Arkansas Bengal

BENGALS FANATIC
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1,096 The F'n Man!

About Arkansas Bengal

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  • Birthday 08/12/1954

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    Little Rock, AR

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  1. Stereotypes are stereotypes whether they're based on skin color, regional accent, eye shape, or attire. And I find it offensive that I get called a 'closet racist' for pointing out the obvious. I guess you think that only WHITE PEOPLE can be racist. I think I need a break from this site for a while. Someone else can take over gameday thread and news articles.
  2. Sure it's ok to poke fun at a southern white guy with your redneck jokes...what if it was a BLACK quarterback? Would you be ok with "He should probably wipe the KFC fried chicken grease off his hands & go see his parole officer before the game"? I suspect the answer would be HELL NO!
  3. OK, you don't like McCarren...we get it. But do you have to hijack every goddam thread with your fucking hillbilly references? Jesus Christ, he's our fucking quarterback for the foreseeable future and is the only hope we have end a 25 year curse. Your bullshit attempt at redneck humor is not funny, so please knock it off.
  4. For starters, Boomer likes the back-up planPosted 1 hour ago Geoff Hobson Editor Bengals.com Boomer Esiason's advice to AJ McCarron: "Close your eyes, envision you doing it and getting it done and know that this is something you can easily do and don’t get caught up in the emotion of it.” Norman Julius Esiason predicts it. After Saturday night’s Wild Card Game (8:15-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) against the Stealers at Paul Brown Stadium, he will no longer be the last Bengals quarterback to win a post-season game. He says that honor, for at least a week, is going to belong to Raymond Anthony McCarron Jr. “Don’t you love his attitude about it?” Boomer Esiason asks of AJ McCarron’s play-off aplomb. “He seems like he’s a really good kid. It sounds like he’s really got his crap together. I don’t expect him to go out and throw for 350 yards. “They’ve got more than enough players,” Esiason says. “They’ve got one of the best rosters in football. Act like it. They should act like they should expect to win this game. Especially with a beat-up Stealers team coming in that has major holes.” The Bengals have spent the week telling everyone they’re not living in the past and you have to believe them since roughly a third of them weren’t alive on Jan. 6, 1991 when Esiason engineered a 41-14 victory over Houston at old Riverfront Stadium in an AFC Wild Card Game between division rivals. Esiason is on board with the kids. He has virtually no recollection of the game. Told he threw the ball in the stands after a 10-yard touchdown run, Esiason didn’t blink. “Somebody has to have the legs,” he says. “Let it go, will you? You guys have been to the playoffs five straight years.” Esiason is an NFL lifer. He played in the game for 14 years and for longer than that now he has been one of the most eloquent voices about the best and worst of the league in the CBS-TV studio and in the radio booth. The funny thing about pro football, he says, is there are always equalizers out there and so it is with this latest passion play known as Bengals-Stealers and that is why he is picking the Bengals even though McCarron’s three NFL starts are matched against Stealers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s three Super Bowl starts. “There’s a lot not going the Stealers’ way right now,” Esiason says. “This is not a top ten or top five defense. They can be thrown on. They can be run on. And they certainly aren’t the running team they have been before. But saying all that, they have one of the great quarterback-wide receiver tandems that you’ve ever seen. If it is inclement weather, that benefits the Bengals.” One of the equalizers. Mid-40s and rain cushioning the inexperience and the lethal play-making of Big Ben and his X-Box receivers, Esiason says. “The Stealers have to be thinking about this,” he says. “This is the sixth straight backup quarterback they’ve played. Is that how they got into the playoffs?” Ryan Mallett hit them up for 9 of 18 on third down. Brock Osweiler threw for three TDs and nearly 300 yards against them before he got benched. McCarron went 66 yards to A.J. Green for the first TD pass of his career. And back before it all went to mush, Johnny Manziel went off for 372 yards and managed to score nine points. “I think AJ is going to be OK. From what I’ve seen the past few games, he’s not overwhelmed by it,” Esiason says. “I think he’s catching the Stealers at the right time. That’s not a great defense by any stretch of the imagination. The only way I could see him struggling is if