Another What If

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on February 5, 2012 – 3:39 pm

Here’s another one for the Greg Cook What If file for you.

With the Pro Football Hall of Fame recognizing the steel-belted 4.0-yards consistency of running back Curtis Martin on Saturday, rewind to a week before the 1995 NFL Draft.

Penn State’s Ki-Jana Carter is clearly the highest-rated running back in the draft and the Bengals, picking No. 5, are desperate. They haven’t had a 100-yard rushing game in the past two seasons and they need a gamebreaker to go with wide receivers Carl Pickens and Darnay Scott not knowing if long-ball artist Jeff Blake is the long-term answer at quarterback.

They know Carter is going to be gone by the time they pick. But they like another Carter that is going to be sitting there. Kevin Carter, the Florida defensive end-tackle. Plus, they think they can get a good running back in the second round with the 36th pick in the tradition of Ickey Woods and Harold Green.

A kid out of Pittsburgh named Curtis Martin.

If they come out of it with the other Carter and Martin, they think that sounds good.

The rest is…

For the only time the Bengals traded up to get Ki-Jana Carter at No. 1 for those No. 5 and No. 36 picks and it turned out they could have gotten Martin at No. 69 in the third round because the Patriots didn’t pick him until No. 74.

Who knows what happens if Carter doesn’t blow out his knee on the third snap of his NFL career? Who knows what kind of career Martin would have had if he had started with Blake as his quarterback and not Drew Bledsoe in New England?

The Bengals were certainly looking at the right guys if they didn’t pull the trade. Martin made the Hall rushing for more than 14,000 yards while averaging 1,281 yards in his 11 seasons. Kevin Carter had 104.5 career sacks and went to two Pro Bowls.

Every draft, every situation, every year is different. But if you’re looking for two reasons not to trade up, there are two of them.

Who knows?

By the way, if Martin is in, should the back the Bengals ended up getting two years later in the second round, Corey Dillon get in the Hall, too?

Martin played one more season and is fourth on the all-time rushing list while racking up 90 touchdowns. Dillon is only 17th on the list, but he scored 83 TDs himself on inferior teams, has a better yards per carry (4.3), and got the Super Bowl ring Martin didn’t get with the Patriots.

You can debate it, but Dillon is clearly borderline. He needed 12,000 yards to be a lock. Plus, Dillon can’t get in before Jerome Bettis and he’s still waiting.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Another What If”

  1. By mwindle1973 on Feb 6, 2012 | Reply

    @Hobson: Dillon should undoubtedly be in the hall. Not only does he have the stats but he was the featured offensive weapon on a Super Bowl champion which Martin and Bettis were not. Hopefully they will change the selection process soon. There was a big call for it in the media yesterday. On your article pitch and catch…it’s funny as important as all the things you cited are…the difference in the game last night was Bradshaw. The big lesson in this season is balance still wins in the NFL. The most balanced team with an championship caliber QB won. And the same was true last season and the season before that. You do have the have the playmakers like you said. But GB, NE & NO had more fire power than any other teams. But each team had a weakness or two that couldn’t be overcome. Every year their are a handful of championship caliber passing attacks. But it’s usually the team amongst that group that’s strongest in the other areas (run D, running, STs) that wins it. Stat of the year is no team ranked below 25th in either offense or defense at the end of the regular season has ever won a Super Bowl.

