The Bengals continue to kick the tires on veteran running backs. After entertaining Beanie Wells last month, they took a look at Felix Jones on Monday, according to dallascowboys.com.
But as happened with Wells, there were no signs the Bengals were making a deal late Monday and the move could be for later in the spring. They may want to see how the draft plays out before deciding to sign a veteran. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has said he wouldn’t mind finding a back to pair with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the Bengals haven’t re-upped Brian Leonard or Bernard Scott with Cedric Peerman penciled in as the potential third-down back.
But the 5-10, 217-pound Jones, who turns 26 the week after the draft, fits the explosive speed trait the Bengals seek to team with Green-Ellis. Despite missing 16 games, he’s averaging 4.8 yards per career rush. He carried just 111 times last year in Dallas and had a career-low 3.6 yards per attempt.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Felix Jones, Jay Gruden
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 1 Comment »
Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, who blew into the NFL via Canada two years ago, thinks his head coach in the CFL is also going to catch on.
With Wednesday’s news that Montreal head coach Marc Trestman has become the head man with the Bears, Hawkins offered his unconditional endorsement.
“I know how he goes about his work. I’d bet everything I have that he’s going to be a successful NFL head coach,” Hawkins said. “I don’t think I would have made the NFL if it hadn’t been for the two years I had with Marc Trestman.”
Hawkins became a part of two Grey Cup title teams with the Alouettes before he hooked up with the Bengals in the training camp of 2011 and became an instant fan favorite before he emerged as the regular slot receiver in 2012 with 51 catches and four touchdowns. He thinks Trestman’s two decades in the NFL as an assistant mixed in with the Montreal experience is a brew ticketed to success.
“To me, being a head coach in Canada gets you ready for an NFL head coaching job more than a college head coaching job because you’re dealing with grown men,” Hawkins said. “It’s not easy in college, but it’s easier because the players are younger, they need you, and they don’t have a choice. Grown men have a choice. What he does with Xs and Os is well documented. As far as managing grown individuals, I’ve seen that firsthand and I think that’s the part that’s going to make him a great head coach in the NFL.”
Hawkins says Trestman’s attention to detail oozed into every corner of the Montreal organization, from the offensive meetings into keeping the lockers clean.
“First of all, he’s an offensive guru. Everything comes down to timing and spacing. If you’re lined up a yard outside your alignment, you’ll get coached up on it,” Hawkins said. “He’s like that with everything. Demeanor. He taught me how to carry myself as a professional.”
Hawkins still can recite one of Trestman’s favorite lines: “Everyone loves football. Football loves no one.”
“He always talked about getting ready for life after football and guys appreciate that,” he said.
Call it Grey Cup II when the Bengals play the Bears in 2013 in Chicago.
GRUDEN UPDATE: Indications are Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden returned to Cincinnati on Wednesday after interviewing for four head coaching jobs. Arizona and Jacksonville are the only vacancies after Philadelphia tapped Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and San Diego went with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
The Cardinals are still looking to interview Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and their own defensive coordinator and former Bengal DB and assistant Ray Horton is also in the mix. In Jacksonville the Jags are reportedly waiting to interview 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a college teammate of new general manager Dave Caldwell.
Tags: Andrew Hawkins, Jay Gruden, Marc Trestman
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 3 Comments »
Count T.J. Houshmandzadeh as an interested bystander in the Hue Jackson signing.
“I saw that and I was thinking, ‘What are the Bengals doing? It’s like they’re putting together an all-star coaching staff,’ ” he said this weekend. “They’re stacked.”
Houshmandzadeh, who jump-started his career in his fourth season when Jackson became the Bengals wide receivers coach, thinks it makes plenty of sense to fit Jackson in on the defensive side of the ball as an assistant secondary coach. In a part-time role for him during the last half of 2011, Houshmandzadeh saw what Jackson did this past year in his only season as the Raiders head coach with an injury-riddled offense in transition.
With quarterback Carson Palmer not arriving until the sixth week of the regular season and No. 1 running back Darren McFadden missing the last nine games, the Raiders still finished ninth in offense and a win away from taking the AFC West title.
“Hue knows offense. He knows it as well as anyone in the league. He’s one of the best offensive coaches there is,” Houshmandzadeh said. “He can help the defense get ready for that. He can help the defense break that down and he can help the DBs with what to expect. And he’s got Mike Zimmer and I think he’s the best defensive coordinator. I was really impressed with him the one year I was there. And you’ve got Marvin (Lewis) on defense, too.”