there are problems with trying to pick up blitzes and the protection breaks down and it kind of snow balls on him.” But Esiason says there is a great equalizer to having a second-year back-up quarterback with all of 92 career passes. “The talent. It’s why everyone wants to hire Duke Tobin,” Esiason says of the Bengals director of player personnel that signed on this week to stay longer in Cincinnati despite feelers from at least two teams. “You see it every day. Same guys. Same guys practicing against each. But the national perspective is they have one of the league’s best rosters,” Esiason says. “I don’t think (Stealers running back) DeAngelo Williams (ankle) is going to make it. So you have to make them one dimensional. Put it on Ben, Antonio Brown, (tight end) Heath Miller. The defense has to play like it did in Denver. Flying all over the field. (Michael) Johnson, (Carlos) Dunlap, (Geno) Atkins. This is the week they wear the hat. They have to dominate. They’ve got to hold them to around 20-23 points. That means you can win, 24-20, 23-20, something like that. But anything more than 24 I think AJ is going to have a tough time matching that production.” Esiason says his receivers have to show their talent. He understands about not putting the kid in a bad situation so he throws the killing turnover. “But those guys like A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones have to catch the ball for him,” Esiason says. The only thing Esiason can remember from that 1990 AFC Wild Card Game is, of all things, NBC announcer O.J. Simpson. Simpson did the on-field interview after it was over and four years later at the height of his murder trial, Esiason’s sister Robin called her brother to let him know his interview had become a part of the evidence. While interviewing Esiason, Simpson apparently wore a pair of gloves and shoes that were of particular interest. Then they went to Los Angeles the next week and nearly snuck into the AFC title game before losing 20-10 in the fourth quarter to the Raiders. What Esiason remembers is Raiders running back Bo Jackson getting tackled right in front of him by Bengals linebacker Kevin Walker and no one realizing at the time that they had just seen Jackson carry the ball for the last time. Jackson was so strong that the routine tackle popped his hip out of place. The Curse of Bo? The Bengals haven’t won a play-off game since knocking out one of the game’s great running backs. In one Wild Card Game they lost their quarterback on the second play and it looks like they’re not going to have him at all in another one. “No,’ Esiason said. “What’s wrong with you? “They’ve been to the playoffs five straight years,” he says and he says this time they’ll win with talent trumping an injury. “It’s funny how the NFL always seems to even itself in some way, shape, or form.” McCarron, he says, can get it done and he gives his fellow Bengals quarterback some parting advice. “AJ has been through the wars at Alabama. He had a great coach. He knows what it takes to win games,” Esiason says. “My hopes for him would be just close your eyes, envision you doing it and getting it done and know that this is something you can easily do and don’t get caught up in the emotion of it.” http://www.bengals.com/news/article-1/For-starters-Boomer-likes-the-back-up-plan/a682abe8-acd9-4a13-8878-f797c6b10fbd
  5. Stealers at Bengals Wildcard PreviewPosted 19 minutes ago Geoff Hobson Editor Bengals.com TIME: 8:15 p.m. Saturday, AFC Wild Card Game presented by Fifth Third Bank PLACE: Paul Brown Stadium (synthetic) LOCAL RADIO: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst) led by “triple cast,” Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530) and WEBN-FM (102.7) on the 41-station Bengals radio network. NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One Sports: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst), Laura Okim (sideline). TV: CBS broadcast crew of Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Phil Simms (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (sideline) on Channel 12 in Cincinnati, Channel 7 in Dayton, Ohio, and Channel 27 in Lexington, KY. INJURIES CIN: OUT: Backup DT Brandon Thompson (knee). There are no classifications as of Thursday. Starting QB Andy Dalton (thumb) and starting FB Ryan Hewitt (knee) haven’t practiced this week and look to be out. Slot CB Leon Hall (concussion/back), who missed about half of Sunday’s game, practiced full Wednesday and Thursday. PIT: There are no classifications as of Thursday. Starting RB DeAngelo Willams (ankle) didn’t practice Wedesday and Thursday and appears doubtful. » Complete Injury Report THE SERIES The 10-6 Stealers lead the 12-4 Bengals, 57-35; 28-19 in Cincinnati, 14-3 at PBS NOTEWORTHY »» With a victory the third-seeded Bengals move into a AFC Division game against the second-seeded Patriots at