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Update: A few takes as 49ers leave and Fitzy arrives

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on September 26, 2011 – 2:39 pm

Nate Clements

A few takes looking back and ahead:

» Kevin Huber is angling for a breakout year and next to defensive lineman Jon Fanene, probably should have got the game ball in the 13-8 loss to the Niners. Huber’s first three punts pinned San Francisco inside their 20, giving him a tie for the league lead with seven.

» The word in San Francisco is that the Niners let go Bengals cornerback Nate Clements because of his 31-year-old legs against young speed receivers. Well, the longest catch by a 49ers wide receiver was Josh Morgan’s 12-yarder and speedy Ted Ginn had no catches.

And Clements threw his body around in the running game like he always does. The Niners weren’t surprised at all when made a hellacious hit on quarterback Alex Smith running out of the pocket.

Former Bengals defensive end Justin Smith, now playing tackle for the 49ers, couldn’t say enough good things about Clements before the game after playing with him the previous three seasons in San Francisco.

» Two guys the Bengals need to play up to their No. 1 pick status are tight end Jermaine Gresham (2010) and right tackle Andre Smith (2009).

Gresham candidly said after the game if he blocked better on the first series the Bengals would have scored a touchdown and he’s talking about running back Cedric Benson’s four-yard run from the Frisco 6 that got tripped up at the 2 and the ensuing snap in which Benson got stacked up for a three-yard loss.

On the first one Gresham didn’t get enough of a piece of the DB at the tail end of the run, although Benson said he should have kept his balance. And on the loss, Gresham didn’t set the right edge on outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks and Brooks gummed up the play.

Then on the next snap Smith let Brooks get around him on the right edge and forced quarterback Andy Dalton into an incompletion and near interception in the end zone.

It also appeared Smith gave up a sack to Brooks on first down later in the game. A tough sequence for a team that used a third-round pick on Brooks in the third round in 2006 and let him go working against their top young guys.

But, rightfully so, they’ve got a lot of faith in Gresham and Smith, two excellent talents. And it’s a matter of consistency. Both played well in stretches in the first two games. And Smith is a great student who the Bengals think is finally getting into a groove with his first real NFL training camp and early season. When he gave up a sack in Denver last week, he knew what technique caused it and was able to correct it in game.

UPDATE: OK, this is Exhibit A of why you can’t watch a game and make a massive conclusion without checking with the decision-makers. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said Monday that Smith didn’t give up the sack to Brooks, that Brooks was someone else’s responsibility. And while Smith allowed that pressure to Brooks on the goal line, it didn’t help that someone else was lined up wrong on the play.

» The Bengals didn’t show much patience with fourth-rounder Clint Boling. They pulled him from right guard after the second snap of the second series and went with veteran Mike McGlynn, the four-year vet picked up from the Eagles on waivers just before the season. Defensive tackle Ray McDonald had just beat Boling to apply pressure on Dalton and he had to hurry an incompletion. On the first series McDonald got past Boling to force Dalton into an off-balance throw that wide receiver Andre Caldwell turned into a sliding 14-yard catch.

» Great to see Bengals all-time passing leader Ken Anderson at the game with his family in a 50-yard line box and the crowd’s response to the video boards salute, as well as the No. 14 banner hung by fans honoring his Pro Football Hall of Fame bid. He told Bengals staffers it’s the first time he’s watched a game live with all three of his children. That will happen when you play and coach in the NFL for 33 years.

» There had been criticism of the Bengals offense in the past few seasons of not being quarterback-friendly. The critics have some fodder with MVP candidate Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Bills, headed here this Sunday.

In Fitzpatrick’s 12 starts with the Bengals in 2008, his yards per attempt was 5.12 with eight TDs and nine picks. In his first three games with the 3-0 Bills this season, he’s thrown nine TDs with three picks and a yards per of 7.58.

To be fair to former offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, Fitzpatrick got a new running back in the middle of the year in Cedric Benson, had two grouchy veteran receivers in Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, two rookies in Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell, and Fitzpatrick didn’t get many snaps in that preseason in training camp because Carson Palmer was the man.

But the numbers are so stunningly different.


Posted in Hobson's Choice | 15 Comments »


15 Responses to “Update: A few takes as 49ers leave and Fitzy arrives”

  1. By bengalpirate on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

    I so badly wanted the Bengals to win yesterday, as I felt it was a pivotal game for them, but I was encouraged by the play of the defense and special teams. I left a lot of my voice at PBS, but I’m trying to save some of it for the Bills, another tough opponent that just beat the Patriots. I hope the defense and special teams can continue to play with the focus, concentration and intensity needed, until the offense grows up and catches up to them. The trick is not to get too down this week, or even the following 2 weeks until the next win is earned. Keep your chin up offense and it will turn for you. Stay focused Defense and ST’s and bring home a win. Who Dey!!!

