Second look

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on August 14, 2011 – 8:30 am

Random thoughts after watching the TV version of the Bengals 34-3 loss at Detroit in their preseason opener.

» Indications are rookie SAM linebacker Dontay Moch’s broken foot isn’t initially thought to be severe enough to be season-ending. It sounds like he’ll be back between four to six weeks. In that case he’d be inactive those first couple of regular-season games.

» Besides running back Cedric Benson’s 6.2 yards per carry and backup defensive tackle Clinton McDonald’s eight tackles and one forced fumble, the best individual story coming out of the game was how right tackle Andre Smith’s foot held up. He acknowledged he’s still working on technique, but the fact he got through a game’s pounding had to be a relief.

He was inconsistent. He whiffed on cornerback Amari Spievey on a screen and let backup end Keyunta Dawson pressure quarterback Andy Dalton into an incompletion. But he was very effective in the running game. He helped spring Benson’s 16-yard run, along with tight end Jermaine Gresham taking out the defensive end.

And while right guard Bobbie Williams had trouble with the All-World Suh in the pass game a few times, he also pushed people around in the running game.

» Head coach Marvin Lewis finally has some wide receivers that block. Jerome Simpson had a feisty night and made a great effort play when he busted back downfield after running his pattern to make a diving block in an effort to help A.J. Green break a play underneath.

» Another effort play by that first group: Running back Brian Leonard again made “The Leap” on a screen pass, but the most impressive part of the play was how he dragged 250-pound linebacker Bobby Carpenter past the first-down stick. And how left tackle Andrew Whitworth was there at the end getting a block in.

The play got blown up by a holding call on left guard Nate Livings, a play analyst Anthony Munoz called questionable.

» But there is no question the Bengals interior struggled with the Lions starters. And Cincinnati’s backups didn’t give No. 2 quarterback Bruce Gradkowski much time on the perimeter or up the middle. When he had to step up, which was often, he didn’t look good. When he had time, he made some throws.

» That second half was tough to watch when it came to the passing game, considering one of their three healthy backup receivers was John Standeford, a guy that has never practiced with them. That’s got to be tough on the coaches trying to evaluate the quarterbacks.

Although Jordan Palmer no doubt would like to have his interception back in exchange for a sack. The Lions didn’t bite on a play-action rollout and Palmer was going down as he tried to heave the ball out of bounds. But it didn’t get there.

» Rookie running back Jay Finley got the most carries on the night with seven and he looked good on a couple and not so great on others, a typical rookie night. He showed some good burst and strength on an eight-yard run on the sideline. But his Welcome-to-the-NFL moment may have come on the last drive of the first half when he was one-on-one against cornerback Brandon McDonald all alone over the middle on a dump pass and he couldn’t make McDonald miss on a one-yard gain.

» It looks like the Bengals are toying with putting cornerback Leon Hall on the best receiver no matter the side. They used him at both and while he gave up two TDs one-on-one on the left side in the end zone, he had good coverage on first Calvin Johnson and then Nate Burleson. He did get his head turned around on Johnson and lost the ball, but quarterback Matthew Stafford made that play when he threw it to Johnson’s back shoulder.

» As former Bengals defensive tackle John Thornton often notes, the way they get their quarterback pressure is through coordinator Mike Zimmer’s scheming. So when they come out vanilla like they did Friday, it looks like 7-on-7 and the first group offered no pressure in the first half and that always makes the coverage look bad. Even though the Lions were decimated at tackle.

After that first drive the No. 1 guys played the run pretty well and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga looked like he had his guys lined up.

» The backups got better pressure, but they couldn’t finish for sacks. Before he left with an injured ankle, Victor Adeyanju got there a few times, but he couldn’t take down Drew Stanton on the last play before the last-play field goal in the first half.

Rookie linebacker DeQuin Evans continues to flash with his speed around the corner on passing downs, but he couldn’t finish either. He had an offsides penalty but stepped in well for Moch.

» Starting safeties Chris Crocker and Reggie Nelson were active (Nelson made a nice tackle in the flat early), but when they left the game there were a lot of balls completed over the middle, particularly on the Lions’ last drive of the half.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Second look”

  1. By tepidfan31 on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    If Mike Adams, Ohio State, LT is available in the supplemental draft Wednesday, the Bengals should snap him up. The pundits say that he will be a top five pick next year, if he stays at OSU. Then you could move Andre to left guard, where the need was evident for the last few years.