Foxboro, Mass., 4:35 p.m. Saturday. »» This Saturday’s game comes 10 years and a day after the Stealers beat the Bengals in an AFC Wild Card Game at PBS, 31-17. The Bengals lost QB Carson Palmer on his first post-season pass when Stealers defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen and former Bengal hit Palmer in the knee as he threw a 66-yard pass and tore his ACL. »» The Bengals have no players on their roster from that game, but most of the coaching staff was here: head coach Marvin Lewis, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson (then the receivers coach), defensive coordinator Paul Guenther (then a defensive staff assistant), special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, assistant head coach/ offensive line Paul Alexander, quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, defensive line coach Jay Hayes, tight ends coach Jon Hayes, strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton. »» The Stealers have four players left from that team: QB Ben Roethlisberger, TE Heath Miller, OLB James Harrison and LS Greg Warren. »» The Bengals seek their first post-season victory since Jan. 6, 1991, 41-14, over the Houston Oilers at Riverfront Stadium. They built a 34-0 lead when three running backs and QB Boomer Esiason each scored TDs (including an Ickey Woods Shuffle) as the Bengals did a number on Oilers backup QB Cody Carlson. Two weeks before in Riverfront, Hall-of-Famer Warren Moon broke his hand on rookie OLB James Francis’ helmet »» The Stealers seek their first play-off victory since the 2010 AFC title game at home, a 24-19 victory over the Jets that put them in a Super Bowl they lost to Green Bay. »» For the fourth time since 2005, the Bengals host a Wild Card Game and they start a third different QB in AJ McCarron. Palmer started in ’05 and ’09 vs. the Jets and Dalton started in ’13 vs. the Chargers. »» McCarron is trying to become the third Bengals QB to post a play-off victory along with Esiason (1988-90) and Ken Anderson (1981). »» That win over the Bengals ten years ago is the Stealers’ last Wild Card win. They lost to Jacksonville at home after the ’07 season and to the Ravens last year at home. After the 2011 season they were beaten in Denver by backup QB Tim Tebow. »» The Bengals have beaten the Stealers three times at PBS since it opened in 2000 with the winning QBs Jon Kitna (2001), Palmer (2009) and Dalton (2013) NFL RANKINGS CIN: 7th in scoring, 15th in offense (13th rushing, 15th passing); 2nd in scoring defense, 11th in defense (7th rushing, 20th passing), 3rd in turnover margin at plus-11. PIT: T-4th in scoring, 3rd in offense (16th rushing, 3rd passing); 11th in scoring defense, 21st in defense (5th rushing, 30th passing), 16th in turnover margin at plus-2. COACHES CIN: Marvin Lewis 112-100-2 in 13th season, 0-6 in postseason, 8-19 vs. Stealers. PIT: Mike Tomlin 96-56 in eighth season, 5-4 in postseason, 13-5 vs. Bengals and Lewis. PHILIP RIVERS WEATHER UPDATE The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for mostly cloudy skies and a kick-off temperature of about 45 degrees dropping to 42 by the end of the game with a 50 percent chance of rain and potential downpours at times. Winds out of the southeast at 10 to 15 miles per hour. NUMBERS GAME .606 _ Bengals regular-season winning percentage at PBS under Lewis .542 _ Stealers regular-season road percentage under Tomlin 7-2_ Tomlin’s record at PBS .650 _ Bengals’ regular-season winning percentage since 2011 .613 _ Stealers’ regular-season winning percentage since 2011 5 _ Play-off berths for Bengals since 2011 3 _ Play-off berths for Stealers since 2011 0-4 _ Play-off record for Bengals since 2011 0-2 _ Play-off record for Stealers since 2011 57-6 _ Bengals outscored in second half of play-off games since 2011 59-37 _ Stealers outscored Bengals in second half of their last four games 200-169 _ Bengals edge in second half this season 3 _ NFL starts for Bengals QB AJ McCarron (2-1) 3 _ Super Bowl starts for Stealers QB Ben Roethlisberger (2-1) 92 _ McCarron’s career NFL passes 84 _ Roethlisberger’s passes vs. Bengals this season 2 _ McCarron’s career interceptions 6 _ Bengals S Reggie Nelson’s career interceptions of Roethlisberger 6 _ TD passes allowed by Bengals at PBS this season 1,834 _ Receiving yards for Stealers Pro Bowl WR Antonio Brown this season, fourth most of all-time 1,912 _ Receiving yards combined for Bengals Pro Bowl WR A.J. Green and Pro Bowl TE Tyler Eifert 21 _Combined TDs for Stealers WRs Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton 23 _ Combined TDs for Green and Eifert http://www.bengals.com/news/article-1/Stealers-at-Bengals-Wildcard-Preview/faf1bf15-7f22-4792-9d0b-5ff4c6895faf