Houshmandzadeh’s last season with the Bengals was 2008 and even though that was two playoff appearances ago, he thinks he’s still got a pretty good feel for the guys that he worked with, such as running backs coach Jim Anderson and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese.
“I worked enough with Kenny to know he’s a good one and you know J.A. has to be good at what he does because he’s been doing it so long (29 years),” he said. “Obviously I wasn’t there with (offensive coordinator) Jay Gruden, but for them to do what he did in his first year, you know he’s got to be a good coach. And Darrin (Simmons) is one of the best special teams coaches in the league.”
Heading into his 10th season, Lewis not only has developed a young crop of players that has already made the playoffs, but he’s put together his biggest named staff. There is a former head coach (Jackson), a coach that interviewed for two head coaching jobs last month (Zimmer) and a coach that turned down two interviews for head coaching jobs (Gruden).
Houshmandzadeh thought Jackson had the Raiders on the verge of big things with the acquisition of Palmer, but he wasn’t all that surprised when new general manager Reggie McKenzie fired Jackson.
“Hue did a great job in one year and you have to figure it was only going to get better on offense,” Houshmandzadeh said. “But at the same time I can understand that the guy wants to be comfortable with his head coach and wants to make sure he gets a guy that’s on the same page.”
Houshmandzadeh, who turns 35 the third week of this season, says he wants to keep playing and is looking. If not, expect him announcing for somebody.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Hue Jackson, Jay Gruden, Marvin Lewis, Mike Zimmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
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Here’s hoping Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham takes heart watching San Francisco’s winning drive Saturday. The one where 49ers tight end Vernon Davis took over the last 97 seconds and personally willed his team into next week’s NFC title game.
Davis accounted for 61 of the final 85 yards, giving him a monster 180 in a playoff masterpiece that has to conjure up memories of the Kellen Winslow Game 30 years ago without the Miami dehydration but with the Dwight Clark-like heroics.
Gresham can be that guy for the Bengals. He’s been frustrated in his first two seasons with promising yet sporadic production. But he is a Davis in the making. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wants him to be that guy and the fact Gresham is going to be in his offense for a second straight year should really help him.
Like the 6-3, 250-pound Davis, the sixth pick in the 2006 draft, the 6-5, 260-pound Gresham, the 21st pick in 2010, had to deal with a change in quarterbacks and systems early in his career. Truth be told, Gresham’s first two seasons have been more prolific than what Davis did in ’06 and ’07. Gresham has caught 108 balls for 1,016 yards and 10 TDs compared to Davis’s 72-774-7.
And Davis didn’t pass what Gresham did this past season (56 catches for 596 yards and six TDs) until his fourth season when he broke out with 78-965-13.
Gruden believes that not only will another year in the system benefit Gresham, but his first offseason with it is going to make a difference.
“We’ve started to get more out of Jermaine. The more he practices and the more he hears about the game and the concepts, he’s going to get better and better,” Gruden said last week. ”Because he’s as athletically talented, gifted tight end as there is in the league. From the standpoint of experience running these route concepts, he’s a little bit behind.
“But he can get up to speed in the offseason and next year we have huge, high hopes for him. That will take a lot of pressure off A.J. (Green) when they start doubling him with a safety on the outside, that will open up the field for a big guy like that. It will be huge.”
All Gresham has to do is take a deep breath and look at Davis on Saturday and realize he’s got better numbers than he did at this age.
And he won’t turn 24 until after the second set of OTAs in June.
Tags: Jay Gruden, Jermaine Gresham, Vernon Davis
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Tim Tebow’s 316 passing yards in Sunday’s AFC Wild Card Game against the Steelers in the wake of Denver boss John Elway’s “Pull The Trigger” plea earlier in the week may be a harbinger for Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s sophomore season.
While Cincinnati lost six of its last nine games, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden often talked about the fine line between being careful with the ball and taking risks with it in order to make big plays. He even admitted there were times he wanted Dalton to take some chances rather than checking it down or throwing it away after his QB opted for the more conservative route.
First of all, Gruden should be named the NFL’s assistant coach of the year for getting an offense with a rookie QB and rookie No. 1 receiver to the playoffs without the benefit of OTAs. He did it by keeping things sane, simple and vanilla for Dalton. And it is exactly what he had to do against a schedule that in those last nine games featured six against the top five defenses of Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Houston.
