So there is not much good to mention when the Bengals are sitting at 1-8. So why not take a look back at one of the few high points for this franchise, the 1989 season. This video is something loads of NFL teams were doing in the 80’s, and our Bengals were no exception. So check out this video of the famous “Who Dey Rap” circa 1989…[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/9Eh5c8fE_kI” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]
On the national stage of Monday Night Football, the Cincinnati Bengals opened up the preseason by defeating the Favre-less Green Bay Packers 20-17 at vaunted Lambeau Field.
While the eyes of a nation were on newly coronated starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the eyes of Cincinnati Bengals fans were looking for signs of hope that 2008 would be a return to glory for the boys in stripes, counterbalancing the disappointing seasons that were 2006 and 2007.
While very little can be told by one preseason game, several positive aspects shine for Bengals fans. For starters, Chris Perry looked very good against Green Bay’s first and second defenses, recording over forty yards and making an impressive charge into the end zone for a touchdown. What Bengals fans may celebrate more than the performance and the numbers representing his play, however, may be the fact that Chris Perry logged a significant amount of playing time and did not get injured. He didn’t aggravate any old injuries and, if the remaining three games of the preseason go as smooth, looks to be ready to finally play football–a development Bengals Nation eagerly anticipates.
Newly acquired tight end Ben Utecht also looked very good in his Bengals preseason debut. Utecht provided the Bengals with another short route receiving option and also contributed by catching Carson Palmer’s first touchdown pass of 2008. His hands are very good, and he adds a dimension to the Bengals pass offense that has sorely lacked for years. Combined with a rejuvenated Chris Perry, the Bengals playbook should expand greatly from 2007 due to the increase in legitimate receivers.
The defense, while spotty on certain pass coverages and missing some key tackles, showed a form reminiscent of 2005 by turning up two key interceptions, two sacks on Aaron Rodgers and a fumble recovery that killed the Packers last chance to tie or win the game.
There are still many unknowns for the 2008 Cincinnati Bengals. How will Rudi Johnson perform upon his return? Who will prove to be the Bengals’ third receiver? Will three linebackers emerge as the clear starters to anchor the defensive line? Hopefully, as the preseason progresses, these questions will answer themselves to the good for Bengals fans. For now, the team has to take all of the positives and build on those.
By the first day of training camp, two interesting developments have already struck the Cincinnati Bengals.
First, the Bengals last week announced they were waiving 2007 second round draft pick running back Kenny Irons. Irons joined the team last season as the anticipated heir apparent to rugged, but aging, Rudi Johnson.
He was drafted full of pomp and circumstance. Johnson had struggled in 2006 and, as all running backs do, was aging quicker than others from the vaunted 2005 Bengals offense. Johnson’s weight loss seemed to work to his detriment as he attempted to shift from the bigger, pounding back he had been to a swifter, cutting back that could avoid the big hits.
The strategy did not appear to work.
As a result, Irons was drafted early to provide the Bengals with more running back options, given the brief, but injury-plagued, career of another noted running back draft choice, Chris Perry. Irons looked extremely impressive in training camp, then promptly blew out his knee in a pre-season game, in a scene reminiscent of another infamous Bengal running back draft choice, Ka-Jana Carter.
The team announcement of Irons’ release signaled a wave of panic to many Bengals’ faithful that will never forget the wasted opportunities that left with Carter’s knee injury. Yet another Bengals back, and draft pick, wasted.
Many, however, realized the roster move was just that–a roster move. Due to the complexities that are the National Football League’s roster rules, the Bengals had to waive Irons to keep him, as ironic as they may sound.
That doesn’t change the stark reality that Irons is likely not going to play a down for the Bengals in 2008.
Then, on the first day of training camp, the most touted free agent in Bengals’ history, defensive end Antwan Odom, left the field in a cart and boot. The first thought in the heads of many fans? That is never a good thing.