  2. By mwindle1973 on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    Man, Livings was terrible, and Cook tried his best to match him but couldn’t. We have to find an answer at LG, because if we don’t the whole season could fall right through the hole that Livings let everyone he blocked walk right through. If the answer isn’t on the roster, IDK what we will do. Because there isn’t much left on the market, unless somone gets cut. YOu may see someone come available ala Big Willie Anderson in a week or 2 but it’s not likely.

  3. By mwindle1973 on Aug 15, 2011 | Reply

    On D last year one of our weaknesses that didn’t exist in 09, showed itself again Friday. The inability to cover the TEs and RBs and short routes and defending the screen pass. In 09 if a short pass was made to the TE or RB the were tackled without yards after catch. Laster year and Friday lots of YAC given up! Most of the problems were at MLB covering RBs, and the safeties covering the TEs. Then again Zimmer just ran the basic plays, he didn’t to too much play calling. I did see one play run that caught my attention. We came out in a 3-3-5 Nickel and then Manny Lawson switched right before the snap from SAM to LDE split wide. Haven’t seen that since David Pollack. It goes back to Boulware in Baltimore with Lewis. You also seen us in the same 3-3-5 Nickel set with DeQuin Evans pass rushing from a stand up position. Lewis did this with the Jamie Sharper in Baltimore. And it goes back to LeBeau/Capers in Pittsburgh when Lewis was there. It is exactly what they do with James Harrison now.

  4. By 2ndboot on Aug 15, 2011 | Reply

    Mercy.. I hope it was just a blip on the radar and probably is, but if it’s a harbinger of things to come I might buy pharmaceutical stocks in a company specializing in anti-depressants in the Cincinnati area.

  5. By bengalpirate on Aug 15, 2011 | Reply

    I had simple expectations going into this game, as all I really wanted was for the Bengals not to suffer any catastrophic injuries and just get the rookies some game time experience in the NFL. If what you say about Dontay Moch’s injury is true, then I’m happy about that, but hopefully the rookies didn’t get too shellshocked over the final score. It is only pre-season and won’t matter come September 11th, but this week it is the Jets and if the team plays like they did against the Lions, the Jets will bust them up bad and hurt them. Time to get it in gear and show a big improvement. WHO DEY!!!

  6. By mwindle1973 on Aug 15, 2011 | Reply

    Latest NE Pats rumour? They are looking at signing TJ Houshmanzadeh. While Belicheck deserves the benefit of the doubt, he has taken on some problem children in exchange for talent this year. Ocho, TJ, Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis. How many bad attitudes can you have on one team? This will be a test of 2 things. Just how good BB is with these types in his locker room. And secondly we’ll see if maybe these guys attitudes problems are perhaps a little overblown to begin with

  7. By overthroensamoan on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    I know its only August but this OL looks worse than last year. How can you start out over 40mil under the cap and walk out an interior line this inept. Whit is solid and A Smith looks like he might finally get it. But the C and Gs just look terrible. And after watching the other teams play only the Bears looked as pathetic. So the Well they only had a couple of weeks excuse doesn’t fly. It comes down to talent which they lack. It just astounds me that a team knowing they were starting a rookie QB would not get him the best protection available. What they did was essentially nothing. They sign a guy so fat he can’t pass a physical then panic and replace him with a guy the Eagles were glad to see go. The only hope I see is if Boling grows up in a hurry and Otis Hudson is as improved as Alexander says he is. If not Mr. Alexander should be putting together a new resume and cover letter.

  8. By overthroensamoan on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Take that money saved by releasing Tank and please PLEASE!! sign Brian Waters.

  9. By 2ndboot on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    The last time the Bengals and Jets played in pre-season we had another rookie QB…CP9 and it was Marvin’s debut as HC..

