More Thinking and Believing

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on March 15, 2011 – 1:09 pm

Again, in honor of WLW talkmaster Lance McAlister with baseball back again, and in honor of Peter King, Sports Illustrated titan, as I shamelessly begin to lobby for another pair of his Red Sox tickets, another version of I Think I Believe:

I Think I Believe the American judicial system is the only thing on the planet that can render the NFL as numbingly boring as 30 minutes of watching public access television.

I Think I Believe that I never agreed with Peter’s report from two weeks ago that the Bengals will listen to trade offers for Carson Palmer. They’re not ready. At least not yet. And they really won’t be ready if they can’t trade until him after the draft. When all they’ll be able to get is God knows what in 2012. If God knows they could get Andrew Luck, maybe that would change things.


I Think I Believe I do agree with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Mike Brown didn’t give quarterback Carson Palmer a subtle jab during his Saturday interview with and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

I asked Brown how the lockout impacts the Palmer situation and he said, “I don’t want to talk about specific players. We’re not allowed to deal with the players and I’m not looking to send messages through the media or to the player or the public about a player. That’s a step too far under the ground rules we have with the lockout.”

Like Florio, I disagree with Joe and don’t believe Brown was taking a “subtle jab” at Palmer. Far from it.

First of all, Brown is out of the old school and takes very few shots and even more rarely at players. And when he does, he ain’t subtle. But I’ve never heard him go after a player back when he was talking to the media. He went off on Carl Pickens after he underminded head coach Bruce Coslet, but that’s about it. And he still has high regard for Palmer despite this mess. So much so he wouldn’t take a shot at him publicly and probably not privately, either.

Two, we know Mike wants Carson back. Back in the Jan 24 Mobile Doctrine, he called him central to the team’s plans. Now, that may just be pie in the sky and Palmer has no intention of coming back, but Mike isn’t going to do anything to alienate him publicly.

And third, Brown is one of these guys who is a stickler for the rules. I legitimately think the answer came straight from the heart. The NFL isn’t exactly clear about what you can and can’t legally say about players during the lockout, so owners are literally treating each word as if each syllable is a booby trap.

Nah, it wasn’t a jab. With all due respect to Reedy, who does a hell of a job and grinds the beat like not many.


I Think I Believe Antwan Odom has paid the steepest price ever to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Month.

Look at what has happened to the guy since he had five sacks against the Packers on Sept 20, 2009 in Green Bay. After getting one sack in the next four games, he ripped up his Achilles to end his season. Then his next training camp was hobbled by a virus and sore knee. Then when the season got going, he broke his wrist and reaggravated the knee before he got suspended a month for violating the league’s drug policy despite his lawyer arguing Odom had merely taken one of his wife’s prescription weight-loss pills by accident. Then he ended the season IR with no sacks. Now in the middle of the night he lost his home in Mason, Ohio to a fire.

Thankfully, he and his family weren’t home and we’re thinking of him today. The guy is an immense talent who if he gets back to anywhere near that ’09 form, just think what they have with him, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson.

I Think I Believe the running backs, whoever they may be, are going to combine for something like 80 to 100 catches this season.

Jay Gruden’s West Coast scheme is perfect for backups Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard and by virtue of being The Bell Cow, Cedric Benson would probably grab 30 to 40 by himself. In his three seasons here, Benson’s high has been last season’s 28 catches, but they seemed more out of desperation and it didn’t look like the checkdowns were emphasized all that much. Benson may not be a scatback, but try tackling him in space when he’s got a running start. Remember late in the ’08 season when he burned the Redskins on a 79-yard screen that was the Bengals’ longest play of that season? And the clinching TD he caught against Carolina last year?

The Bengals haven’t always been infatuated with Scott’s attention to detail in the passing game, but if he’s heard about this playbook yet – and it’s anything like the usual West Coast – this thing is right down his alley out of the backfield. For whatever reason, he’s the most under-used guy on this roster. I’m not saying 15 to 20 touches a game, but how about between eight and 12? Or maybe even make him a bell cow for a couple of series like they were using him late in the year. In the coaches’ defense, he did get nicked up here and there and that cut down on his availability.