  2. By bengalpirate on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve got another “What If” for you. In 1986, the Bengals were 10-6 and only needed the Dolphins to beat the Patriots at home in Miami in the last game of the regular season, for the Bengals to make it into the playoffs. Well, long story short, the Patriots went into Miami and beat the Dolphins 34-27, when everyone expected the Dolphins to win. It was disappointing for the Bengals and their fans back then because they had a really good team. I only bring this up because I feel there are similarities between the 86 and 2011 Bengals teams. That team won 10 games, but couldn’t quite win the big games. The 2011 Bengals won 9 games and also struggled to win the “BIG” games that would have possibly put them over the hump this year. One thing I am almost certainly sure of, though, knock on wood, is that there is no bitter strike in 2012 like there was in 1987, with our franchise QB sitting in front of a replacement player bus. In 1987 the wheels came off the bus and was such a bizarre year for the Bengals, but they then put the wheels back on the bus in 1988 and rode it to a near Super Bowl title. The 2011 team has the same potential that 1986 team did, but I’m really hoping 2012 adds to the success of 2011 and the team keeps improving and then actually WINS a playoff game, like the 1988 team did. One can only hope and with me, hope always springs eternal. Who Dey!!!

  3. By hobsonschoice1 on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    WINDY: I’m as big a proponent of the running game as anyone, but we’ve now seen the Giants, Packers, and Colts recently win Super Bowls with the NFL’s worst running game. Although all three could run it when they had to and the Bengals are still trying to reach that level.

    By the way, next to getting a cornerback, the running game has to be the biggest off-season priority. Either fix the scheme or upgrade on the line and in the backfield, but it has to get better.

    Still, I wonder, which is why I wrote what I did after Sunday’s game. If teams have a good enough quarterback, receivers, and scheme, you only have to run the ball just to run it. Even the Steelers did that a few years back.

    The difference in Sunday’s game wasn’t Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw, but Nicks and Manningham. Eli Manning had the down-field receivers with outside speed that Tom Brady lacked.

    Of course, Brady has never won a Super Bowl with an elite speed guy. David Givens? Wide receiver Deion Branch was the MVP the last time they won it, but in that Super Bowl the Eagles had the four longest pass plays of the game.

    But he sure could have used a vintage 2006 Ochocinco Sunday.

    For the Pats, they have to be wondering if this game was lost on the last couple of draft days, when they didn’t take in the early rounds wide receivers or defensive edge players that can pressure the QB.

  4. By mwindle1973 on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    @Hobson: I agree with you on the issue here. I mean I can’t think of one team that’s won a Super Bowl and not been able to make big pass plays. And the pass game is more important now than ever. What I meant by Bradshaw was the difference in the game, is that the fact that the Giants balance won over the Pats one-dimensional attack. And remember when the Saints won everyone copied Greg Williams D. You suddenly had 3-4 teams switching to blitz happy 4-3 teams. The Pack had a top D last year. D still wins championships. But just like always and more than ever you need a top QB to get in that position. You need all those things you talked about, the WRs, TEs, etc. But to win it all you have to be solid in all the other areas of the game too. You know we need another G, and a 2nd WR. But we really need to upgrade the D and become a perennial top 5 D. Match that with AJ & Andy and we are going to the playoffs most years. So that should be the priority. But the Oline needs an upgrade too. THey may not give up many sacks. But that’s a lot Dalton and Gruden. Andy was pressured a lot last year. Especially against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. It’s wide open this year though, until we see which of our own FAs will get offers, and what general FAs they go after, it’s hard to say what they will draft. But a CB is probably in the cards no matter what. But a case could be made that there is more long term value and upside in some of the 2nd and 3rd round CB prospects this year.

  5. By mwindle1973 on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    During Super Bowl week, I was doing a lot of reading on Paul Brown. And I came across some info on Bill Belichick’s father Steve(Belichick’s coaching mentor), felt adamantly that the Lombardi trophy should’ve been the Brown trophy. Then I ran across two quotes from a book about Brown by the late George Cantor. One is from Bill Walsh who says, “Once we get out of the public eye our ranking as coaches will kind of slide down. That’s the way life is. But if there is a list of great coaches that has any meaning, the name right at the top has to be Paul Brown.” Then the author adds, “It’s pretty hard to forget a man for whom a football team and two stadiums are named. But the world tries its best. In most Internet polls, for example, you will usually find Lombardi listed at number one. There will also be Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, and Don Shula.” The best thing that could happen to preserve Paul Brown’s legacy is the attention of a Bengal’s or Brown’s championship season. It seems to be lost knowledge that the greatest NFL dynasty was the 46-55 Cleveland Browns.