  6. Bengals leaning on defense in playoffs vs dangerous StealersBy JOE KAY (AP Sports Writer) 36 minutes ago AP - Sports CINCINNATI (AP) -- An inexperienced quarterback's biggest ally is a stingy defense. The Bengals know it. AJ McCarron will make only his fourth career start on Saturday night when the AFC North champions host the Pittsburgh Stealers. No quarterback with so little experience has won an NFL playoff game since the 1979 season, when Gifford Nielsen led the Houston Oilers over the Chargers. The subtext to that one: Houston's defense picked off Dan Fouts five times to set up the win. The Bengals (12-4) would like to do something similar to ease the pressure on McCarron. Cincinnati set a club record for fewest points allowed and led the AFC. Now it's time to get really stingy. ''We just have to shorten the field and try to get some turnovers so we can put our offense in good positions to score points,'' defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. The Bengals gave up a lot of yards and big plays this season, but were tough near the end zone. Cincinnati was 11th in yards allowed, but gave up only 279 points, second-fewest in the NFL. Seattle allowed 277. In their two games against the Stealers (10-6), the Bengals limited Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. The Bengals picked off Roethlisberger three times during a 16-10 win in Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, Big Ben's first game back from a knee injury. Brown, who set club records with 136 catches for 1,834 yards during the season, was limited to six catches for 47 yards. View gallery FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 file photo, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in the s …Brown had seven catches for 87 yards in the Stealers' 33-20 win at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 13, when Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton broke his passing thumb. McCarron replaced him in the first half and threw one interception that was returned for a touchdown and another that set up a touchdown. The Bengals have contained Brown by disrupting his routes as he leaves the line, preventing him from turning a well-timed catch into a big play. ''It isn't about the schemes,'' cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. ''It's about going out there and playing with the bigger heart. You know he has a great heart. He's a great competitor. We have to go out there and compete better than him.'' Cincinnati's defense can get pressure on Roethlisberger from up the middle or around the corners. End Carlos Dunlap had a career-high 13 1/2 sacks, while tackle Geno Atkins had 11. Safety Reggie Nelson tied for the league lead with eight interceptions - he's had six in his past seven games against Roethlisberger. The Bengals have handled Pittsburgh's third-ranked offense by limiting the big plays. Roethlisberger's longest completion in the first game went for only 25 yards. In the second game, it was 31. ''That's the game,'' Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph said. ''It won't come down to whether we can we force four, five turnovers. It's going to come down to not giving up big plays. Without big plays, you keep the scoring down.'' Also, keeping the penalties down, too. Middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict lost his cool during the game on Dec. 13, getting involved in a pregame altercation with Stealers players at midfield. Also, he was flagged and fined $69,454 by the league for roughing the passer, grabbing the facemask and unnecessary roughness during the game. Burfict is finally in form after missing the first six games while recovering from knee surgery. He had a season-high 12 tackles and a game-turning interception during a 24-16 win over the Ravens last Sunday. ''I mean, he's the man,'' linebacker Rey Maualuga said. ''He's the spark of this defense. He gets things going. You see No. 55 running around all over the field, making plays. By his presence alone, there's a sense of being at ease, knowing that no one has anything to worry about.'' Notes: Dalton had a wrap on his right hand Thursday and was held out of practice again. He was hoping to be active as a backup for the playoff game, but the Bengals backed him off his workouts after only one day this week, an indication he's not even close to being ready. Keith Wenning, who was promoted from the practice squad Dec. 16, is McCarron's backup. WR Mohamed Sanu has taken snaps in wildcat formations and is the emergency QB. ... CB Leon Hall had a second full practice on Thursday. He was evaluated for a concussion and sore back after Sunday's game. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/bengals-leaning-defense-playoffs-vs-dangerous-Stealers-204338663--nfl.html
  7. I think Pacman definitely has the passion of Burfict. If you don't believe me, ask Amari Cooper... Hopefully he can have some good punt returns and a pick 6 this game. We really missed when we played those bastards in December.