But even before Tebow stunned Charles Richard LeBeau and his Steelers, Gruden showed signs on Saturday he was beginning to take the wraps off Dalton. In a road playoff game he had him throwing 18 times in the first half and it worked for the most part. If not for J.J. Watt’s vertical show and a missed field goal, he easily could have walked out of there with a 13-10 halftime lead against the NFL’s second-ranked defense.
But what Tebow did to the Steelers No. 1 defense is mind-boggling. Here is a guy that had a worst completion percentage this season than Akili Smith had as a rookie (52-45) completing four throws of at least 40 yards against a defense that allowed just two plus-40s all year.
Dalton and A.J. Green had one of those against the Steelers, a 43-yarder in the 35-7 loss in Pittsburgh. That, their 36-yard TD connection in the first game, and a 25-yard throw to Andrew Hawkins were the only balls of at least 20 yards caught by the Bengals wide receivers in two games against Pittsburgh.
Of course, Tebow was going up against a much more diminished defense than Dalton. On Sunday the Steelers didn’t have safety Ryan Clark all day and defensive linemen Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel for much of it.
And maybe the biggest reason of all the Broncos were able to chuck it is that they ran it for 131 yards (Tebow only had 50 of them) even with the Steelers daring Tebow to beat them. Until the Bengals get their running game straightened away, Dalton won’t be able to do much more than he has in the AFC North.
There is that one big looming question. If Gruden gets the head coaching job in Jacksonville (and that is looking like a longshot), what happens to Dalton’s development? Do they promote from within? Do they keep Gruden’s West Coast offense?
But what we do know is that, at least for one day, pulling the trigger paid off. With 17 games under his belt and after watching what Tebow did to their rival, you know Dalton and his coaches must have an itchy finger.
Tags: Andy Dalton, Jay Gruden
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PITTSBURGH — With five games left and already at 745 yards, wide receiver A.J. Green looks to be a lock to break Cris Collinsworth’s 30-year-old rookie club record of 1,009 and to become the first NFL rookie to grab 1,000 yards in five years since Marques Colston.
He’s just 122 yards from the Bengals’ best rookie year in 17 years when Darnay Scott went for 866 and with 74.5 yards per game, he’ll pass the great Isaac Curtis (843) against Houston at Paul Brown Stadium next week, Eddie Brown (942) the week after in St. Louis and Collinsworth against Arizona on Christmas Eve at PBS.
It’s amazing given that Green is doing it with a rookie quarterback and neither had access to coaching or practice until training camp. Collinsworth had both, as well as an 11-year veteran in Ken Anderson’s MVP season. Curtis had Anderson in his third season. Brown had Boomer Esiason in his second season. Scott did most of his damage in Jeff Blake’s first nine starts, but it was Blake’s third year in offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet’s system.
So in any era it has been tough for even the great receivers to make the jump to the NFL so quickly. A few reasons why Green is an exception from offensive coordinator Jay Gruden:
“He’s got a good feel for the game. And he takes a lot of pride in work,” Gruden last week of Green. “When you’ve got a guy with the demeanor that he has and a guy willing to work hard to get better every day and has the talent he has, he’s got all the makings to be one of the great receivers to play.”
While most everyone believes that Gruden has kept his versatile scheme relatively vanilla for the kids, Gruden has enormous confidence in them.
“They’re great players, that’s why,” Gruden said. “There’s a lot of plays you can run for those guys to be successful. Andy’s a great competitor. He knows what he likes; he knows what plays work against certain things. And of course A.J. is one of the most talented people around.
“It’s exciting to have those two guys here. To know they’re going to be here for a while is even more exciting. And to know what type of people they are makes it even more fun to come to work. That’s the thing about those two guys: you know you’re going to get the best out of them every day and they’re going to learn and be pleasant and want to learn and want to improve.”
Gruden sees Green having no shot of becoming a diva receiver. This isn’t a guy who is huffing and puffing after every series about not getting the ball.
“You have to talk to him and ask him what he likes; he’s not going to tell you,” Gruden said. “He just wants to win and he’s going to do what he’s asked to do and when the game is over he’s going to give it all he’s got. Usually when the game’s over, I’ll be kicking myself as the coordinator, ‘Why didn’t we go to him more often?’ We’ve got other good players. It’s worked out so far.”
If Green ever does start calling for the ball, “he’ll probably have a reason,” Gruden said with a laugh.
But that’s not to say Gruden and receivers coach James Urban aren’t coaching up Green. There are things he needs to develop. He’ll get a big test Sunday against Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, a guy Gruden calls one of the league’s best technicians that exploits bad routes.
