Notes and quotes

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on October 30, 2011 – 11:45 am

SEATTLE — The numbers are 3-9, 2-5-1, 0-4. That’s the record of NFL teams coming off byes this season, the Bengals record the week after byes under head coach Marvin Lewis, and the record when that week came on the road.

The numbers don’t get much play in the Bengals locker room and neither does the Warren Sapp argument that the new rule giving teams off a mandatory four straight days in bye weeks has contributed to the bad bye week records.

Right guard Bobbie Williams has played all the bye games under Lewis but one, but he came to the Bengals from Andy Reid’s Eagles, a perennial playoff team that got a week off during byes.

And Lewis always gave his players four straight days off before giving them five this year. While the game after the bye has usually been a loss, Lewis has a winning record in November/December games and a losing one in September/October games.

“It’s all about mindset,” Williams says. “Our preparation this year has made this a special year for us. If we come out with that mindset and win the game, all that stat stuff isn’t going to matter. We can’t let teams be an ‘if’ or a ‘but.’ We’ve got 10 weeks to play good football and it starts with this game right here.”

The Bengals are loving the extra time off that the new collective bargaining agreement has ordained with fewer padded practices and training camp practices. They believe it’s contributed to the knock-on-wood good luck they’ve had with injuries as well as their three fourth-quarter comebacks.

“I think it’s been beneficial to us,” Williams said. “The body has had a break but the mind has still been working on football.”

As one player said, “If Warren was still playing, ask him if he’d want the four days off.”

On Friday, Lewis recalled what defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said to him earlier in the week about last Sunday’s games and the teams coming off byes. “Except for Kansas City-Oakland, the teams that were supposed to win, won and the teams that were supposed to lose lost.”

THINKING ALOUD: What will have a greater impact on Sunday’s game is the NFL’s loudest stadium as the young and revamped Bengals offense faces its biggest challenge of the season. The good news is that the two guys that played in Seattle the last time (2007) play at one of the most vulnerable positions to the noise with Williams and left tackle Andrew Whitworth on the offensive line. And if tackle is the most vulnerable position, Whitworth played both tackles that day because of injuries.

“It’s really important for us to get off on the ball. They’re going to tee off,” Whitworth said of him and right tackle Andre Smith. “You see them jumping the cadence like crazy when they’re at home, and that’s really what they do. They take you out of your game. They play with the noise and can go off the ball movement and things like that. You play late off the snap and you’re in trouble.

“So just to make sure—not just for us tackles but the whole line—we’ve got to get off the ball on time and can’t be late and can’t be one guy coming off, one guy not and that kind of stuff. So we’ve just got to be on the same page, execute as always. And the main thing is not let it change anything about us, just go out there and do what we do, and crowd noise is crowd noise.”

That most likely means a silent count and radio analyst Dave Lapham, who played all five positions during 10 seasons on the Bengals offensive line, counsels changeups.

“You can’t let the defense pick up the rhythm of the count,” he said.

Lapham says playing well out here would be a huge lift for an offense that still has to face crowds in Pittsburgh and Baltimore as hostile but not as loud as it will experience Sunday.

“I think it’s a great learning tool for us,” Whitworth said. “A young team getting to go on the road before we have to go to Baltimore, before we have to go to Pittsburgh. It gives us a test to go out there and play at a team that’s going to play at a high level and a crowd that’s going to try to keep us out of the game.”

JENNINGS ADVICE: Former Seattle cornerback Kelly Jennings has spent the past two weeks giving his own scouting report on the crowd and the Seahawks receivers to his fellow defensive backs. Jennings started 44 games for them in the previous seasons before he was traded for defensive tackle Clinton McDonald just before this season.

“It’s an advantage,” Jennings said. “Even two years ago when we were 3-13, the stadium was full and the crowd was cheering as loud as if we were 11-3.”