  8. And if he does play, I think you can count on Burfict to put some hot sauce on that ankle...
  9. Coley Harvey ‏@ColeyHarvey 2m2 minutes ago #Bengals' Thursday injury report same as Wednesday's: Andy Dalton, Ryan Hewitt didn't practice. Leon Hall full go
  10. Jeremy FUCKFACE Fowler ESPN Staff Writer DeAngelo Williams is making progress. He's walking without a limp on Thursday. Working to get right for Saturday night in Cincinnati.
  11. Report: Eagles interested in GuentherAccording to an NFL Media report, the Eagles have requested an interview with Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther for their head-coaching position. Guenther will reportedly interview with the Browns on Sunday.
  12. NFL Playoff Preview: Can Bengals snap playoff streak vs. Stealers?By Frank Schwab 1 hour ago Shutdown Corner Pittsburgh Stealers (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS Stealers AT A GLANCE How they got here: The Stealers had an unusual year. They didn't have Le'Veon Bell or Martavis Bryant to start the season because of suspensions and started 2-2. In Week 3, Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury. When he came back for a Week 8 game against the Bengals, Bell suffered a season-ending knee injury. So the entire Stealers offense was only on the same field for less than a half this year. But the offense has been explosive with Roethlisberger healthy. Starting in Week 9, the Stealers scored at least 30 points in six straight games. Then came a stunning loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, only to have the New York Jets lose in Week 17, opening the door for the Stealers to get in the playoffs. [] Key player: It's DeAngelo Williams, or perhaps Fitzgerald Toussaint, his backup. Williams got out of a walking boot on Wednesday but didn't practice, as he tries to heal from a right foot injury suffered last week. Toussaint didn't exactly impress last week, carrying 12 times for 24 yards. If Williams is ineffective or inactive and Toussaint plays for him, the Stealers have to be concerned about being one-dimensional without the threat of a run game. Pass protection, especially if Toussaint plays, is a big issue as well. Why they’ll win: When the Stealers are on, 30 points seems to be their floor. Antonio Brown is amazing, Roethlisberger is playing great football and the Stealers have great weapons aside from Brown. If the Stealers can score 30, they'd probably feel good about their chances of beating an AJ McCarron-led Bengals team. Why they’ll lose: The last two weeks have been strange. The Stealers looked terrible against Baltimore, and even the Browns with Austin Davis at quarterback were within a score in the fourth quarter last week. Have they lost a little steam late in the season? The Stealers' biggest problem overall is on defense, where they give up too many yards in the passing game (though, the defense also had 17 interceptions, which helps). Also, if Williams can't play or isn't his usual self, the offense might not be able to just outscore the Bengals. Keep in mind: Even in the Stealers' 33-20 win at Cincinnati last month, the game in which Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton broke his thumb in the first quarter, Pittsburgh was out-gained by the Bengals 385-354 and was helped tremendously by a pick-six from cornerback William Gay off McCarron. The game script changed when the Stealers took an early lead, leading to some meaningless yards from the Bengals, but even in tough circumstances the Bengals were far from dominated in that game. BENGALS AT A GLANCE How they got here: The Bengals had a fine season, but the Dalton injury changes their entire outlook. Dalton was an MVP candidate when he broke his thumb. McCarron has had some nice moments, but he isn't playing to the same level Dalton was, nor did anyone expect him to do that. It seems incredibly unlikely Dalton plays this week, so it'll be on McCarron to play well. Fortunately, the Bengals have some great talent around the quarterback position. The roster is stacked from top to bottom. Had Dalton stayed healthy, the Bengals might be the favorite to win the AFC. Key player: No need to get cute here, everyone knows that it's McCarron. McCarron really hasn't been bad, with a 97.1 rating. He hasn't thrown an interception in three starts, though he did lose a costly fumble in overtime at Denver. He has looked very confident and he won't be scared by starting a playoff game, not after the big games he started at the University of Alabama. He'll need to make a few plays, but the Bengals don't need him to carry the offense. He just needs to have a solid, mistake-free night. Why they’ll win: The Bengals defense can match up with the Stealers. They allowed a 79 passer rating, fifth best in the NFL. The Bengals got 21 interceptions and allowed just 18 touchdowns. Between Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, Cincinnati can rush the quarterback very well too. Roethlisberger threw just one touchdown in 84 attempts