But they’ve got him for sure now with Benson and Leonard free agents.

I Think I Believe I see and hear more from former Bengals defensive tackle John Thornton than when he actually played. (And listen my children, Thornton was a very solid player up and down the line and a great locker room guy.)

He’s all over. He’s media. He’s working with draft prospects and players. He’s blogging and tweeting. He’s unstoppable. You can only hope to contain him.

On Tuesday, Thornton reported he’s at the University of Pittsburgh pro day watching one of his clients, wide receiver Jon Baldwin, and Gruden and Bengals receivers coach James Urban are also there. Also on display is running back Dion Lewis. As we’ve noted,’s Pat Kirwan has mocked Baldwin to the Bengals at No. 35 in the second round. And at 6-5, he does have the size the Bengals love at wideout. He’s as tall as the late Chris Henry, but he’s about 25 pounds heavier and not as fast, but he can still run very well for a big guy.

As T.J. Houshmandzadeh would say, “Interesting…”

I Think I Believe I will wear my “I Believe” T-shirt under my Tony C.  Red Sox jersey for the Flying Pig 10K.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “More Thinking and Believing”

  1. By overthroensamoan on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    I think I Believe I’m getting sick of watching DeMaurice Smith strut around town in his silly looking hats. I agree MB wasn’t taking a shot at Palmer. He’s had plenty of malcontents over the years and has always been tight lipped. Also watch for Delone Carter (Syr) and Dion Lewis (Pitt) to be draft day steals. Carter is the next M.J. Drew.

  2. By chiragn on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    You keep talking about how Brown holds Palmer in such high esteem. At what point does that not matter? Im not on the inside, but it seems clear that Palmer wants out of in the worst way. Most people seem to think the lack of a CBA hurts Palmer’s chances of getting traded, but I think it just gives him more leverage than he already has. Now the Bengals aren’t even allowed to get in touch with their QB to convince him to come back. Furthermore, what happens when he doesn’t report to camp? What happens if he does retire and decides he wants to play in 2012? By then the Bengals will have moved on the QB position but would still have Palmer’s rights. Would he still be as valuable to other teams then?Meanwhile, Palmer has the same agent as Jim Harbaugh, and I have a hard time believing there isn’t an indirect line of communication there. My point is, it is imperative that MB gets as much in return for Palmer as possible. If Palmer retires, there are no winners and the only loser would be the fan base.

  3. By jojozog on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    Is it just me or does it seem like the NFLPA is just trying to annoy the crap out of the league so they will fold into some of their demands? It’s childish… The don’t go to the draft thing has finally put me in the owners corner. I don’t know the care about what they are even debating anymore, it just seems like something sneaky is going on from the players front…

  4. By hobsonschoice1 on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    CHIRAGN: I keep talking about Brown holding Palmer in high esteem when it is relevant. As in this case, he didn’t take a shot at him. And, generally, why he doesn’t want to trade him.

    He has no plans to trade him because of exactly what you’re talking about. I’m not on the inside, either, but it’s pretty obvious Brown doesn’t think he can get close to equal or better value for him. Certainly there is no Carson Palmer in this draft and to trade a productive starting quarterback for shot-in-the-dark picks in 2012 is no way to get value, either.

    You panic now – and what kind of deal do you think Jim Harbaugh is going to give you if they can do it before the draft? So get the seventh pick to draft… Blaine Gabbert? Or, worse, the 40th pick and a fifth-round pick? Sure, you’ll get players, but you’re trying to replace a franchise QB.

    I hear you. You are absolutely right. You’ve got to get value before it blows up. But where is it in this draft?

    I know the response: “It’s better than nothing if he quits.”

    Then I would say, “Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.” How can you get anything of value thinking like that?

    You’re right. It’s a mess.

    But I don’t think the answer is to unload him in a hurry. With your back to the wall.