“Sometimes his releases might be too quick, or too predictable, or he doesn’t work the corner at all. He rounds (some routes) or he’s short on some depths,” Gruden said. “Just a little too impatient. He has to get open so quick and maybe the ball’s not there by a second but the quarterback isn’t ready to throw it and the corner closes in on him. Timing and working the corner is every bit as important as athleticism and talent.
“Sometimes you really have to be patient, work the corner, push him up to a certain depth, use your head, use your shoulders. Stick him. Be physical some times.”
Gruden admits that anybody with that much natural ability can get away with bad habits but like he said, “He still runs good routes; he can get a lot better. That’s all I’m saying.”
Which is a bit frightening.
UP FRONT TALK: Look at how much defensive tackle Geno Atkins has improved over his rookie season. He’s leading all NFL defensive tackles in sacks with 6.5, but line coach Jay Hayes says his biggest improvement has come stopping the run.
“He’s just learning the little intricacies of playing it, studying it and using what he has to his advantage,” Hayes said. “His strength, his quickness, his leverage, his foot speed. He understands the game very well. When you point out to him what to do when they do this, he gets it.”
Although Frostee Rucker has moved ahead of Michael Johnson at right end on the depth chart, Hayes is hesitant to call him the starter because he says Rucker is the starter in base and Johnson is the starter in nickel and the individual game depends on who plays the most. But with nickel rusher Carlos Dunlap out again this Sunday against the Steelers, both figure to get a lot of snaps in nickel because Rucker can play left end and inside on nickel if need be. Plus, Johnson can stand up on some snaps.
In his sixth season, Rucker is having a career year with four sacks, more than he had combined in his five previous seasons. Besides the maturity Hayes talks about, there is the health former Bengals defensive tackle John Thornton talks about. By playing Sunday, it will tie his career high for games played at 12.
Thornton, Rucker’s mentor breaking in, also talks about trust gaining him more snaps.
“Veteran coaches like veteran players,” Thornton said. “You have to show them you can stay healthy and be reliable and that takes time. He’s just matured.”
NOT A SNAP: Even though former Browns long snapper Ryan Pontbriand’s rolled field-goal snap was a huge factor last week in the Bengals 23-20 victory, Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons couldn’t help but have pangs of sympathy for him.
Simmons has seen it all too often. Solid performers for years, they inexplicably get the yips. Pontbriand had blown a couple before last Sunday, including one on what would have been a game-winning chip shot.
Simmons saw it happen with the Bengals’ own Brad St. Louis in 2009, his 10th season in the league. He says for special-teamers, there is no such thing as an incomplete pass in first down.
“Every down,” he says, “is fourth down.”
He doesn’t expect any meltdowns from the man that has replaced St. Louis so seamlessly. Clark Harris has had 347 straight successful snaps since he arrived.
“It’s a little different with Clark. He’s played in the league as a tight end,” Simmons said.
“He’s a happy-go-lucky guy.”
Tags: A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Clark Harris Darrin Simmons, Frostee Rucker, Geno Atkins, Jay Gruden, John Thornton, Marques Colston
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 19 Comments »
PITTSBURGH — Phil Simms looked a little out of place without his partner Saturday as Jim Nantz called Kentucky’s win over North Carolina to tip off CBS’s college basketball coverage before heading here to join Simms in the booth for Sunday’s Bengals game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12) against the Steelers for a share of first place in the AFC North.
But Simms, the CBS analyst who took some heat espousing on the relative merits of Andrew Luck a few weeks ago, always feels at home talking about young quarterbacks. Yet when he talks about Bengals rookie Andy Dalton, he starts with his coaches.
Simms, a Super Bowl MVP that enjoyed his best day as an NFL quarterback on the biggest stage, agrees. The NFL is a coach’s league. And he says the Bengals have handled Dalton “almost perfectly” and “borderline great.”
“To me in the NFL the most important people are the coaches,” Simms said Saturday night after he emerged from skull sessions with the Bengals coordinators. “I understand you need players, but I know coaches who have the players and still can’t get it done.”
Count Simms among the growing legion of fans of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, which seems to include certain elements of the Jaguars front office, some college programs, and all of Bengaldom. Thankfully, Gruden’s success has poked holes in a certain inbred arrogance that doesn’t even try to hide in the NFL. Along with quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese and the rest of his staff, Gruden’s guys have made it look almost easy.
