Five takes

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 2, 2011 – 7:16 pm

Five takes from NFL Draft weekend:

GOOD OPENING KARMA: Here’s some good vibes for second-round pick Andy Dalton, quarterback, and first-round pick A.J. Green, wide receiver. In the only Opening Day game ever started by a Bengals rookie quarterback, Greg Cook engineered a 27-14 win over Miami at Nippert Stadium on Sept. 14, 1969. Cook outdueled Bob Griese’s 327-yard day when two of his 11 completions went for 69- and 25-yard touchdown passes to wide receiver Eric Crabtree, also making his Bengals debut. Crabtree had played the previous three seasons for the Broncos, but you get the idea.

The opener is in Cleveland, scene of the last road win by a Bengals rookie QB when Akili Smith beat the Browns on a last second two-pointer to Carl Pickens in 1999 in his first NFL start.

BEST NON-DRAFT NEWS: The one day Bengals kicker Mike Nugent was able to come into the facility last week, he was able to kick a football and make all of his handful of field-goal tries. And that’s just five months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his kicking knee.

TEA LEAVES: Trying to read the tea leaves on Chad Ochocinco, although the rhetoric from both The Ocho and head coach Marvin Lewis seems to make it pretty clear cut. But when the Bengals take two wide receivers in the same draft (Green and Stanford’s Ryan Whalen in the sixth round), it usually means at least one major move.

» In 2010, the Bengals drafted Jordan Shipley (3) and Dez Briscoe (6) after they let loose Laveranues Coles, second in yards in ’09.
» In 2008, the Bengals drafted Jerome Simpson (2) and Andre Caldwell (3) before ’08 leading receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh left in free agency.
» We won’t count 2006 with Reggie McNeal and Bennie Brazell. McNeal was a college quarterback and Brazell was an Olympic sprinter.
» In 2005, they took Chris Henry (3) and Tab Perry (6), and 2004 turned out to be the last year for former No. 1 pick Peter Warrick.
» In 2001 they drafted The Ocho (2) and Houshmandzadeh (7) and their second-leading wide receiver, Craig Yeast, was gone for the next season.

So the past 10 years would tell you there’s going to be some sea change after a two-receiver draft.

WHICH FREE AGENTS? Unclear when the word is going to come on a permanent stay of the lockout, the Bengals spent Monday prioritizing their list of undrafted players. And, as head coach Marvin Lewis wondered on Saturday, if the free-agent gates open at the same time, which ones do you pursue first?
The Bengals already have Kyle Cook and Reggie Stephens at center, so that’s probably not a need, but draft titan Gil Brandt says Dalton’s center at TCU, Jake Kirkpatrick, is better than some of the guys that got drafted.

And if they think they need another running back, Brandt likes Auburn’s Mario Fannin. The 5-10, 231-pounder led the SEC with quality runs, converting 70.5 percent of the time for four yards per carry, third-down conversions, and touchdowns. And they watched Kentucky’s Derrick Locke gouge them in the first half of the Senior Bowl.

Yet the Bengals could have had them ahead of Baylor’s Jake Finley, since they took him with their last pick deep in the seventh round with the mentality of picking the best free agent on the board.

The Bengals coaches had North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney at the Senior Bowl. The best SAM backer on the board, Brandt says, looks to be 6-4, 230-pound Quentin Davie out of Northwestern. The productive-minded Bengals might like his 24 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, and five forced fumbles in 50 games.

Another safety? They had Joe Lefeged of Rutgers at the Senior Bowl and he’s another college producer with 238 tackles and eight forced fumbles in his career.

CARSON UPDATE: Somebody said they read Carson Palmer is one of the big winners of the weekend since the selection of TCU quarterback Andy Dalton allows the Bengals to move on and trade Palmer.

As Sgt. Hulka said in Stripes, ” Lighten up, Francis.”

If anything, the Dalton pick may make sure a trade doesn’t come off. Now the Bengals are not forced to do much of anything, although they are mulling a veteran free agent quarterback for a staff that has all of 14 NFL passes. Draft picks are going to have to be involved if they trade Palmer, so maybe they’re thinking why not wait until next year when a) they actually know what they’re trading for and the things have some value and b) they know what the rules of the draft are actually going to be.