Particularly for the Bengals defense. The defensive struggles of the Bengals have been legendary since the end of the Super Bowl era Bengals in the late Eighties. The 2006 and 2007 seasons have been particularly disappointing to say the least.
Odom brought not only an aggressive style of play, but the first ray of hope to this defense since the drafting of Justin Smith, and history has not been kind to that legacy. Odom’s signing was the most prolific since the signing of big Sam Adams, another signing that proved a significant bust.
Word has it Odom sprained his foot, will miss the pre-season, but should–and that is the operative term–be ready for the beginning of the regular season.
Add to these events the constant uncertainty that has become Chad Johnson and the loss of Jeremi Johnson to the Battle of the Bulge, and one has to wonder: what else can happen this season.
Last season was supposed to be a rebound season from the 2006 season that saw the Bengals miss the playoffs by a missed extra point. Instead, Chris Henry missed half the season. Odell Thurman missed his second straight season. The defense, particularly the linebacker core, was devastated by injury.
Will 2008 be another long season for the Orange and Black?
If there were such a thing as karma, it would certainly follow the Bengals around. The team appears to react to every event to an extreme. When one bad thing happens to the team, the team allows it to snowball to a catastophe. When one good thing happens to the team, like 2005, the team can follow it to the playoffs.
How will the Bengals react to the issues that have already struck the team? Will they rebound in an uncharacteristic manner, or call it an early day and ride the slippery slope back to mediocrity?
Bengals Nation wants to know.
So what does a kicker with millions of dollars and living in Cincinnati do with all his bank? Well, I just ran into this video from the good folks at Cincinnati.com covering Bengals kicker Shayne Graham and his new downtown condo and I think it answers that question. A bit of a “Cribs” vibe for this video, which shows snaps of Grahams new decked out place along with his Lamborghini (and his TV in the garage).
I guess he had to spend those “kicker million” on something right? With a whip like that, I am betting Shayne hits up the local “scene” from time to time, wouldn’t you say?
Who says kickers can’t be stylish?
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Welcome in as I do my best to look at each of the Bengals draft picks in separate posts. The first of course, is the Bengals first round choice, Keith Rivers from USC. While I, and many others would have loved to have his teamate Sedrick Ellis, he went two choices earlier to New Orleans.
Positives – Rivers is an athletic guy, strong with zero character issues. With the retirement of David Pollack and the questionable status of Odell Thurman (re-instated but probably rusty, at least) this was the best pick they could have made at this spot. Also flexible enough to play any of the three linebacker positions. Rivers will be tutored by guys like Dhani Jones and become a solid starter on this team, hopefully for years to come.
Negatives – Not really ever known as a “game-changer” in the mold of previous USC and #55 alum Junior Seau. Seems to be more of a hard working, stuff that does not always show up on the statsheet kinda guy. I know, thats not really a negative, but this defense needs some explosiveness doesn’t it?
Overall Grade – B+ – Maybe it is the disappointment of not getting Ellis, or just the envy of the Chiefs for getting Dorsey, but this pick does not blow me out of the water. Would I have done anything different? No. Could he be a mainstay on this defense for years? Yes. I am just hoping for more like Seau and less like Landon Johnson.