  6. By mwindle1973 on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    It was reported Maualuga was invovled in a bar fight. I just see this as a bad sign. This wil be his second infraction of the NFL personal conduct policy in as many years. He started good at MLB this season, but then tailed off. I think he was effected by injury, but still it makes one wonder. We are going into his 4th season here, and it seems you could say his progress has been a bit of a disappointment. He has been a solid starter, but expectations, and Rey’s own statements told us we should expect a play maker once he developed. I don’t know you just hope this isn’t a sign of a distracted player.

  7. By mwindle1973 on Feb 14, 2012 | Reply

    I really like the hiring of Carrier as the DBs coach. I think he’s a good fit for this scheme. It’s also good to hear Guenther talk about us returning to the philosophy of playing the best 3 LBs. That’s what we’ve done in the past under Lewis and particularly Zimmer. But this season we were kind of stuck with having Rey have to be in the middle. I think the LBs competition is wide open. It’s hard to tell who will be on the roster come training camp. I know it’s not our norm, but I expect us to be busy in free agency. I don’t think we will spend big money on any one player. I think we will just sign a number of players. If I had to predict, I would guess we retain about half of our own 25 free agents at a cost of 20-25M. And we probably sign 6-10 at large free agents at a cost of about 15-20M. With the cap to be a little over 120M I think we will use about 90-100M again. I know everyone says that this is the year you have to spend 90% of the cap, but it’s not so. There is still a way around it for 2 more seasons. I imagine Brown will continue to run under that number to finance an indoor practice facility. The other PBS in Massillon has one for high schoolers, and I think he realizes that it’s needed, overdue, and an easy target for criticism when the slightest thing goes wrong. Plus when you rebuild you have to keep overall payroll low with this amount of youth if you ever hope to keep the core of the team together for the future. As your players grow and improve, you will need the payroll space to grow salaries as well.

  8. By mwindle1973 on Feb 15, 2012 | Reply

    @Hobson: Have you heard the talk that Trent Richardson could slip out of the top 10 or 15 because of the currently slipping value of the NFL running back. He’s 5’11” 224, so obvioulsy can pund it between the tackles, yet has the speed to gain the edge on outside runs. He’s a good pass catcher too. Could easily catch 40 balls for around 10 YPC in an NFL offense. Is considered a great blocker for a RB. In most years he is gone int he first 5 picks. Do we have to consider trading up to get him if he’s still there at #11 or #12? Or don’t we have to take him ar #17 if he drops that far? Right now some mocks have us taking him at #17. Last year though RBs were devalued early then they crept back up in the mocks. I’d bet somebody grabs him in the top 8 picks, and definitely by #12. All I know is we want a CB and there is only 2 worthy of a 1st round pick right now. Maybe that will change. If it doesn’t I think we may have to look for DeCastro-G, Glenn-G/T, Barron-SS, Richardson-RB & Miller-RB. It would be nice to trade down on one of those picks, but that’s not likely. This is also a strong DT class. To boot, it seems that you might do better picking up a CB or RB in the 2nd or 3rd round where there’s some good talent. They may not be ready to start, but have more upside than the top guys at those positions.

  9. By mwindle1973 on Feb 18, 2012 | Reply

    Man what a great hire for the asst DB/asst STs coach! Hue Jackson? How did we ever manage to land that good of a coach for a position like that. One thing he’s going to add some depth to the staff. But he also gives us another in-house guy who can fill bigger roles if we lose coaches in the future. He’d be great at WRs, QBs or OC. And right now as long as success continues Gruden and Zampese are both going to be pursued in the future. And Urban as well. If he continues to develop Green. Either way players have always repsonded to Hue and he adds a lot to the brain trust as well.

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