Bengals had Marshall Plan; Taylor being made

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on December 18, 2011 – 9:08 am

ST. LOUIS — The Rams are honoring Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk in Sunday’s game against the Bengals (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12), the man Cincinnati could have had at the top of the 1994 draft instead of defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson.

The Bengals honored the concept of Faulk 10 years later when they opted for Chris Perry instead of Steven Jackson at running back in the first round of the 2004 draft. Perry wasn’t Faulk, of course, but they felt he would be a more versatile player than Jackson that could split out and cause matchup problems for defenses that only had to be concerned about wide receiver Chad Johnson’s speed.

(This was before the emergence of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and drafting of Chris Henry at wide receiver.)

But Perry was healthy only one year while Jackson became one of the top backs in the league year after year. Perry has been out of the league three years while on Sunday, Jackson can add another line to the Pro Bowl resume with 105 yards that would make him the seventh man to have seven straight 1,000-yard seasons.

It’s not exactly a grocery shop list with the names Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Eric Dickerson, Curtis Martin and LaDainian Tomlinson. At some point, all are going to be in Canton.

Jackson has piled up a steel-belted career 4.3 yards per carry on some brutal clubs and has pounded 4.4 per this season behind a patchwork offensive line that has won just two games. It makes you wonder what Jackson could have done with the Bengals running game enhanced by Carson Palmer and his receivers. Heading into Sunday’s game, Rudi Johnson and Cedric Benson have 3.8 per carry since ’04.

Faulk made his Rams debut in the ’99 opener against, of all people, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis when Lewis was the Ravens defensive coordinator. Lewis remembers it as Rams quarterback Kurt Warner’s coming out with 309 yards passing and three TDs rather than a Marshall Plan. Still, the versatility was on display in the Rams 27-10 win. Faulk had seven catches for 72 yards with 54 yards rushing on 19 carries.

“He was an awesome player. His versatility not only to run the ball but to catch the football out of the backfield or flanked out right. He caused you some adjustment issues,” Lewis said last week. “We were a pretty good defense but the thing you have a hard time replicating was the speed of that offense, the angles and cuts and how precise they are. We got a lot of pressure on Warner but he made a lot of big throws and we lost the game. That was the genesis of that offense. We played well on defense but not well enough to win.”

It was Faulk that was the X-factor, just the way the Bengals had hoped Perry would be.

“He gave them that third element that now you had to make sure the linebacker could win that matchup if you got put on him on the screens,” Lewis said.

TAYLOR MADE: Safety Taylor Mays took his most snaps as a Bengal last Sunday, his most encouraging day since he came over in the August trade with the 49ers. He took 23, almost as many as he took the week before in Pittsburgh, but they were pretty much in different situations.

Against the Steelers he played mainly in running downs while against the Texans he worked against tight end Owen Daniels in coverage and he can’t remember Daniels catching a ball on the six snaps he went against him during his100-yard day. The Bengals made the switch after Daniels had his way with the linebackers and some felt the 6-3, 230-pound Mays was the only defender that effectively got his hands on Daniels.

Mays is only listening to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and secondary coaches Kevin Coyle and Paul Guenther these days. He thinks he can be an all-round safety and not just a physical presence in the box.

“If Zim says I’m all right, then I know I’m all right,” Mays said last week. “We’ve been working on stuff like that the last couple of weeks. Playing downhill as well as working in coverage. I’m not singling anything out because I want to be the best and I’m working on everything. It was good to get out there and finally get it on film to show the coaches.”

As Mays says, “Daniels is a beast,” and gave him a lot to work on.

“He moved well off the line of scrimmage. He’s got quick feet and he uses his hands well,” he said. “He’s like a big wide receiver.”

Coyle is playing it cautiously. He calls Mays “a work in progress,” and says “he’s got some real potential.” Mays has been getting a lot of work in practice with starter Chris Crocker getting held out on at least Wednesdays and he got even more last week prepping for the Rams with Gibril Wilson also sitting out with a nick. But both are expected to play and Mays is primed again for special teams, where he’s got seven tackles.

But Coyle doesn’t look at just Mays, a 23-year-old second-year player. There is Jeromy Miles, 24, another second-year safety second in special teams tackles with 10 and fifth-rounder Robert Sands, who turned 22 last month and has been active for only one game.

“These young safeties have a lot of upside,” Coyle said.

And that’s one of the things to hammer out in the offseason. How much do you pay the other starting safety, Reggie Nelson, as he heads into free agency when balancing it against the youth?