against Cincinnati, with four interceptions. He didn't throw for 300 yards in either game. The Bengals aren't going to shut out the Stealers or anything, but they should feel fairly good about at least limiting Roethlisberger and his crew. Why they’ll lose: Because that's what Marvin Lewis and the Bengals do in the playoffs? If the Bengals go one-and-done again, the criticism and jokes won't be fair. This is a team that caught a terrible break with Dalton's injury. But facts are facts, and Lewis is 0-6 in the playoffs. If Lewis loses, he'll break a tie with Jim Mora for most consecutive playoff losses without a win to start a career. The players and coaches are human, and it will be impossible for them to not have thoughts of their past playoff failures creep into their minds if they fall behind early. Keep in mind: The Bengals have two good backs in Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill, but the running game wasn't that great this season. They had just five 20-yard runs (second lowest in the NFL), no 40-yard runs and their 3.9-yard average was tied for 21st in the NFL. Keep a close eye on their running game early on; the Bengals getting something positive going on the ground might be the difference between them winning and losing. OUTLOOK The reason the Stealers are favored is that folks see the explosive Pittsburgh offense and the Bengals being led by their backup quarterback. While that might play out, and the Bengals simply can't keep up the scoring with the Stealers, it ignores that the Bengals are a really good team from top to bottom and will be at home. However, there is the playoff history for the Bengals, which we all know isn't good. If you're a Bengals optimist, you hope that hearing over and over about playoff failures might give Cincinnati a large chip on their shoulder heading into this game. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/nfl-playoff-preview--can-bengals-snap-playoff-streak-vs--Stealers-171200249.html
  13. Tragedy to triumph: AJ McCarron's 25 years shaped by series of special moments12:46 PM ETColey HarveyESPN Staff Writer CINCINNATI -- It was a moment just like any other. AJ McCarron's dad and a friend had just purchased a pair of new WaveRunners. Anxious to take theirs out for a spin one hot August Sunday in their native Mobile, Alabama, Tony McCarron, his 5-year-old son AJ and one of AJ's cousins dropped the watercraft into nearby Dog River, a Mobile Bay estuary that features a series of sharp turns and low-built piers, and jumped on board to see what it could do. Minutes later, little AJ was floating face down in the river with his left eye dangling out its socket, and other parts of his face crushed by the impact of a sudden, high-speed collision. His life appeared to be ending just three weeks shy of his sixth birthday. "Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." Early sixth-century Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is purported to have said those words. They describe the way AJ McCarron has attacked the past 20 years of his life. Whatever obstacles he has had to overcome -- whether it was clinging to life, or dealing with the misguided taunts of kids who made fun of the deep scar on the top of his head, or becoming an adult who made it out of an area where drugs ruined so many lives -- he's found different ways past them. Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron still bares the scars on his head from a childhood accident that nearly killed him. Joe Robbins/Getty Images Moments have defined McCarron to this point and the bigger ones are seeped in tragedy and triumph. By the end of this weekend, he hopes to experience the latter once again. When his Cincinnati Bengals face the Pittsburgh Stealers in a wild-card round playoff game Saturday night, McCarron could become the first quarterback to lead the franchise to an opening-round playoff win since Boomer Esiason did it in January 1991; four months after McCarron was born. "I'm taking it one day at a time. That's the only way I know how," McCarron said earlier this week. "I'm not the kind of person to say, 'What if?' I don't think into the future or live in the past. It's just the present right now, and I'm having fun with it." That may be the case, but this story has to do with his past, specifically Aug. 20, 1996. "When I first got the phone call," AJ's mother, Dee Dee McCarron, said, "it was painted to me that he wasn't as injured as he was. I guess that was to get me to the hospital safely. They just said he bumped his head. So I kind of thought to myself, 'This guy is just coming off baseball All-Stars and he's a phenomenal athlete, but he can't walk without falling down, apparently.'" She later learned that wasn't the case. For a while during their river ride, the McCarrons were following a marine patrol boat as they went in and out of Mobile Bay. At one point, the patrol boat turned to go in the opposite direction. As it was coming back out of the river, Tony McCarron was steering