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According to his pre-draft scouting report AJ MCCooter responds very well to pier pressure. Myself, I can't wait to see McCooter get seriously injured, perhaps fatally, so Wenning can get a chance. Am I doing this right?
I'm just happy the Josh Johnson experiment is over. Beyond that, no, there's no fucking way McCooter is ready to push Dalton. Every sideline out McCarron has thrown has looked like a moon ball, and I'm guessing he was well on his way to being sacked a half dozen times in the last game.
Brady won but I ain't mad. For months he got killed in the court of public opinion with numerous poll results showing nearly 80% believing he cheated. That'll do. The self inflicted wounds of Goodell are just so much gravy.
Greg Little - I'm no fan, and I may never stop having trust issues, but he's easily earned #4 job. I just hope he keeps his focus after making the team. Russell Bodine - Its going to suck if the Bengals offense finally has every weapon it needs, but suddenly can't get the center/QB exchange right. Bengals had a full season to determine whether Bodine was their backup of the future or a potential starter. So why are we talking about this now? Chris Carter - The last best hope for fans like me who wondered if the Bengals did enough this offseason to improve their pass rush. Project X in a smaller package and offered at bargain bin prices. Whats not to like? Bengals love to experiment with this type of player, but when push comes to shove they never commit. Carter might be good enough to change that. The way he beats blockers doesn't look like a fluky preseason sort of thing. Looks like leverage, technique, and more leverage. Jake Fisher - Right now he looks like the guy who faced Joey Bosa. I was hoping for the guy who made Mario Edwards quit a few weeks earlier. Obviously missing practice has hurt his progress, but he's still got a shot at flipping the script in the last preseason game. I think he'll be much improved. AJ McCarron - He's played so well I just used his real name. Margus Hunt - He still plays too robotic, but I thought he flashed several times against the Bucs and then again against the Bears. Nothing really worth noting, but perhaps it will be enough for a team that wants a reason to keep him.
Bernard was drafted to be an air-back and a compliment to a bell cow type RB. I think he's filled that role nicely. The Bengals always bang the drum about running the ball more often, but IMHO they'd get more bang for the buck by increasing the passes thrown to RBs in the checkdown passing game. Based upon their early work in the televised scrimmages and mock game this may be the year they're serious about it. Also encouraging is Rex Burkheads recent contributions from the slot, a role Gio can also play. Last, it's pretty difficult to guess what happens when the games count, but so far I've seen far fewer plays featuring a TE lined up in the backfield. Even Eifert seems to be lining up more often on the LOS.
Dez and Demarius signed 11th hour deals that already look like the floor, not the ceiling. Falcons and Julio weren't under the same pressure, yet because the team wanted to avoid its own 11th hour negotiations the player got a crazy amount of guaranteed money. AJ is going to want even more. He's proven himself to be more productive, less injury prone, and better overall. As a result Bengals have to decide now, before Green has done anything in the playoffs, if Green has anything left to prove before they let him redefine the price of a franchise WR.
Big picture stuff? I think the key to the Bengals season is getting off to a fast start, something Marvin Lewis teams have done in the past. The schedule is tough and whatever team gets off to the hottest start will put enormous pressure on its rivals to catch up. Bengals need to be that team. Ravens reloading is a familiar storyline, but I think they lost more than they gained. Not saying they'll fall, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them slip. Stealers have made deep changes on defense and will likely suffer growing pains even if they get it right. And there's no guarantee they will. On the defensive line they've switched from a 1-gap to 2-gap scheme. At LB they now have to pay premium 1st round prices to man positions that in the past were filled with mid round discoveries. And they're already a bit thin in the secondary. There's plenty of talent to mold but how quickly does it take shape? I used to joke about the Browns being two years away from being two years away. Now I joke about them being two years away for two years in a row. That's progress. Team owner Hillbilly Haslam runs his team as if it were a truck stop, replacing coaches and front office staff so often it's as if they were minimum wage workers. Current HC Pettine is slowly building the foundation of a good team but he lacks a QB and by the time he finds one Hillbilly Haslem may be tempted to blow shit up again. That said, and on a more positive note, the Browns new practice squad jerseys look so good the team announced they'll wear them in actual games. That'll probably be enough for the fans in Cleveland.
IMHO Still was awful against the Giants, much improved against Tampa, and active and disruptive against the Bears. Because other players have flashed I'm not sure if he did enough but at least he's made the roster fight interesting this year, something he couldn't manage against the likes of Christo Bilukidi last year.