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Bengals had Marshall Plan; Taylor being made”

  1. By mwindle1973 on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    Good post Hobs! This is one of those areas where hard decisions will have to be made. YOu have to keep Nelson don’t you? Assuming he wants an avg contract for a player of his skill. Right now he’s at the lower and of the first as a player, but he’s never succeeded in the NFL outside of his role in this D, so he may only draw the attention of a handful of teams. I think we can work a deal there. And you have to find roster space for Mays & Miles. Sands I’ve hard nothing about, but I assume h’s on the roster for a reason and he will need a spot too. Where the real decision comes is Wilson & Crocker. DO we feel we need their stewardship for another season or 2, or do we turn it over to Nelson and Mays, and relegate Crocker & Wilson to backup roles. Or cut 1 or both of them, and bring in a draftee and/or a free agent vet. It’s a real hard call to make, I’m hoping maybe Mays can make the decision for us.

  2. By mwindle1973 on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    What a week can do in providing clarity. I read a lot of articles this week that said 2 or more AFC teams would miss the playoffs at 10-6. I also read that the Packers could not be beat this regular season, and that the Colts could not win. Reality is now we have 13 teams at 8-6 or better, so only one 10-6 team can miss the playoffs. The Packers logged a loss, and the Colts got a win. What hasn’t changed is all we can do is win out and hope the Jets lose again. We can force a tie on record against common opponenets with a win over the Ravens. But SOV difference is almost certainly too far to overcome. It actually got worse this week. And I’m sure by next week it will be mathmatically impossible. I still feel strongly that the last playoff could go to a 9-7 team. That’s way more likely than having us and the Jets finish 10-6. The Jets have a really tough game in NY next week with no real home field advantage. We have a monumental task, but we have to win both games or we will starting the offseason in a couple weeks.

  3. By bengalpirate on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    An ugly win, but nevertheless, a good win, a needed win. There’s still two weeks left and it sucks depending on other teams to lose, but the other contending teams losing yesterday all fell to the Bengals favor. Bottom line, though, is that we need to win out to still have a chance for the playoffs and we are facing a revitalized Cardinals team, a team that recently beat the 49’ers and then finishing with the odds-on favorite to win the AFC North, the Ravens. Good win, now let’s win out and see how the cards fall. No pun intended. Who Dey!!!

  4. By mwindle1973 on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    Andy Dalton has suspect arm strength. I read this over and over during the lead up to the draft. And I still thought there might be some truth to it after 13 games. After 14 I’m convinced they were dead wrong and he has the arm strength to make all the throws in the NFL. The first long pass to Green. 65 yards in the air, with very little arc, and a defender preventing him from following through. And Green barely caught up to it. Then on the next drive he squeezed alie drive inbetween 2 defenders on a 12 yard out route. That’s one of the most difficult throws in the NFL as far as arm strength. From the far hash to the opposite sideline, 15 yards down field. Is basically a 45-50 yard throw on a line drive to the WR. And beyond that he’s like Arnold Palmer, with the way he’s a magician with the ball. He can put some funny looking spins on the ball. The throw to Green actually had a slice to it. That’s a very rare talent. Lots of guys have strong arms, it’s very rare to be able to make the ball hook or slice towards your player to give him a better shot at the ball.

  5. By jamison007 on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    Yes BengalNation it’s time to have us some fun. Two games. First test will require sound play and extra effort. Second test will take guts, honor and will. The past is the past, what we know right now is that we have the talent, humility and ‘go to work’ kind of guys to make something stick. It is THIS WEEK and then NEXT WEEK and that is it. If our team wants it, its there…two weeks.

  6. By bobbykni on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    As the season winds down i just wonder is marv lewis can get this team into the playoffs ive never been a lewis fan sometimes i seems the team is not getting to were it needs to be to play a complete game ( and theat falls on the coaching staff ) im proud of the way the guys have been playing but after 14 games they are not doing the things they need to be a factor in the playoffs aka missed blocks bad tackles and missed assignments. however they play with a lot of heart and that means a lot the never quit attitude is great i think the under use some players like baby hawk he plays hard and does a good job everytime he gets a chance and bengals PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE find a way to get rid of andrea smith via trade or cut the guys a waist of space just how many games has he played since hes been here and we see how many blocks he missed. i think after this season we should go aftercornerbacks and offense lineman and look for a stud running back i get the feeling ced wont be back next year

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