Again, in honor of WLW talkmaster Lance McAlister with baseball back again, and in honor of Peter King, Sports Illustrated titan, as I shamelessly begin to lobby for another pair of his Red Sox tickets, another version of I Think I Believe:
I Think I Believe the American judicial system is the only thing on the planet that can render the NFL as numbingly boring as 30 minutes of watching public access television.
I Think I Believe that I never agreed with Peter’s report from two weeks ago that the Bengals will listen to trade offers for Carson Palmer. They’re not ready. At least not yet. And they really won’t be ready if they can’t trade until him after the draft. When all they’ll be able to get is God knows what in 2012. If God knows they could get Andrew Luck, maybe that would change things.
I Think I Believe I do agree with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Mike Brown didn’t give quarterback Carson Palmer a subtle jab during his Saturday interview with Bengals.com and The Cincinnati Enquirer.
I asked Brown how the lockout impacts the Palmer situation and he said, “I don’t want to talk about specific players. We’re not allowed to deal with the players and I’m not looking to send messages through the media or to the player or the public about a player. That’s a step too far under the ground rules we have with the lockout.”
Like Florio, I disagree with Joe and don’t believe Brown was taking a “subtle jab” at Palmer. Far from it.
First of all, Brown is out of the old school and takes very few shots and even more rarely at players. And when he does, he ain’t subtle. But I’ve never heard him go after a player back when he was talking to the media. He went off on Carl Pickens after he underminded head coach Bruce Coslet, but that’s about it. And he still has high regard for Palmer despite this mess. So much so he wouldn’t take a shot at him publicly and probably not privately, either.
Two, we know Mike wants Carson back. Back in the Jan 24 Mobile Doctrine, he called him central to the team’s plans. Now, that may just be pie in the sky and Palmer has no intention of coming back, but Mike isn’t going to do anything to alienate him publicly.
And third, Brown is one of these guys who is a stickler for the rules. I legitimately think the answer came straight from the heart. The NFL isn’t exactly clear about what you can and can’t legally say about players during the lockout, so owners are literally treating each word as if each syllable is a booby trap.
Nah, it wasn’t a jab. With all due respect to Reedy, who does a hell of a job and grinds the beat like not many.
I Think I Believe Antwan Odom has paid the steepest price ever to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Month.
Look at what has happened to the guy since he had five sacks against the Packers on Sept 20, 2009 in Green Bay. After getting one sack in the next four games, he ripped up his Achilles to end his season. Then his next training camp was hobbled by a virus and sore knee. Then when the season got going, he broke his wrist and reaggravated the knee before he got suspended a month for violating the league’s drug policy despite his lawyer arguing Odom had merely taken one of his wife’s prescription weight-loss pills by accident. Then he ended the season IR with no sacks. Now in the middle of the night he lost his home in Mason, Ohio to a fire.
Thankfully, he and his family weren’t home and we’re thinking of him today. The guy is an immense talent who if he gets back to anywhere near that ’09 form, just think what they have with him, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson.
I Think I Believe the running backs, whoever they may be, are going to combine for something like 80 to 100 catches this season.
Jay Gruden’s West Coast scheme is perfect for backups Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard and by virtue of being The Bell Cow, Cedric Benson would probably grab 30 to 40 by himself. In his three seasons here, Benson’s high has been last season’s 28 catches, but they seemed more out of desperation and it didn’t look like the checkdowns were emphasized all that much. Benson may not be a scatback, but try tackling him in space when he’s got a running start. Remember late in the ’08 season when he burned the Redskins on a 79-yard screen that was the Bengals’ longest play of that season? And the clinching TD he caught against Carolina last year?
The Bengals haven’t always been infatuated with Scott’s attention to detail in the passing game, but if he’s heard about this playbook yet – and it’s anything like the usual West Coast – this thing is right down his alley out of the backfield. For whatever reason, he’s the most under-used guy on this roster. I’m not saying 15 to 20 touches a game, but how about between eight and 12? Or maybe even make him a bell cow for a couple of series like they were using him late in the year. In the coaches’ defense, he did get nicked up here and there and that cut down on his availability.
But they’ve got him for sure now with Benson and Leonard free agents.
I Think I Believe I see and hear more from former Bengals defensive tackle John Thornton than when he actually played. (And listen my children, Thornton was a very solid player up and down the line and a great locker room guy.)
He’s all over. He’s media. He’s working with draft prospects and players. He’s blogging and tweeting. He’s unstoppable. You can only hope to contain him.
On Tuesday, Thornton reported he’s at the University of Pittsburgh pro day watching one of his clients, wide receiver Jon Baldwin, and Gruden and Bengals receivers coach James Urban are also there. Also on display is running back Dion Lewis. As we’ve noted, NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan has mocked Baldwin to the Bengals at No. 35 in the second round. And at 6-5, he does have the size the Bengals love at wideout. He’s as tall as the late Chris Henry, but he’s about 25 pounds heavier and not as fast, but he can still run very well for a big guy.
As T.J. Houshmandzadeh would say, “Interesting…”
I Think I Believe I will wear my “I Believe” T-shirt under my Tony C. Red Sox jersey for the Flying Pig 10K.
Tags: Antwan Odom, Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard, Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Jon Baldwin, lockout, Mike Brown
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 23 Comments »
If March 4 comes and goes without a collective bargaining agreement, we’re going to see some strange things when the NFL wanders into the Land of the Lockout.
We already have.
How about this scene from a hotel lobby at the NFL scouting combine?
When a coach was asked how the lockout is going to impact his implementation of upgrades on his side of the ball, he pulled a page out of his notebook and read straight from the Talking Points Handbook:
“Our job is to have the team ready and that’s what we’re going to do within league rules and that’s what we are working towards. We will plan for all scenarios and be ready to go. We have plans in place and are ready to go no matter what.”
Or, how about this?
Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth going out to dinner with offensive line coach Paul Alexander knowing that could be their last supper for awhile. Once March 4 comes, players and coaches can’t talk if The Iron Curtain falls.
More lockout fallout:
Injured players can’t rehab with club personnel, playbooks and revisions can’t be sent to players, and teams can only add players through the draft.
For instance, the Bengals don’t truly know if their prime free agent, cornerback Johnathan Joseph, is going to be a free agent. If the lockout goes long enough, or somehow they extend the same system in which only six-year players are free agents, Joseph becomes a fifth-year restricted free agent.
Tags: lockout, lockout scenes at combine
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 5 Comments »