  5. By chiragn on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    I’m with you. I’m not saying Palmer should be dealt as soon as they are allowed to. I’m saying that if free agency and trades are resumed after the April 6th ruling, they must at least listen to offers during the period before the draft. I also agree with you in your assessment that there is no CP in this draft. But there is still a great deal of value. What I see is a draft full of top flight defensive talent. Having 3 picks in the first 2 rounds is a great way to rebuild your team, and I don’t think the Bengals necessarily need to spend any of those picks on QBs, and certainly not if 2 of them are first rounders. Assuming the Niners, Titans, Seahawks and Cardinals would be the most likely suitors for Palmer. We’re talking about the number 5th,7th, 8th and 25th selections in the draft (and i think one of those teams would surrender a top 10 choice for Palmer). Why not take 2 non QB positions? Perhaps a WR and DL? Then I think the Bengals could take a QB they really like in the 2nd or 3rd. What would be so bad about that? I think it would make the Bengals a very interesting team with lots of young talent on both sides of the ball.

  6. By Mel on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    The whole Carson saga is just plain strange. I think his primary motivation is to get to the west coast and give his brother a shot at being a starting quarterback. Jordan acts like he is oblivious to the whole thing which is also weird. I would let Carson retire and waive Jordan if it was my call. I’ve always liked Carson but how could we welcome him back after all of this? To keep his brother would add insult to injury. Let the pair ride off into the sunset and sign a stop gap QB to fill in until a young draftee(Ponder, Mallett) is ready. No way should we risk the franchise on Newton or Gabbert in the first round. Too much risk there unless it was an obvious choice. Go with the best, safest player available with #4.

  7. By jamison007 on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    Ok, the chatter has got me thinking again about the CP situation. I am 1005 sold out on CP and I am glad MB is showing the same resolve. With this resolve, I do believe the Bengals will eventually convince him to return – so far, all the negative talk has come from “sources”, not CP, so Bengaldom don’t give up on CP yet! Otherwise, why not let this thing play out, and turn to Jordan or Dan to step up in 2011 and just maybe Jordan takes his chance and impresses! Then what will CP do, not come watch his bro play? I know CP went to UTEP to watch his bro play before, what is he going to do, not step foot in the stadium as a fan for his brother? Also, our fans need to stop hyper-ventilating about trade value – the opposing fans out there are trying to stir us into a frenzy so we push MB to unload CP…he will still have great value in ’12, plus if after this thing plays out and CP is still “out”, why not set ourselves up to get Luck in 2012 draft regardless of how well our season goes in 2011!

  8. By kingbengal on Mar 15, 2011 | Reply

    The Bengal’s wiil be fine with-out Carson and Chad this year GO GET McNabb or Klob for 3 year’s. Then draft A.J.Green in first round,trade Chad for a couple of pick’s in 2nd and 3rd round.then restructure Carson’s contract,then PLEASE trade HIM for a first and second round pick.I PRAY MIKE BROWN SEE’S that CARSON is not a LEADER! he is a Quiter and he can’t watch GAME TAPE because if he did! he would clearly see he HIMSELF gave away SIX TO SEVEN game’s with poor throw’s and read’s. Then HE BLAME’S THE coache’s NOT the player’s ? he the quarterback,change the play?yea they are calling it BUT YOU ARE PLAYING it.

  9. By jamison007 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    As I have stated many times before, I still think Carson would be wisest to use the situation to his advantage, get some things done behind the scenes re: the receiver corp and come back to the Bengals for at least one more year. However, like any business, you need to put together some alternative scenarios with certain “triggers”. May I suggest that when OTAs draw nearer (assuming we have OTAs this year) and if we still have no resolution on the Carson issue, bring in Leinart and Young and let them compete with Jordan and Dan and let em compete for the starting job. All the while, the holdout on Carson will generate more value as the season approaches and ensues…then make sure to get 1st and 3rd rounders for him and lets bring some Luck to Cincinnati.

  10. By mwindle1973 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve come to two conclusions on the Palmer saga. One is Palmer doesn’t intend to retire. He knows by threatening, the Bengals would have to pursue another QB in the draft or free agency. Then if they haven’t traded him by that point, all he has to do is show up at camp. He is then banking on Brown not being able to keep all that $$$ tied up in the QB position. The second conlcusion is about Brown. He is obviously gotten a leverage in this situation that we can’t see. As much as he is not liked, other professionals will profess respect for his ability to handle player trade demand/contract dispute situations. He’s a highly skilled lawyer, not the bumbling idiot people try to portrait. Perhaps he’s willing to call Palmer’s bluff and pay him and another QB. In turn, forcing Palmer to play or retire.