Enjoy this fun video a Trojan fan put together showcasing some of Rivers highlights…
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1 Chris Perry RB Michigan 26 – There were a few raised eyebrows when this pick went down, and in retrospect, Steven Jackson, taken two picks before Perry, was the better back. Perry has been hyped at times as a perfect change of pace back with great pass catching skills. Too bad he can never stay healthy enough to display those. Grade = C+
2a Keiwan Ratliff CB Florida 49*** – I think many felt this was a bit of a reach even in the 2nd round. But the Bengals secondary was in dire need of some new blood, and Ratliff seemed as good as any that were available. Ratliff hung on with the team longer than I thought he would though, serving mostly as a Nickle back for years, finally was cut before the 2007 season. Grade = D
2b Madieu Williams S Maryland 56*** – If you remember, the Bengals had this 2nd choice in round 2 thanks to their deal with the Pats for Corey Dillon. When they took Madieu, I was pretty happy with the pick, and he was impressive as a rookie. Injuries marred his season in 2005 and again last year, but he was an absolute stud in 2006(90 tackles, 13 pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions.). He signed this offseason with Minnesota, and if healthy could easily return to 06′ form for a good Vikes Defense. Grade = B+
3a Caleb Miller LB Arkansas 80 – I still don’t think there was any reason to get Miller at this point. While he has stuck with the team and even contributed at times, he has always been very undersized as a LB. At the time I thought he was a career special teamer but he has even started for Cincinnati at times, mostly by default. Grade = C-
3b Landon Johnson LB Purdue 96*** – Not many LB’s have been as consistent as Landon was during his years here in Cincinnati. He always had a knack for the ball and as a result recorded over 100 tackles in each of the last two years. Johnson was the most consistent performer on bad defenses, and signed a free agent deal with Carolina this past offseason. We will be able to see him in a different light this year on a more talented D and see if he stands out the way he did here in Cincy. Grade = B+
4a Matthias Askew DT Michigan St. 114*** – This seemed like a steal at the time, as Askew was projected as a possible first rounder had he stayed in school at Michigan St. for his senior year. He was mostly dissapointing though as a Bengals, and was cut in 2006 after resisting arrest. Askew was signed by the Redskins in 2007, but was cut not long after and spent last year out of football. Grade= D
Here we go, you already knew the teams, now you get the dates and times for the coming season from our Cincinnati Bengals. Some premature thoughts are that the bye is later in the schedule that usual, which is good. Also I see quite a few playoff teams or teams that narrowly missed the playoffs last year, not an easy schedule by any stretch.
So, although it is way too early, here are my predictions for these games, which at this point should be taken with a grain of salt, of course…..
Sun. Sept. 7, at Baltimore, 1 p.m. (W)
Sun. Sept. 14, TENNESSEE, 1 p.m. (W)
Sun. Sept. 21, at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m. (L)
Sun. Sept. 28, CLEVELAND, 1 p.m. (W)
Sun. Oct. 5, at Dallas, 4:15 p.m. (L)
Sun. Oct. 12, at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. (L)
Sun. Oct. 19, PITTSBURGH, 1 p.m. (L)
Sun. Oct. 26, (BYE)
Sun. Nov. 2, JACKSONVILLE, 1 p.m. (L)
Sun. Nov. 9, at Houston, 1 p.m. (W)
Sun. Nov. 16, PHILADELPHIA, 1 p.m. (L)
Thurs. Nov. 20, at Pittsburgh, 8:15 p.m. (L)
Sun. Nov. 30, BALTIMORE, 1 p.m. (W)
Sun. Dec. 7, at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. (L)
Sun. Dec. 14, WASHINGTON, 1 p.m. (W)
Sun. Dec. 21, at Cleveland, 1 p.m. (L)
Sun. Dec. 28, KANSAS CITY, 1 p.m. (W)
Oops, it’s 7-9 again? Well, I think it is possible. I know there is a swing of 2 games I am feeling here, hopefully on the up-tick, but 7-9 would not surprise anyone I don’t think. Also, no primetime games this year for Cincinnati, also not a surprise.
Aug. 11 (Monday Night) @ Green Bay Packers8 p.m.
Aug. 17 (Sunday) home vs. Detroit Lions 7:35 p.m.
Aug. 23 (Saturday) New Orleans 7:35 p.m.
Aug. 28 (Thursday) @ Indianapolis 7 p.m.
With the 2008 NFL draft approaching, many mock drafters have already decided where they think all the 1st round hopefuls will go, but as we all know, it always changes. I was however intrigued to see this quote from Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals beat writer Mark Curnutte concerning Sedrick Ellis.