One veteran NFL coach sniffed a few weeks after Gruden’s hire about the Bengals hiring an Arena League coach. But, like Simms says, Gruden’s staff has been brilliant in overseeing Dalton’s development without the benefit of spring practice and classroom sessions.
Coaching is teaching and adjusting. Indoors, outdoors, or on the moon.
“The biggest surprise to me is how the Bengals have handled it. How they’ve run the team. How they’ve organized this new-look team,” Simms said. “They’ve handled Andy Dalton as good or probably better than the Carolina Panthers have handled Cam Newton.
“They’ve surrounded him already with good stuff. The offense is smart. It’s not too complicated. They’re making the transition easy for him. They’ve done the right stuff and I’m sure during the year they’ve added a layer on.”
As for Dalton, Simms is holding off on any pronouncements until “he gets the eye test,” which means after studying him on tape on him and watching him on TV since he was a freshman at TCU, Simms finally gets to see him play a game in person Sunday.
Simms doesn’t have any big questions about Dalton. He’s just curious, the way an expert is curious about another member of the craft. He’s impressed and loves the potential.
“With Andy, it’s easy to see the poise and all that on the field,’ Simms said. “That’s wonderful, but I’m anxious to watch him in person, to see how the football comes out of his hand.”
Simms believes quarterbacks have to have some kind of physical trait to set them apart, be it “really big, really fast, or you can really throw it.” He says a quarterback can’t just be “really smart,’ because it doesn’t take all that much to hit the open guy, and Dalton is trying to jack up that completion percentage that now sits at barely 60 percent.
“Andy Dalton right now is in between in all those categories,” Simms said. “What he is to me already is he’s a guy that’s going to stand in there. He’s not a guy quick-footed enough to scramble all the time and get the five yards. He’s going to be a successful quarterback because he can figure out who to throw it to and hit them when they’re open at an unbelievably high rate. And he has the potential to make two or three throws a game that can separate. To me, that’s what it’s going to come down to.”
Don’t get Simms wrong. He likes what he sees on tape and he was particularly impressed with the way the Steelers coaches were surprised this week at how far he was along physically when they played three weeks ago. But he wants to see the guy up close.
“I’m excited for the eye test,” Simms said.
When he was scouting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger coming out of college, Simms was able to put No. 1 on his list of likes, “Big. And he’ll play big in the NFL.”
No. 1 on his list for Dalton is his throwing motion.
“He has a beautiful throwing motion. I didn’t say that about Carson Palmer,” Simms said. “Carson has a jerkier motion. Andy’s is smooth and that smooth motion will serve him well and his arm will get stronger as time goes on.”
Tags: Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Gruden, Ken Zampese, Phil Simms
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 1 Comment »
Again in honor of Listen to Lance A Lot and Peter The King, here are some things I Think I Believe:
I THINK I BELIEVE the Bengals must be having a very good year. It is not even December and already the name of a Bengals assistant coach has surfaced as a candidate for a head coaching job. In the wake of Jack Del Rio’s firing in Jacksonville on Tuesday, Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com tweeted the names of Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher.
It’s not just an idle report because Prisco lives in Jacksonville, covered the Jags forever at the Florida Times-Union, and still has good ties to the club. Plus, connect the dots. Jags general manager Gene Smith and Gruden’s father are both Heidelberg College football guys.
And it makes sense. Gruden and his staff have done a remarkable job with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, while in Jacksonville franchise QB Blaine Gabbert, the guy the Bengals thankfully passed at No. 4 for A.J. Green, is backsliding.
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer figures to get some interest, too, as the defense sniffs a top five ranking for the second time in three years. Especially since Bill Parcells is so staunchly in his corner.
It only happens when people take notice what you’re doing and the Bengals have made them do that.
I THINK I BELIEVE Geno Atkins has a shot to be the first Bengals defensive tackle to make the Pro Bowl since nose tackle Tim Krumrie in 1988. Players and coaches are no different than everyone else and vote off stats, so his NFL-leading 6.5 sacks among tackles are huge. And you’ve got national media writing that Atkins was the best defensive tackle on the field in Baltimore the other week, not Ravens Pro Bowl tackle Haloti Ngata.
I THINK I BELIEVE that Sunday’s 51-yarder from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green showcased the kind of chemistry between a QB and receiver that hasn’t been seen around these parts since Carson Palmer was throwing to T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2007, when Houshmandzadeh shared the NFL receiving title with 112 catches.