Maybe the pick sparks a compromise. Palmer comes in with the understanding Dalton is the QB of the future, plays for a year, takes the kid under his wing, and they call it even after 2011 and do a deal.

And, of course, maybe not.

But their best short to contend is with No. 9; no one debates that.

“The Bengals are a good team,” says Pete Prisco of “If Palmer is there, they’re in the mix. If he’s not, you have to scale that back. But they’re a team on the verge.”

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Five takes”

  1. By theredbengal on May 2, 2011 | Reply

    -First off, a tip of the cap to the Bengals brass. The drafting they did this year seems to be well done, and most of the pundits and ‘experts’ are giving them high marks. Of course, that means little, but it’s a good start.

    -Now, first point: start Dalton right away. Not starting Palmer in ’03, while a decent move, most definitely stopped the team from really competing for the playoffs in ’04. I believe you’re better off starting him right away and not letting someone like a Vince Young/Hasslebeck/Bulger/Collins take snaps away from him in a semi-rebuilding year anyway. If he’s your guy, get him out there asap.

    -Nugent’s kicking already? Amazing. He was one of the highlights of last year.

    -Ocho’s gone-o. Great career here, but time to move on. Simpson/Caldwell/Shipley/Cosby/Green/Whalen= the new era.

    -Once the lockout ends, top priority FA’s: 1.Joseph, 2. Benson or other RB, 3. B. Johnson, 4. B. Leonard

    -Whether Carson gets traded for a future pick/picks, or whether they just let him retire; either way that big contract is coming off the books.

    -Butch, as always, thanks for the forum. Keep up the good work.

  2. By bengalpirate on May 2, 2011 | Reply

    I really like this draft, especially Green and Dalton, who are quality guys who can both play and lead. The draft picks overall, filled a lot of potential gaps and bodes well for special teams, depth, future development and growing into starting roles. I hope that drafting 2 WR’s didn’t hurt Ocho’s feelings too much.

  3. By samoanjungle on May 2, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t think I would want Palmer mentoring anyone on this team right now.

  4. By 2ndboot on May 2, 2011 | Reply

    I think you’re right with Ochocinco being history.. It was fun and games for a while, but last year it became a twitfest and a major headache for Marvin not to mention his production really dropped off. I also think Number 9 was a but sick of him too not that it matters now,, As for 9 I think Mikey is a tad to stubborn to admit he was ever wrong about ANYTHING EVER and would just as soon let AJ retire as to put up with a trade demand from a player so Carson will enjoy his newfound freedom and obscurity from the glaring lights and have fun raising kids as a gazillionair from here on out.. He might even watch Andy and AJ on TV from time to time thinking, “I coulda done that!”..who knows? I have a strong hunch Dalton will start this year if not opening day and I just hope he doesn’t meet the same fate as 9 and the knee..and elbow..He has a pedigree number on his uniform.. That’s gotta be a plus.

  5. By jamison007 on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    @Hobson,aka ‘hobs’-great post! My gut says the D has the right mojo in the locker room, its time to give the young crew on O a chance to brew up their own good stuff without any ‘tude. Carson must have deep enough ties with men on the squad to make it hard to deny another run if the feel in the locker room is young, juiced and ready to roll! Coach Lewis needs to use FA wisely, so preparation is key. WINDY is worried if we had to start Dalton (or even Jordan in my opinion) that could cause us to have to be vanilla…but thats the beauty of Coach Lew’s gut call on Coach Jay – our new O Coordinator is bringing in a playbook that thrives by taking simplicity and letting it play off itself. I have a good feeling about this year my friends. Who Dey!

  6. By hobsonschoice1 on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    RED _Thanks for looking at it. Yeah, I prety much agree with you on everything, except I think it’s a tough nut for a QB rookie this year…

    Depending how it goes…

    If this is a shot-gun training camp, they’ve got to start with a veteran. If they can get in some OTAs and have a regular training camp, maybe you can start Dalton. But no NFL experience, no OTAs and a truncated training camp? Tough.

    I just think if they could get some kind of caretaker veteran with experience, they could make some kind of a run with defense and the running game. But, what guy is going to come in knowing Dalton is the guy? Maybe a guy looking for a one-year gig to prove he can play elsewhere.