  2. By mwindle1973 on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s go back and look at Fitzy’s stats in ’09 & ’10 too when comparing what he did in Cincy and Buffalo, and it’s obvious he’s slowly gotten better. Brat designed an offense that could beat the best Ds in any situation. It was not QB friendly, it was designed for an elite QB and an elite offense, I don’t think he deserves the blame, the players let him down, and the team did also by not keeping the Oline up to 04-06 standards. I just don’t like blaming Brat, especially considering that in 05 he produced the best offense in the Mike Brown era.

  3. By mwindle1973 on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

    Andre Smith just was confused on both the plays alluded to here. On 1 of them he didn’t even see Brooks. It was a matter of being beat by the D play and not the player. I would say the other instance he recognized him too late. Either way these are mental recognition things that only experience in the NFL will get you. This is his 1st full year in camp without injury slowing him and starting from game 1. But the biggest help to him and the real answer to patience with Boling is getting through 1 more game here and getting the Boss back. If he was there he’d have called those looks out to Smith, and he just makes the whole right side better. Him and Smith in preseason just plowed 2,3 and 4 guys at a time out of the way. And that helps Gresham and the other TEs. Once you get the pile moving like that it makes it easier on everyone.

  4. By mwindle1973 on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

    I see a lot of criticisms around the internet over us allowing Simpson to play. How can we stop him, until things become clearer as to what his role is in this, and whether he is charged or not, and then how he pleads or even beyond that? The team and the NFL have to wait until the facts of the case become clear and they can have access to them before they can do anything as far as discipline. In fact the team or NFL would be violating the CBA if they didn’t wait until all the facts have been determined and then make their own analysis of the situation.

  5. By tepidfan31 on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

    I really dislike Marvin’s press conferences. He likes the easy questions, but becomes testy and responds condescendingly, when any tough question is asked, which is why one sports writer doesn’t attend anymore. In all other sports complete stats are there on every participant, but not football; we got to protect their little psyches. Wouldn’t an individual be more motivated, if his personal stats were available to all, like how did the linemen grade out, not simply known only to the team? You might say the football player is different, but that’s a cop-out; he’s not! The solutions given are not simply a “general”; we got to do better, work on our mistakes, blah, blah, blah; that applies to every sport known to man. There are also matters of preparation, strategy, coaching, talent, intelligence, management, and experience. We applaud Andy for doing well, but isn’t it appropriate to question him, when he doesn’t? We are not saying that he will not be a good QB; we’re saying he had a less than a good game.

  6. By overthroensamoan on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

    It wasn’t just Boling. All the guards are terrible. How about putting Collins over there. Let’s face it he can’t do any worse.

  7. By Ronald Sebree on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    How about a little reality here. Our statically number 3 defense has not really played up to its ranking. When the game has been on the line and we really needed a stop do we get it. The answer is no with the exception of the Cleveland game. Lets look at the Denver game. With Denver up 10-7 after a Bengal touchdown, our defense gives up a long touchdown pass. It is now 17-7, Denver. The defense holds and we kick score a touchdown but fail to convert the 2 point conversion cotting Denver’s lead to 17-13 and making it a one score game. On the very next drive, the defense gives up another touchdown and it is now 24-13, Denver. The Bengal then score 3 field goals to cut the score to 24-22, Denver. Our Defense needs a 3 and out and guess what? They don’t get one. We now turn to the San Fran game. Bengals get a turn over deep in Niner territory and get a field goal which puts the Bengals up 6-3. Needing just a stop so the offense can try to run out the clock, the def

  8. By mwindle1973 on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    @overthroensamon: You are right it’s not just Boling, Livings is struggling, and Cook has shown now and in the past that he struggles when he doesn’t have good help next to him, as a number of centers do. They are smaller and need help with NT/DTs sometimes. You can tell if you watch though it’s a matter of recognition of the sitiuatoin in front of them. They are making the wrong choices on who to block, and what technique to use. Or having a delay or confusion with recognition that causes their basic fundamentals to breakdown. The biggest issues in the run blocking are Boling and Gresham though. I know even though it’s not publicized Bobbie Williams was still making a lot of the calls and adjustments for the line. Cook took that over in 09, but Williams has remained to feed him info and was still doing it in preseason. Meaning Williams basically is watching over Cooks calls, and feeding him info he misses. He also briefing Smith before most plays. I think his return will do a lot for this Oline. It will definately make the right side available for runs again.