It’s unclear how much Jennings is going to play Sunday against his old mates. He’s barely played this season because of a tender hamstring he tweaked when he was still with the Seahawks, plus the Bengals haven’t seen a lot of three-receiver sets. That’s going to change Sunday since Seattle has the ninth most snaps in the league with three receivers, but it also marks the return of cornerback Adam Jones off PUP.

“Maybe they haven’t put up the great numbers that some other guys have but you really have to keep your eye on them,” Jennings said of the Seattle wideouts. “They have a lot of talent over there. When we’re studying film, I just kind of give them the inside scoop on a lot of guys. What drives guys, what their favorite moves are, things I remember from when I was there.

“Everybody knows Sidney Rice is a great player. Mike Williams is a huge receiver. But 15 (Doug) Baldwin , he’s one that’s slowly coming on the scene that people don’t really know much about. You have to keep your eye on him. He’s real quick and shifty and he can definitely make plays for them.”

Baldwin is one of the great stories of the early NFL season. He played with Bengals rookie receiver Ryan Whalen at Stanford last season and while Whalen, a sixth-round pick, is looking for his first pro catch, Baldwin, a free agent, trails only first-rounders A.J. Green and Julio Jones for most rookie receiving yards with 330 on 20 catches.

Jennings has moved on from his Seattle experience. The head coach and GM that drafted him in the first round in 2006 are no longer. So even though he thought he played well under new coach Pete Carroll last year, he’s not surprised he’s gone.

“Being in this business for six years now, I’ve seen a lot of things happen,” Jennings said. “I guess it was kind of a shock because I did start, but it’s not a surprise because for the simple fact it goes like that sometimes.”

He’s still close to his fellow first-round cornerback Marcus Trufant, as well as defensive end Red Bryant and running back Justin Forsett. But the NFL roulette wheel has done its business in Seattle. Injuries and the new regime now have two youthful corners in first-year NFL players Richard Sherman, a fifth-round pick from Stanford, and Brandon Browner, a 68-game veteran in Canada with 12 career interceptions and a championship with Calgary.

That could briefly set up a Grey Cup matchup with Bengals spot receiver Andrew Hawkins, a winner with Montreal.

HOMETOWN VISIT: Bengals safety Taylor Mays, who grew up in Seattle, hasn’t been back very much since he left for college at USC and looked forward to the visit only because he could visit with his parents.

He also said he plans to talk with Carroll before the game as well as other coaches he knew at USC. The two have been linked in controversy since the 2010 draft because Carroll needed a safety and didn’t take him in the second round.

“It wasn’t really anything. I felt like we had a good relationship then and we have one now,” Mays said.

Mays put in some work during the bye week with secondary coach Kevin Coyle as he continues to try and get used to the scheme. They went in the gym and Coyle represented different offensive formations with chairs.

“It’s different than seeing it on a piece of paper and actually seeing it in front of you,” he said.

VEIL OF NO SECRECY: The unwritten rule in an NFL draft room is the same as it is in the locker room. “What you say here, what you do here, what you see here, let it stay here.”

As it does in many war rooms—NFL and the real ones—that went by the boards Sunday in the Bengals draft room when ESPN cited sources that said club president Mike Brown wanted Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett in this year’s draft but in the end sided with offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and others for Andy Dalton when both were available at No. 35.

Which is another example of the tremendous power Brown gives the Bengals assistant coaches and Lewis in the draft, particularly in the early rounds. On a lot of teams, the assistants are in their offices watching the draft on TV, never mind having input in each stage of the process.

Rarely is there unanimity in any draft room and debates become public. An alleged John Harbaugh-Ozzie Newsome divide in Baltimore on first-round pick Jimmy Smith was revealed almost immediately back in April.
That’s why the company line is always, “We disagree, we discuss, we debate, but we leave the room as one.”

And the Bengals got a one, and maybe another, when they debate the picks they got in the Carson Palmer trade next April.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Notes and quotes”

  1. By mwindle1973 on Oct 30, 2011 | Reply

    This will be a tough game. A win here will be big. Nice for the public to hear a little more positive things about Mike Brown, and not just all the negative hype. But also interesting that he wanted Mallett. I did too, I’ll admit it. And I still think in 5 years he will be elite. I’ve tracked the press out of NE about him. And they are very pleased, and just taking their time with him, because they have Brady. But he showed in preseason if he had to start he could. The QBs this year were demonized. They all have played better than predicted. In 5 years we are going to look back and see 5-6 of those QBs starting in the league.