    JAMISON – I’m with you on Gruden. I think he can be creative and simple at the same time. I think he and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese are a good match from an experience standpoint. Gruden played the position in college and the AFL and has great grounding in the West Coast from his brother. Zampese is a technical whiz fluent in every scheme imaginable who obviously has great familiarity with the great AFC North defenses.

  7. By 2ndboot on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    I like Boling and Moch and Walen.. The O-line needed some help badly and Boling is da man for it.. If Moch lives up to his potential I see a LOT of upside there and Walen just adds just that much more depth to the receivers and with the new Gruden mindset I doubt any receivers will languish again the way they did under the previous OC. It does make me wonder about the two new starting guys at Chads old spot though..Jerome and AJ are going to make that spot kind of crowded and over in slot I wonder how much time Quan has left as purely a punt return guy. If Ced doesn’t return will they go find another bull to run up the gut? JJ said he wants to come back, but….There’s Dhani too and let us not forget the coveted QB spot..I know a lot of folks would like to see Dalton come right out and be super-hero QB from day one, but really folks.. How often does that happen? I’d hate to see him fail as a QB under trial by fire. Even 9 had Kidna to show him a few ropes..I think it’s time to cut MB some slack for his under performing years in the draft… He’s learned to let the guys who know how to spot talent do their jobs or so it appears.. Learning is never a static proposition as some will have us think. Even old dogs learn new tricks.

  8. By overthroensamoan on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Really think they did a great job of upgrading in early rounds. Green and Dalton are huge but the biggest help is going to come from Boling. This kid starts from day 1 and will be a huge improvement at G. If this lockout is lifted this week I think Dalton has enough time to be ready but if it stretches past OTAs no way this kid will have enough time. Thats the problem you’d be hard pressed to find a vet who could process a new playbook in that length of time. If this thing bleeds into June or July the only option I see is let JP run the show until Dalton is up to speed

  9. By tcrouse78 on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    I know a lot of things are up in the air right now with the lockout and lack of CBA, but when all is said and done, is Deangelo Williams a better fit for the Bengals new offense? The guy seems to be more dynamic and have better vision than Ced. Williams has also only fumbled five times in his career, two less than Ced during a miserable 2010 season with 7 fumbles and 3.5 YPC. Williams would also allow for more time to flash Bernard Scott on the field as he has been sharing carries with Stewart since he came into the league. If CP9 is gone, there is also more room to play with the financials… thoughts?

  10. By donnyscott on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Red & Hobs – Correct me if I’m wrong but if we get a new CBA with a salary cap and Palmer is sitting home under contract, isn’t the contract still on the books?……Hobs – If Zampese is such a technical whiz and he’s been Palmers QB coach his entire career, why has Palmers decision making and ability to read defenses and look off coverages been so inconsistent?…..Jamison & Hobs – I’m hopeful of what Gruden may be able to accomplish over time here as the OC but how do we know what kind playbook he’ll bring or success he’ll have? He’s never been in this role in the NFL before?

  11. By hobsonschoice1 on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    DONNY – I think it is Palmer’s receivers that have been inconsistent and not so much his reads.

    Gruden has never called plays in the NFL, but here’s a guy who was Jon Gruden’s man in the booth every Sunday for eight seasons. There are OCs in the league right now that don’t have near the credentials of that.

    If he’s retired, he counts nothing under the cap.

  12. By donnyscott on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Hobs. I hope you’re right on all counts. I agree that Chad particularly has been a receiver who has tended to freelance on routes at times but I wonder what that says about our coaching staff who has not only put up with this for years but also buried a talented player behind him on the depth chart. And I’m a Chad fan but it’s been time to let him go for a few years now. You can’t build an offense around 30 something year old Wr’s. Those guys don’t want to take hits over the middle and I can’t blame them.

  13. By thefatmann on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Would be great to see Moch play Strong Safety and pretend to be David Fulcher. The man has the speed, does he have the skill?

  14. By jamesbz on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Pete Prisco of CBS Sports is obviously not a Bengals fan. It was miserable having Carson leading our team last year. All he did was play bad or get hammered thanks to a lousy o-line. I would rather end up losing with Dalton versus absolutely losing with Palmer. It’s nothing personal against Carson. Hated seeing him bloodied.

