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Things I Think I Believe

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 27, 2010 – 11:50 am

In honor of going on Lance McAlister’s show on 1530 at 4:05 p.m. Thursday the 27th to talk a little OTAs, here are some things I Think I Believe, with the nod to Red Sox fan Peter King:

I Think I Believe that Matt Jones and Jerome Simpson are the two receivers that have the longest to go in convincing the coaches they can play. That doesn’t mean they are longshots, but they have to show that people have been wrong about them.

I also think they can do it because they have looked great here. But, look, the only thing that is going to get decided in the last OTA sessions in May and June is who lockers next to whom at Georgetown. To think that any position picture is going to clear up before preseason games is fantasy football.

So much depends on what Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley do returning punts (not to mention cornerback Adam Jones) and you can’t go off that until the games. Will Jones and Simpson be able to do against others what they’ve been able to do here? Jones has been able to run by people and Simpson has been able to leap and dive to make some spectacular plays, but can they do it against another club’s first- and second-teamers? Who is going to be able to play special teams other than return punts? You have to see them tackle somebody.

I Think I Believe they’ll have eight or nine guys left after the final preseason game and we’ll still be guessing.

Maybe The Ocho can bring in Len Goodman to judge.

I Think I Believe Bengals president Mike Brown voted against bringing a New York Super Bowl. That is his M.O. He has always thought a warm weather site was the best thing for fans so they would have things to do in the days leading up to the game.

This is the guy that told Chargers owner Gene Klein to save it when he wanted to postpone The Freezer Bowl in ’82, so he knows a homefield advantage as well as anyone. But my sense is that Brown thinks the neutral site with warm weather works best for the people going to the game.

And, he’s probably worried about the Pandora’s Box they’ve opened. Why shouldn’t Washington and Boston get one now? Cincinnati never will because the stadium is too small and there isn’t enough hotel space. The airport was always a great selling point, but no more with the drastic decrease in direct flights.

I Think I Believe I’m amazed at the national NFL writers that just always shrug when they see the word “Bengals,” and automatically write “suck.” Sometimes you get the feeling they stopped watching this club in 2002.

One thing you never hear about this offseason is how just one Bengal isn’t here during the voluntaries, The Ocho, and that with the blessing of the head coach. Meanwhile, there is a daily upheaval around the NFL about what players aren’t reporting. So much so that ProFootballTalk.com did a roundup the other day about who isn’t showing up. In places like Baltimore, it is easier to say who’s there instead of who’s not.

They like to write about how it is so dysfunctional around here and how many bad guys are in the locker room and how they don’t know how to win or don’t want to win. And, meanwhile, every day just piles up and refutes all the pontifications.

Talking to somebody about this on the inside, they chalk up the attendance to tremendous leadership of the big players, such as Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Andrew Whitworth, Domata Peko, Johnathan Joseph, Leon Hall, Robert Geathers and Keith Rivers.

Yes, I understand. This club has some problems and questions. But what team doesn’t? What entity doesn’t? Even Miss America has to use deodorant, I Think I Believe. Here’s a team that won a division, then addressed its top needs in the offseason, and now has nearly everyone intact working on it, and you’d think they’re rebuilding if you read the national clips.

I Think I Believe I have a list of Bengals that are going to have breakout seasons:

Wide receiver Antonio Bryant – Yes, AB, quarterbacks actually do throw spirals and get it to you on time.

Running back Bernard Scott – If he touches it a dozen times a game via kick returns, passes and runs, he becomes a household name.

SAM/RE Michael Johnson – He didn’t know what he was doing last year and he got three sacks by accident and a slew of tipped balls. Now he’s got a year under his belt and he’ll be lined up in more places than LeBron James, so he looks to be on the brink. A very earnest guy and hard worker.

SAM Rey Maualuga – He’s got the speed, size and hunger to make those game-changing plays, so Mike Zimmer and Jeff FitzGerald are going to make sure he does. Older and wiser, he could be a real handful as they move him around, too.

S Roy Williams – Hard for a five-time Pro Bowler to break out, but after playing just seven games the last two years, he looks and sounds hungry. They get 13-16 games from a near Pro Bowl player at that spot, that is quite interesting.

WLB Brandon Johnson – I love this guy just watching the drills. If the Celtics had him on defense, Superman would disappear. Johnson can cover and he can blitz. Last year he was their best all-around linebacker when it came to making plays.


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