  2. By mwindle1973 on Oct 30, 2011 | Reply

    As I flipped around the games waiting for the Bengals kickoff, I noticed some names on the field from this year’s draft. I went and looked online at the draft results again. I had to go all the way down to #23, Danny Watkins – G, taken by the Eagles to find a guy that isn’t starting already. That’s right, the first 22 players taken in this draft are all starting, accept for Prince Amukamara, who was injured early in training camp. And some of them look like the stars of tomorrow. Newton, Miller, Dareus, Green, Petersen, Jones & Aldon Smith, the first 7 players picked, are all major producers for their teams already. Then you have Dalton, the diamond in the rough who was drafted early 2nd round, but plays like early 1st round. Time will have to sort it out, but an early look shows this draft to be extremely fruitful in the 1st round. To me it’s the return of the 4-3 DE draft. In the last 10 years you have seen less and less true 4-3 DEs. The last 2 years have seen a huge surge in quality true 4-3 DEs, and 3-tech DTs that were sorely needed.

  3. By tepidfan31 on Oct 31, 2011 | Reply

    I am happy with the win, but—I recognize that Seattle has a very good DL; I recognize that the noise was a factor, but—Our OL had it worst day, no hole from runners, very poor protection for Andy, the pocket was collapsed on all most every play, and most of Andy’s passes were on the run. Even on the TD to Green, Andy was harrassed. Andy didn’t look great, but blame it on the OL; both Whit and Smith had problems. Our DL had another very good game, our one true staple game after game: but our DB’s were terrible, especially Hall. A journeyman passer had a field day spinning our DB’s around like a top. Zimmer has some work to do. The big boys are coming up, and if the OL and DB’s have repeat performances, we’re into some somber days.

  4. By bengalpirate on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    A great win in Seattle for the team and now another crucial game in the Bengals playoff hunt. Although in today’s NFL, all games are crucial and in the case of the Bengals, the Titans road game is the most important game of the year. All of the remaining games are the most important, as a win in Nashville moves them closer to a playoff spot and also sets up the big match up with the Pittsburgh home game next week. It’s obvious, but with the 5-2 start of the Bengals, each game that they find a way to win, gives them that all important leverage needed to inch closer to the playoffs and a loss is an obvious step backwards. I really like this team’s depth, (knock on wood) especially since as the season winds down, teams with good depth keep winning and plugging seasoned replacements in when the inevitable injuries happen. Teams that can do that win playoff games and I dare to say it, the Super Bowl. THE SUPER BOWL??? As always, hope springs eternal!!! Who Dey!!!

  5. By mwindle1973 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    @bengalpirate: I don’t think it’s crazy to talk Super Bowl or playoffs. It just depends. We’ll see how we answer the bell in the next 5 games. If we come out with the division lead we will be a clear favorite in the AFC. At first NE & Buffalo were considered the top of the AFC. Then we beat the Bills, and the Steelers beat the Pats last week. And now the Steelers are emerging as the team to beat coming into their game with the Ravens Sunday, and the Ravens considered close behind them. By the time we play the Ravens in a couple weeks there will either be a clear picture of the pecking order, or it will look even up again. This offense may be inconsistant and make mistakes, but I think the offense in 2009 was worse in those areas. Plus we have a much better D, and an easier schedule than then. 2005 was a big offensive year, but we were still inconsistant. Lot of 3 and outs, in those high scoring days too. And the D was a liability then. So even though these are a bunch of young guys, I do believe they could make a playoff run this year. We’ll just have to see, as things don’t always turn out how the could. But I think their is a chemistry here between players, and coaches that could allow momentum to keep growing. And with our D we will be in the hunt until the end.

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