  15. By jamison007 on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Donny – any player worth their salt must own every yard, every catch, every pass…I have been a Chad fan too. Here is what I saw; TO has the work ethic, but he plays it up as he is bigger than any team. Chad wanted to do well, but didn’t want to put the real work in and be completely devoted. The coaching staff was hoping he was doing that, but in the end he was only saying it. It became apparent to me in Dec ’10 when I read a post that he and TO were taking off to LA right after games and rushing back for practice on Weds. It became obvious with the weapons we had in 2010 that our offense was stale and being read. After listening to Gruden, I am sold. He speaks with clarity that I think our players will respond to. Be proud, our team will play loud this year! Who Dey!

  16. By mwindle1973 on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate on the WR theory. Your drafting 2 WRs theory is good. But each group of 2 WRs you name does not replace the exiting WR except in the case of Yeast. Warrick was replaced by TJ, replaced by Coles, then Bryant, then Owens, is now replaced by Green IMO. THat’s my theory. Chad IMO has been replaced by SImpson. WHy do I say this. Most draftniks projected Green to the Z spot to start out his career. Simpson can only play the X spot. And TO was our leading WR last season. Of all the WRs you named (drafted and replaced) only 4 are on the roster. Leaving only Cosby and an open roster spot. The open spot is for Green. Cosby’s spot could go to WHalen, or we could keep CHad. I’m not convinced he’s gone yet. I’m convinced Lewis isn’t letting him go unchecked anymore. I’m convinced CHad wanst to go. But he’s very unhappy for some reason. SO is he gone? It very well may be a training camp decision. He’s the only experience WR on the roster.

  17. By mwindle1973 on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    I’m gong to play devil’s advocate on the Palmer issue. He may be the biggest winner here. I realize Palmer has thought this out, he’s a level-headed guy, etc, etc. He’s also very intelligent, and taking him at face value might be a mistake. I’m sure he has a strategy as the team does too. I mean all he has to do is show up at camp to cause the next “crisis” I think that’s the big factor in the decision to sign a vet QB too. I mean his presence alone is an 11M cap quandry. Perhaps Palmer will come back with a promise to trade him next season. But perhaps he will just sit a season out, or retire altogether. My gut says he’s serious about wanting out and that’s all you can assume. I think he will do whatever he can to get out now. But the point remains this isn’t over by a long shot. This draft was the first big step in righting what was wrong. But we still have one big mess to clean up, before we can start with a clean slate this season. But I believe Brown has had a plan from the begining on this one. I’m just not sure what it is.

  18. By donnyscott on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    Jamison – I’m sure you’ve heard of living to fight another day. Lot’s of guys every sunday make decisions to avoid hits whether it’s running out of bounds, alligator arms, etc. Just being realistic. These guys who have had excellent, long and primarily healthy careers aren’t looking to go out that way. They will tough it out at times but if you expect aging receivers to consistently go over the middle with no fear I think you’re barking up the wrong tree…Re them playing loud this year I have a feeling you think they’ll roar every single year. More power to you. If they can get better OL play, somehow get good play from a rookie QB or somebody else in a new offense with inexperienced WR’s, no blocking TE right now, resign Benson or somebody else, resign Joseph – if they’re lucky he wont be a free agent at all – fill a whole at LB – i don’t think Dhani or B. Johnson is the answer and he’s a free agent

  19. By donnyscott on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    Jamison – Had to finish up….they’re both free agents of course, get good safety play from a group of seemingly fairly average guys- Zimmer may just be able to do this- somehow play the right players along the D line- yes Geathers, Odom, T. Johnson I’m talking about you – and straighten out special teams you may just be right but stranger things have happened.

  20. By donnyscott on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    Mwindle – Have to disagree a bit re potential 11M cap quandry. The fact they didn’t have to draft Dalton in the first round means he doesn’t get an outlandish contract and if they actually get rid of some of the expensive dead wood on the roster they really don’t have much of a payroll. If Palmer somehow changes his mind they may actually welcome him back.

  21. By donnyscott on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    thefatmann – No. We’ll be fortunate if he can transition fully to OLB in base D.