  11. By mwindle1973 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Geoff: Good article on Jerry Jones. It’s one thing I always think should be spotlighted more. The storybook type history of this franchise and some of the characters that have inhabited and interacted with it, and continue to do so in some instances. You look through the history of the franchise and you find all-time greats, home-spun characters, and an all around intersting cast of characters that are a large part self made people. Not just the people like Paul Brown, Tiger Johnson, Bill Walsh, Forrest Gregg, Sam Wyche, Dick LeBeau, etc, etc. But also guys like Jerry Jones, Bill Tobin, Bob Trumpy, Dave Lapham, Chris Collinsworth, etc, etc. And even guys with looser associations like Gil Brandt. It’s this cast of characters that have been and still are, or have became a part of the Bengals community that have always kept me loyal to the team. Win or loss it’s a legacy to be proud of. And one of these days we will find our way to that elusive trophy that Paul Brown wanted so badly.

  12. By jamison007 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    Time for some real change. I have totally defended Chad even through this season, but now I am officially ready for MB to make a trade with him. If Chad could have stayed himself but simply worked out with the team in OTAs and throughout the offseason (aka tossing ball with Carson in the summer), then he would have had a much different last few years. It is evident 100% now that Chad is just a good time kind of guy. He flashes talent, but doesn’t have the will to back it up. Why did I just come to that conclusion? Well, I figured he had to take the offseason more seriously than people were gossiping….but now with the Soccer thing ontop of the Dancing thing last year, I have enough evidence to make up my mind – lets talk up how he broke receiver records here and dish him off…that kind of attitude is a cancer to our team.

  13. By hobsonschoice1 on Mar 16, 2011 | Reply

    CHIRAGN: I hear you on that. I hope ’09 proved to an offensive-minded franchise that having a good defense makes all things possible. If they had the ’05 defense in ’09, they would have won three games instead of the division.

    I guess if you walk out of the first round with a receiver/corner/D-Lineman and a D-Lineman with that second first-rounder, pretty good. But I don’t think you take anything less than a first for Carson. That’s how much he means to you. And if you can’t do it before the draft, well, that’s what has me stumped.

    And there’s that other side of me that hears people saying it’s a bad business move not to trade him. Well, it’s not exactly a great business move, either, being forced to do a trade at what amounts to gunpoint.

    Yes sir Chi, I hear it. A Jimmy Johnson-type deal for a couple of good players. But, man is that all you can get for a guy that is just a year removed from seven last-minute comebacks?

    I’m almost more intrigued about some of the vet QBs out there that you guys have mentioned. Even though Marvin rebuilt in ’03, Kitna was a perfect bridge guy that brought them to the brink of the playoffs.

  14. By mwindle1973 on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve read quite a few articles on the perceived trade value of Palmer. Most agree he can get at least a first round pick and likely another early round pick. Also it was reported the 49ers were interested for their 1st and 2nd round pick. But it would change depending on what team took him and where the pick was in the 1st round. It has been reported that Arizona, San Fran, Seattle, and possibly Miami, Washington and Minnesota are interested. It is widely considered if Kevin Kolb was in this draft he would be the top QB. He’s only has 7 starts, but that’s a lot more NFL film than you’ll see from the rookies-to-be. His value is considered to be around a mid-round 1st round pick. There is a lot of possibilities here too. You could trade for McNabb or someone else. But you would still have your #4 pick plus an extra 2nd rounder at least. So you could draft a QB too. Just shows you how many ways this could go.

  15. By marvinlewis on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    You are right. There are Free Agent QBs out there that should be looked at. Case in point:
    He has one of the strongest arms in NFL history. When in shape an athletic monster. He was the first overall pick in the 2007 Draft. Held out till training camp but returned as the starter in 08 and had a good season for a rookie, which he essentially was. In 09 weight and work ethic issues got him the boot from Oakland, but the question remains: Does greatness still wait in JaMarcus Russell?

