he may be a tool if he can stay healthy, so the jury will give him one more year. At wideout, I have always questioned the selection of Chad over TJ, as normal with the Bengals it seems that we need to get stomped on before we react. I see three major issues needing addressed before we worry about a new qb – offensive line, WR and defense. I believe if we address the offensive line in the draft and free agency this year we should be able to put something together, but not recognizing it would be a waste of another year. WR what can we say here we need a speedster, another Cris Henry without the baggage has been sent to Santa. Chad if I was Paul Brown I’d dump – I’d make an attempt in signing Terrell Owens, whether you want to believe the trouble syndrom, that is your choice – but lets recognize the facts we see him in every game blocking someone down field and sometimes blocking two players for a high profile WR that is pretty unselfish in my eyes – when have we seen Chad do this consistently. TO has proven he can get up and go, gamble one more year and let the new guys see what it takes to prepare to go to the next level. Just put it in his contract he needs to play catch with Palmer, I will throw in a couple of more, we need a all around running back type, a full back.

  12. By jeff1964 on Nov 30, 2010 | Reply

    I did leave off one crucial issue here, if we stick with Palmer as I believe we should do. The Browns need to evaluate whether Lewis still has the locker room, which I believe he does. I believe Lewis needs to let the offense go wild whether a passing team or running team who cares. I have always looked at the Bengals as being a team that passes to set up the run. But, we do need to get balanced we will not be neither until we fix the offensive line. So I guess what I am saying is to re-up Lewis if he isn’t delivering the goods by mid season I would get rid of him. But, if we keep Palmer as QB which I believe we should I would keep the coaching staff intact for another run. If not Palmer goes out, then I’d clean house swiftly so we get pointed in the right direction. But, I believe our best chances presently for next year is Lewis and Cast with Palmer and some help.

  13. By cltwhodey on Dec 1, 2010 | Reply

    What I do not understand, and perhaps never will, is how MB…in the latter part of his life, would not want to see a championship brought to the city. It is something his father never did, and if he were able to pull it off, they would knock down PBS and build MBS in its place with a statue of MB to rival the Statue of Liberty.
    MB has enough money for 100 lifetimes, no matter the economy, he was handed an NFL franchise for free, basically a 600mil check, but every year for the last 20 he refuses to change his mindset or ability to guide a team…something I would give my life savings to know how he feels is the right decision for 2 decades and no winning.

    Just a rant, Hobs. It doesnt make sense to any of us. The talent is there but every year it is something. There is no “magic” on this team and hasnt been since ’88. So many of us would give anything for a legit shot at a title, something we all fear will never happen,,,without a change in philosophy…

  14. By kaptkurt on Dec 1, 2010 | Reply

    What a difference 3 months makes. Remember August when the discussion was keep Briscoe or Simpson for our superbowl run..Another season down the drain. Unfortunately, the only questions answered are at TE and slot receiver. The OL is a disaster, The defense took a step backward, Our superman RB has lost his cape, and the coaches are coaching at a pee wee level and have lost the team. Our only FA pickup of note was an afterthought. I would love to see a GM now so he can evaluate players and coaches and right the ship. Too bad we’re going to spend the offseason wondering who we’ll get with yet another top 5 pick. The good news is we get a last place schedule next year….again.

  15. By sapon1 on Dec 1, 2010 | Reply

    Love the idea of ML becoming GM and Zimmer as head coach. Seems like there would be a comfort factor for MB in this plan. Not much chance of either happening though. No matter Brat and the WR coach must go – at minimum.

    Problem w/ Palmer: leadership is not in his DNA. Has plenty of skills and good head. With disciplined WR’s and solid O line he can perform – but he’s not a franchise QB and never will be.

  16. By looking4sb1 on Dec 1, 2010 | Reply

    We definitely need to reinforce the O-line before letting Palmer go. Bringing in a young stud QB with our current O-line only spells disaster. Build the solid offensive wall first so that the next QB that comes in can have a legitimate shot. Who knows — all Palmer may need is a better line.

  17. By mwindle1973 on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    Bengal Pirate: I’ve been saying it too. Marvin to GM, Zimmer to HC. Let Marvin fill the DC position and decide whether we keep Brat or move forward at OC. Basically though he’d have to be given a blank check for a couple seasons, so he could re-tool the coaches and personnel.

  18. By looking4sb1 on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    I think Marvin as a GM is a great idea. (But it seems unlikely he’ll be promoted after a season like this.) Marvin knows the players that it takes to make a great team. I think most of us will agree that many of the questionable characters that have been brought in were a result of MB throwing his weight around, not Marvin. Zimmer would be a great head coach. He could light a fire under this team that they have never seen before — he wouldn’t put up with the me-first attitudes. The next step would be finding the OC and position coaches that know how to properly use the talent.

  19. By mikehickerson on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    How about questions for a new year? We all have enjoyed watching Carson Palmer make the Bengals a competitive team. He’s a good quarterback, but he’s lost his greatness, at least for this team. As of now, we could possibly draft Jake Lockart and start over. The other high draft pick teams don’t seem to be in need of a QB — Panthers, Lions, Broncos. So why not work out a trade of Palmer to a team that needs a good QB — Vikings, Cardinals, Raiders, or 49ers. I bet the Vikings would trade their first round pick for Carson Palmer. They have a great team, great recieving core, only need a good, experienced QB at the helm. The trade would be great for both teams. We draft and take a chance on Lockart, also grabing a 1st round linemen. They get their expericned QB itching for a super bowl chance.

    Moreover, Carson Palmer is still a great QB, but may be burnt out in Cincinnati, so give him a shot elsewhere. These are my thoughts for the rest of the team: sign T.O. for two more years; good-bye Caldwell; resign Rolland as backup; move Rey to MLB; good-bye D-Jones; resign B-Johnson and move to starting OLB, he desrives it; resign J-Joseph if the money is there, but we have A-Jones, Trent and Ghee; good-bye Roy, R-Neslon is much better. Resign C-Ndukwe as backup; good-bye Fanene; good-bye Coats, goodbye R-Kelly; good-bye Q-Crosby, Pacman can handle it; good-bye Benson, unless we have the money, Bernard Scott has worked hard enough for a shot; we need to draft a solid FB, OG, WR, or SS. After that get back up LB, and CB. Pick up a solid blocking TE in free agency.

  20. By tepidfan31 on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    Going out on a flimsy limb, picking the Bengals in a trap game to win by seven. Probably crazy, but the weather will help.

  21. By jrwilson1946 on Jan 26, 2011 | Reply

    With Palmer, wait a minute, it is not his fault. When those of us sitting in the end zones and are able to call the upcoming offensive play by simply looking at down, distance and formation, imagine you as the defense coordinator of the opposing team. What a field day you will have. There is something wrong with the coaching and that something is Bob Bratkowski. This man should have been gone once Marvin came aboard. This club’s power offense (what a joke) has been 20th or worse over the last 3 years. If I were Palmer, I would demand a new offense coordinator and a GM to run the club or I walk, be it trade or retire.

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