Many mock drafts have Ellis, the talented Southern Cal defensive tackle, falling to the Bengals with the ninth overall pick. The Bengals, including defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, were at the Southern Cal pro day workouts last week, according to USA Today. An astounding 25 NFL prospects worked out. Linebacker Keith Rivers stole the show, according to the paper.
But Ellis outdid his workout performance at the NFL scouting combine in February. He was 11 pounds lighter, down to 297 pounds.
The Bengals and Saints, who pick at No. 10, already have arranged for Ellis to make pre-draft visits for a closer medical look.
This of course, would be brilliant. Ellis was a monster at USC, (58 tackles and 8.5 sacks as a senior) and we all know how much the Bengals need help on their DL. But with the luck the Bengals typically have, I say he gets picked off right before our choice.
With the 2008 NFL Draft coming up, I thought it might be fun to look back at all the draft classes in the Marvin Lewis era and grade them, along with some commentary on each player chosen by Cincinnati. First up is the first class Lewis drafted, the 2003 group. Have a look at the analysis below.
1 Carson Palmer QB Southern California 1 – The first pick in the Marvin Lewis era was one of the more obvious choices, still, #1 does not always work out, and we as Bengal fans know that very well. Palmer arguably has been great thus far and has a ceiling that has not yet been reached. Overall this obvious choice was a great one for the franchise.
2 Eric Steinbach G Iowa 33 – Stienbach was one of the anchors of the Bengals line for years and although he left via free agency before the 2007 season, this was a perfect fit. The only issue being that he is gone honestly, and the Bengals instead chose to re-sign aging Willie Anderson rather than get Steinbach. He went to the Pro Bowl last season as a Brown.
3 Kelley Washington WR Tennessee 65 – Washington came out as a fairly higly touted WR from UT. He was drafted to compliment Chad Johnson, who was beginning to emerge at the time. It turned out though, that TJ was the compliment to Chad and Washington not much more than a role player. Last season he was a Patriot and was mostly used on special teams. Not a great pick overall for the Bengals, but still played a role while he was here.
4a Dennis Weathersby CB Oregon St. 98 – Horrible luck does not begin to describe Weathersby. He was projected to be a first or second round pick during the combines, only to be shot weeks before the draft after being mistaken as a gang member. The Bengals probably thought they were getting a steal with this pick getting him in the 4th, but the big “what if” was whether or not he would return healthy or not. He only played 4 games once healthy in his rookie season before he got into a car accident that put him in a coma in April of 2004. He did recover, but has never and will never play football again. The Bengals cut him in 2005.
4b Jeremi Johnson FB Western Kentucky 118 – The Bengals really made a nice choice here in our opinion. Coming from Western Kentucky, he was a bit of a hometown choice and has been one of the more underrated FB in the NFL since he got drafted in our opinion. Johnson has led the way for some great seasons from Rudi Johnson and is still a Bengal constant 5 years later.
5 Khalid Abdullah LB Mars Hill 136 – Spent limited time on the team in 2003, totaling 10 career tackles, Abdullah later went on to play for the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. Nothing to see here.
6 Langston Moore DT South Carolina 174 – Contributed a bit for the Bengals in 2004, with 31 tackles and a sack. They parted ways with him the next season, and he has spent time with Arizona and is currently a Detroit Lion. A career backup.
7a Scott Kooistra T North Carolina St. 215 – Another career backup, but a solid contributor off the bench and is one of only a few still on the Bengals roster from this draft. You would have to say this was a good pick for as late as they got him, and although not a great player, he has exceeded expectations relative to his round and pick. Kooistra was tendered a 3 year deal with the Bengals in 2007 keeping him in Cincinnati through the 2009 season.
7b Elton Patterson DE Central Florida 259 – Not much to say here either. Patterson spent some time with the Bengals in 2004, and with Jacksonville since, but another pick that means nothing.
So how would you grade this draft 5 years later? I would give it a solid B myself, but without the no brainer choice of Palmer, I think it drops off to a C-. The only real quality still on the roster contributing is Johnson, even though they got some good years out of Stienbach. What are your thoughts?