  22. By mwindle1973 on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    I think we had an A+ draft. Mel Kiper sited us post-draft as the single best overall draft in the NFL. I haven’t seen his grades as I won’t pay for that ESPN Insider crap. I think Green, Dalton & Boling will start this year. Moch and Sands will see significant playing time on D & STs. We will see on the other 3, but they look pretty good too. Let the so called experts say what they want about Sands. They are generalized experts. That doesn’t mean they know anything about a Mike Zimmer defensive scheme. They are right Sands is an old school SS. Big body, long strider, LBing skills. big hitter, etc. No problem though. Because Zimmer is simply running a very 1980’s style 4-3, with some modern wrinkles thrown in here and there. But essentially he plays a lot of centerfield, man up, etc. And the body types he looks for at each position are similar to 1980s. Not alot of 4-3 teams have 275-285 lb DEs. Most run the Jimmy Johnson, gap penetration style. Or a Tampa 2 variation, that requires even smaller players than the Johnson style. Sure Sands needs to improve his coverage skills, but he will fit in just fine in Zimmer’s D.

  23. By theredbengal on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    The question on what to do with Palmer is an interesting one.
    -The first Palmer option would be to trade him to the highest bidder once the lockout ends.
    -The second would be to try and make him play this year and then trade him after the season, a la the Boomer deal of ’93.
    -The third would be to try and persuade him to be “the franchise” again and then 3-4 years down the line give the reigns to Dalton
    -The fourth would be to let him retire, to either make a point about him not living up to the contract HE signed, or however you view that.

    Personally, I don’t think the second and third options I mentioned are good for the organization/team. If he truly does not want to be here, then you CANNOT even remotely consider having him here, even for a year. The fourth choice would be a very Mike Brown-like line in the sand stand. I wouldn’t be totally against it, only because I’m disappointed in Palmer giving up, more or less, on himself and his teammates here. This option would also keep others from thinking about it. But the only thing you get is his contract off the books. -First option is the best choice for Bengaldom. Get what you can for him and move on. For whatever reason it just didn’t work out for Carson and the Bengals. Go with the future and let’s get ready for some football! (hopefully)

  24. By jamison007 on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    DONNY – No, I am not always optimistic, I had 10 years straight of not being optimistic (92 to 02). So exccuse me if I enjoy having reason to root. C’mon Bengal fans, its really time to turn a new leaf in our attitude too. Offensively, yes we will likely be young, but I believe 100% that attitude is everything.
    @jamesbz-don’t you remember 2009? Carson was epic that entire season, us fans need to relax and see if things can heal. Statistically, I don’t think we have had an average defensive rank in the past three year stretch since our last Super Bowl run. I have liked the way our defense has shaped up under Zimmer the past three years and that was with several rookies, second year guys, etc. Coach Zim keeps them humble and working. I see a year of maturity happening there.

  25. By mwindle1973 on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    donnyscott: No you are right, about the cap issue if it’s just Palmer/Dalton/Palmer on the roster. It’s a bit pricey even then, but we can do it. I mean if we do sign a vet too. Then you have Palmer/Dalton/High priced, over rated vet. Then I think the 11M becomes an issue. I think that’s why you might see us not sign a vet. Unless it is for cheap. I hold out hope that perhaps Palmer can be talked back to the team. Gruden has not been allowed to talk to him yet. It’s been reported that as soon as the lockout ends, Gruden will be going to CA to talk to him. Also on a seperate issue. Hobs it right about the problem being Palmer’s WRs, and not his reads. According to ESPN, via a team source, more than half of Palmer’s ints last season were due to a blown protection or wrong route or option by the WR. Meaning half the ints were due to faulty execution of the offensive scheme or the specific play.

  26. By mwindle1973 on May 5, 2011 | Reply

    Hobs I found a draft grade of A for us. Mel Kiper, put us tied with Detroit at the top of his draft grades, with an A-. Of course the crew, who seem to report on nothing but controversy, have problems galore with our draft. The main one going around is we needed to draft D. We needed to repace Odom and Tank Johnson they say. Nobody said this before the draft though. I guess they don’t realize we have Johnson, Dunlap, Fanene & Atkins. ON another note, are we going to have a chance at UDFAs this season? Who knows because the UFL is targeting them. With equal or better money and the chance to play. Who knows how long these guys will hold out before they sign with UFL for a season. Rich Lapham went undrafted. He would be an interesting project at RT to have on the practice squad. There also some good FBs, and HBs still out there.

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