    We all know he blew it in Oakland. But he has had over a year to think about it. He is in shape again. Why does Matt Jones get a second chance and not Russell? You are talking about bringing in first round talent for minimum wage, what is there to lose M. Brown? It has worked well for us in the past. Your thoughts…

  16. By 2ndboot on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve completely lost interest in who gets paid what. These guys aren’t our teachers and firefighters or police and they make a hell of a lot more for a whole lot less to society as a whole. Football is entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. If it never gets played again no loss to me other than a few sundays a year when it gets cold out. let’s get realistic here.. Hobs has a vested interest in football as he writes professionally for it, but fans not so much. I can appreciate Hobs position, but mine won’t change. I hope they settle and get back to business, but if not then go home players.. Find a job at burger king and quit belly aching.

  17. By kingbengal on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    I believe the Bengals will be fine once they clean house and get rid of Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson; they are a team that is in prime position to that this year. As a life long fan, having played sports myself and in understanding the team concept; Carson and Chad have clearly displayed they are not team members or leaders. It must be crazy playing in Cincy, the two players who control the offense are the main two doing all the whining. The Quarterback who’s leading the offense is complaining; he clearly hasn’t seen his game tape.

  18. By kingbengal on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    And I forgot to address, while getting rid of Carson and Chad, cut Odom and Jordan Palmer too. you are addressing the defensive end position in the draft this year, after we draft AJ Green.

  19. By hobsonschoice1 on Mar 17, 2011 | Reply

    WINDY: Thanks. Jerry has to be one of those characters. We try to catch up with them when we can here at

    As for Kolb, it’s almost like drafting a rookie. What do you have? A guy with pro experience in the same system, true. But with barely a 60 completion percentage on more than 300 attempts and a yard per throw of 6.5, that’s not great accuracy in that system.

  20. By bengalpirate on Mar 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hey kingbengal, I beg to differ with you on saying Carson is not a leader and is a whiner. I totally agree with you on Chad Ochocinco Johnson, in that he has been a whiner and total distraction to the team, but to say Carson is not a leader and is whiner, is way off base. Other than his private meeting with Mike Brown and the generic statement his agent released, he has not gone public with his complaints. The sports gossip types are the one’s doing all the whining for him and if you believe all that garbage, well, what can I say?

  21. By jeff1964 on Mar 21, 2011 | Reply

    I think I believe I want to see MB stoburn streak and not cave to Palmers desires. Palmer states he has 70m in the bank and doesn’t need football anymore, Palmer states he will only play out of love for the game. He needs to be appreciative to MB for what he has – MB gave him one of the best contracts available to QB and he had yet produce a ring. He might have if his leg wasn’t broken in PO, the 2nd opportunity he didn’t play that well. Look at Manning or Brady doesn’t matter the receiver they keep producing. I say MB stick to his guns – Palmer play make your legion in the Bengal Dome or Retire.

  22. By tcrouse78 on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply

    I think I believe that Geoff is right in believing that Carson should not be let go for less than a first round pick, and only if possible to do so before the draft. However, I do not believe that there are many teams willing to part with their picks until possibly Miami or Seattle – which certainly would be worth entertaining when considering that Miami’s pick may yield a talent like Ingram or possibly even Watt, and Seattle’s could potentially be used to either bolster the d/o-line or take a chance on a QB such as Mallett. Couple that with Geoff’s assertion that trading the fourth pick to say San Fran in order to pick up an extra third or fourth round pick, that could add a quality guard or safety later while Peterson/Green/Jones may still be left on the board for the taking. Lots of fun scenarios are possible, but having Palmer in our corner is certainly more comforting than placing next year in the hands of a rookie with a possibility for a shortened season…

  23. By bigdad616 on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    I think it is very wrong for Carson Palmer to want to make a massive change (from an agreement made in good faith) and expect the other party (Mike Brown and the Bengals) to pay the entire and heavy price of that change. If Carson has a huge amount of money in the bank (more power to him) – let him write the Bengals a big check ($25M sounds nice) to get his release. Then he can sign anywhere he wants.

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