  10. By mwindle1973 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    @ overthroensamoan: Brian Waters would be a great signing, I totally agree! But word is he wants to end his career living in Texas. On another note, I don’t care what Alexander says about Livings, his performance was shabby against the Lions. Alexander states Livings is being blamed for others’ mistakes. Then who was making the mistakes? Kyle Cook? I know Whitworth was doing his job right. So who else could’ve caused Livings to make mistakes? I agree Kyle Cook made a lot of mistakes that seemed to get no notice. I’ve barely heard his name, good or bad, all preseason. I am not an NFL Oline coach, so I’ll give Alexander the benefit of the doubt. But I do DVR the games and I did replay in slo-mo virtually every blown protection I seen. And Livings appeared to make a mulititude of mistakes. Although like I pointed out in an earlier post, Kyle Cook couldn’t seem to recognize which G he was supposed to help form play to play. At some point Alexander has to point out what the problem is, or take accountability as the Oline coach. This problem stems back to 08.

  11. By mwindle1973 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    One other thing that’s bothered me all preseason. The media keeps portraying us losing JJoe as us losing our best CB. That’s just not true. Hall not only stays healthier, but he is better, period. IN an interview last year, TJ Houshmanzadeh stated he considered Hall a top 5 CB, and JJoe a top 15 CB. TBH if Adam Jones could get healthy, he was looking like the most athletic CB on the roster last year. And I wouldn’t count him out this year. If he stays healthy, I’m comfortable with Hall, Clements, Jones & Trent as our first 4 CBs.

  12. By mwindle1973 on Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

    Can you clear up some confusion about our salary cap number? According to as of August 16th we are ranked 4th in most remaining cap space with $27,766,680.00. Many have assumed this number already includes Carson Palmer’s salary. I have heard others assume that since he didn’t report we aren’t paying him, and therefore his salary is not included in that number. If it’s not, then are actual cap space is only just over $16M. And as we all know we have to keep that available, or Carson can just show up and froce us over the cap, thereby forcing us to cut him. So does that $27M+ cap space amount include Palmer’s salary or not?

  13. By whodeysteve on Aug 17, 2011 | Reply

    Do you know when they release the Senior Committee list for the 2012 HOF Class? I know Kenny Anderson received increased media support this year and I’d just like to know if he made it or not.

  14. By mwindle1973 on Aug 17, 2011 | Reply

    @whodeysteve…good question! I’ve been wondering the same thing.

  15. By mwindle1973 on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    It’s become very apparent to me that I, and I suspect maybe some other fans as well, have taken something seriously for granted and are now experiencing an unusual anxiety. An unusual anxiety that was familar. An anxiety that started back in 1992, and continued until it suddenly vanished from the scene somewhere back in the first games of the 2004 season. That something is a franchise QB. And you can definitely put a franchise QB in the category of ‘things you take for granted until they’re gone.’ For now we all have to put our hope the Dalton is next in line to the thrown. But lets keep it in prospective too. Because we didn’t bet the farm on him, we did that on AJ Green. We bet a 2nd round pick, that Dalton could come in and start Day 1. Letting us stay away from over-priced, downhill QBs in free agency, and getting us through the Carson crisis. This is improper to think this right now aloud. But if Dalton isn’t the guy for the future, and just gets us through a strectch of time. We can go back in the 1st round next year and draft a QB again. It opened up so many options when we were able to snag him in the 2nd round. Therefore I feel scared about this coming season, but feel like the franchise has put itself on a more stable path for the future.

  16. By mwindle1973 on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Good to see we are at least checking Pryor out. Word is not all 32 teams wll have a rep at the workout. He’s been working with Ken Anderson, who projects him as an “unpolished gem” and feels that he at least has the skills to be an NFL starter. But also cautioned that’s all you can assess at this point So teams have to decide if he can lead a team. But really for a 5th round pick or lower, he’s worth even the worst expectations of him. At worst he’d be like a Randel El, and could play WR, H Back, maybe even some out of the backfield, and be a legitimate #3 QB. Some think he’ll at least be a top #2 QB. And some think he could be a top QB in 2-3 seasons. Sounds like it’s worth throwing that extra 5th round pick at him and see if we get him.

  17. By gizmo63 on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    The offensive line sucks!!!!!!!! I feel sorry for Dalton, who will be Klingerlized by game 4. The Bengals will be 0-16 and get the #1 draft pick next year which they will waste by not draftiong Luck forn Stanford.

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