  9. By mwindle1973 on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Hobson: Good update, if you watch the sack in question where Gruden says Brooks wasn’t Smith’s responsibility you will find the man who is responsible. It was BScott. They had him set out to the right of the QB to block the outside right. He recognized it and tried to block it but Brooks just beat him. And really I should say Scott’s bad blocking got him beat. He didn’t even get a hand on him. And that’s my point. The only reason they have ever been leary of putting Scott in the game was his pass protection. If he could pass protect well, he’d be the 3rd down back. As much as I thought I agreed with Marvin about just platooning him, it never seems to work when they do it. I think the biggest problem is sustaining drives. We are not getting enough total plays in to really spread the ball around the right way. And teams that really committ to running, do it 25+ times a game, every game, no matter the results.

  10. By mwindle1973 on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    I got to watch the game. (You can see any blacked-out games in HD quality if you have a good internet connection on NFL Game Rewind. It’s on the NFL.com site, and is available at midnight Sunday and stays available for a couple days or so. You have to pay for Game Rewind, but if your in a market where a game was blacked-out, you can get Rewind for that game for free that week.) But my point was, I heard talk that the 49ers were sitting on our tendencies. Was the NFL catching up to Dalton/Gruden? Etc, etc? It really just seems that’s the coverage schemes they play in their D. Take the Dalton int on the out route to Caldwell. The guy that intercepted it didn’t undercut the route. He relaeased Andre to the S behind him and then cut out to sit on the out route. Dalton had already released the ball before it could be seen. That’s a play design. It was designed when Andre cut for the CB to release the deep coverage to the S and move to underneath/outside coverage. It’s recognizing tendencies and that will just take time for Dalton. It takes a sesason or 2 to see some of these type things and know what will happen before it does. Now he’s got one of them under his belt. The other was a miscommunication, Gresham should have been looking for the back shoulder throw based on the coverage.

  11. By mwindle1973 on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    There’s a great article on NFL.com about Paul Alexander, entitled “Renaissance Man”. Pretty interesting.

  12. By 2ndboot on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    A lot of Monday morning QBs here.. We have a rookie QB and he’s going to get beat a LOT this year.. I accept that and accept the O-line is going to leak from time to time and he have a bunch of receivers lacking big league experience.. It’ll come and when it does the Bengals will roar.

  13. By mwindle1973 on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    @Hobson: Or should I say Butch? I have an Uncle Butch (not his real name of course), the wife and I often wonder how does one aquire the nickname Butch. It doesn’t seem tied to a real name, like John and Jack. Anyway maybe you could do an article on the origins of the name nickname Butch. On to my real issue. I really like the Bengals Breakdown excerpt you and Hoard are doing. Provides a different take on the game analysis type of thing. I agree with you. THe key to victory this week, is ball hogging. We need TOP up to 33 mins +. And need 25-30 runs. We also need to slow the Bills run attack and make them one-dimensional. And of course maybe the most important thing is we have to win the field position and turnover battle. Let’s not forget, they had a great comeback last week. But early they looked terrible and were down 21-0.

  14. By mwindle1973 on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    @Hobson: Sorry about the BoSox man! We were pulling for them. You were prophetic. Back right before the season started you posted me a review of the Sox coming year. You said then that it felt a lot like it did here in Bengaldom last preseason, when it seemed we had already made the playoffs on the roster alone. This is a big game here for us this week. Either way you still have 12 games left after it. But 1-3 teams rarely make the playoffs. 2-2 teams do it all the time. And if we are going to do any better than 6 or 7 wins, then we probably have to get at least 5 of the first 8 games, where the schedule is really soft. But with such a young team things could turn on a dime too.

  15. By mwindle1973 on Oct 1, 2011 | Reply

    RIP to Mike Heimerdinger, former OC for the Tennessee Titans. He lost a battle with cancer at the age of 58. He was a very under-rated coach, loved by his players, and family. Also would like to give a RIP to my wire-haired Dachshund Bubby Windle, who died at the age of 9, 2.5 weeks ago. Bubby was a loyal, tried and true Bengals fan. He spent every game right by my side for 9 + years. Seems impossible but the dog loved the Bengals. If you looked at him on Saturday and said, “Bengals play tomorrow boy!” He would go crazy wagging his tail, ears perked up on alert. It was nice that the last game he watched was the game 1 victory over the Browns. I still have my wife, child, and 3 other dogs that are Bengals fans too. Makes you remember what is important and why some of us are fans to begin with. It’s the time spent together, the memories made, the experiences and the relationships made or strengthened. It’s not just a silly game. A team is something that people of different backrounds can commonly coalesce around in a communal spirit regardless of these differences. It coalesces much better when the team wins a lot. But it coalesces regardless. In these hyper-changing times we live in, football remains one of the few ways that these type things can happen.

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