I THINK I BELIEVE the offense’s not-so-secret weapon is tight end Jermaine Gresham. The guy is a matchup nightmare when you also have to cover the speed of Green and Jerome Simpson downfield. It is shaping up to be the best season by a Bengals tight end since Rodney Holman went to the Pro Bowl in 1990. Gresham isn’t going to the Pro Bowl, but he’s on pace for 58 catches for 575 yards and while Tony McGee had 754 yards receiving on 55 catches in 1995, he only had four TDs. Gresham already has five. Holman also had five TDs in 1990 and 14.9 yards per his 40 catches.
I THINK I BELIEVE one of the most underrated stats of this season is Mike Nugent’s 8-for-9 effort on field goals in the fourth quarter. How good has Nugent been? He’s 35-for-40 from all over for an 87.5 percentage since he became the Bengals kicker in 2010. When he arrived before the season, his career percentage was 79 percent on 79-for-100.
I THINK BELIEVE if I’m left alone in the draft room with a box of Cap’n Crunch and Stephen King’s Nov. 22, 1963, I go cornerback, wide receiver, guard, D-lineman, running back in that order with those five projected picks in the first three rounds, the guess being that extra pick in the third ends up as the compensatory pick for cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
The Bengals have to think about D-line, too. With tackle Pat Sims and DT/DEs Frostee Rucker and Jonathan Fanene looking at free agency, how many stick around to keep being part of a rotation instead of a starter? One thing, though. Every lineman gets a pretty significant number of snaps.
I THINK I BELIEVE this is a scheme league. How else to explain that quarterback Carson Palmer is winning the kind of games in Oakland in his first month that he didn’t win in Cincinnati for several years, if ever? On Sunday in the win over the Bears he threw for 301 yards without his top running back (Darren McFadden) and two of his top three receivers in Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore.
Running back Michael Bush had just 69 yards on 24 carries. And there’s the nut. The Raiders are pounding the ball and mixing play-action for deep shots downfield with short throws to the backs as Palmer averages a whopping 8.9 yards per throw. Against the Bears he threw nine times to his fullback and running back.
He had back-to-back 100 passer rating games against Minnesota and San Diego. The last time he did that was the first two games of 2007. The last time he threw for 300 yards in a win was the last game of 2007.
The reports of his demise were clearly false. The guy can still play.
So, as it turns out, can Dalton.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Geno Atkins, Jay Gruden, Jeff Fisher, Jermaine Gresham, Mike Nugent, Mike Zimmer
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 21 Comments »
Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on running back Bernard Scott’s 12-yard TD run:
“He ran a power play on his touchdown and there’s an unblocked guy standing right in front of him. He just cut it. The guy wouldn’t have even pulled his flag in flag football; that’s how quick it was.”
Tags: Bernard Scott, Jay Gruden
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 4 Comments »
One of the many things that new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has to do is turn around the trend that has seen the Bengals struggle for points in the second halves of games and the second halves of seasons for the last several years.
A little blast for early summer.
Gruden can get a lift from that last month of 2010, when the Bengals’ leading receivers were the young guns that sparked them to their first two 30-point plus games in December for the first time since 2005 and their highest scoring December since 2007.
Finishing has been elusive despite some high-wire acts under quarterback Carson Palmer. In his six full seasons as the starter, the Bengals averaged 11 points fewer coming out of the locker room at halftime compared to the numbers they had in the first half. Plus, in Palmer’s 27 December-January starts (not counting the injury-shortened 2005 Wild Card Game), the Bengals have averaged 20.5 points per game. In his 71 starts played before December, it is 22.8 points per game.
But in Palmer’s first three seasons, they averaged 24.5 points in his December starts compared to 17.8 in his most recent three seasons. Overall, in Palmer’s first 45 regular-season starts from 2004 to 2006, the Bengals averaged 24 points per game and were continually ranked among the league’s offensive elite. In his last 52, it is 20.6.
Did defenses figure out the offense? Personnel? Foes? His injuries?
This past December with the kids, the Bengals put up their 30-spots against top four defenses (No. 1 Chargers, No. 4 Saints) in Paul Brown Stadium games that were played in less than ideal conditions. The 34-30 loss to the Saints was played in a wind that made it feel like 23 degrees and they beat the Chargers in swirling 15-to- 20 mile-per-hour winds that made it feel like 17 degrees.
What’s it all mean?
Ride the winds of December and finish.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Jay Gruden, young receivers
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 5 Comments »