back in at about 50 mph. As he hit a wave in the boat's wake, the exposed propeller of the WaveRunner crashed into a buoy. AJ was riding on the front part of the WaveRunner, holding the interior portion of the steering column. His dad and cousin were on the water craft's actual seat. Once they all started wobbling in the water after hitting the buoy, young AJ panicked and moved his hands to the handlebars. When he did, he inadvertently sent the WaveRunner into a faster gear, causing them to take off and tilt airborne, up out of the water. Five-year-old AJ McCarron needed 58 stitches and six screws to help repair the injuries he suffered in the accident. Courtesy of McCarron Family Tony McCarron sensed impending disaster and started throwing the kids off in order to minimize the effects of a pending crash. AJ's cousin was first to get tossed. Then AJ. When he was whipped off, McCarron's little body skipped the top of the water before he slammed face first into a nearby pier. Medics rushed to the scene, and got there even quicker when they found out the injured was the son of one of their firefighting colleagues. "I don't doubt at all that the doctors and the people that were able to get there quickly and load him up [helped]," Dee Dee McCarron said. "It was an effort of lots of people. He shouldn't be here and he is. God has a plan for him." Dee Dee saw that proven in the hours after the accident. Moments after arriving to Mobile's Children's and Women's Hospital, doctors prepped her for the worst-case scenario. She was even given the contact information of grief counselors, and told to start making funeral arrangements. "I remember thinking, he wouldn't want to be buried in a suit," Dee Dee McCarron said. "And it's such a morbid thought when I think about it now, but it's just that you're in a fog and I said, 'I guess I have to bury him in his All-Star uniform.' I thought that he would be happy." Seven months after being discharged from the hospital following the accident, AJ McCarron was playing sports again. Courtesy of McCarron Family All she could see was AJ in his No. 24 jersey, a number inspired by his love for future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. Six days after his hospital admission, though, AJ's moment of survival had been fully realized. He still was alive, well and miraculously ready to be discharged. Procedures placed 58 stitches, eight metal plates and six screws into his face. Cartilage from his ears had been removed and stuffed underneath his left eye to give the socket support as the eye was re-set. "They unwrapped his head before he went home and I said, 'Do you want to see?' He was like, 'Yes, ma'am.' So I carried him to the mirror and we looked in the mirror together and he just started crying," Dee Dee McCarron said between sniffles and short sobs of her own. She paused. "It doesn't matter how long I go from it, I still do this." As hard as it was for young AJ to see the scar that resulted from a surgical cut doctors made, there was much for the McCarrons to be thankful for. Not only was he alive, the brain damage fears doctors once had, disappeared. Vision tests also determined his ability to see wouldn't be affected, either. He would come out of the ordeal just fine, and they felt a year later, he'd be allowed to play sports again. Only ... he couldn't wait that long. Seven months later, in March 1997, McCarron was playing basketball and back to being a normal kid. Among his immediate post-accident experiences were constant taunts about his scar -- "railroad tracks" was a favorite for some of his kindergarten and elementary school classmates -- but in time, he moved beyond them, too. Eventually, he decided the long hair he once grew to cover up the scar had to go. Throughout his college and NFL-playing days, McCarron has sported a low haircut that prominently shows off the scar when his hair is sweaty or wet. "It's a daily reminder for AJ looking in the mirror and seeing that scar," his wife, former Sports Illustrated model Katherine McCarron, said. "He wasn't always the most popular kid in school because of it so he's very able to identify with kids who are going through similar situations because of [their appearance]. That's a really awesome thing for someone who's in the limelight to be able to relate to kids that way." Before too long, AJ's moments of sadness and anguish turned into ones of success. His collegiate feats have been well documented with two national championships, but he was a winner before that, too. He won a Little League football championship; including one that came while playing for a team whose home field was across the water from the pier McCarron slammed into a couple years before. He also played a key role on a dominant city park-league basketball team. He quarterbacked a middle school football championship, and led his high school to a state title, too. Now, in this moment on Saturday, just four starts into his professional career, McCarron has a chance to lead the Bengals to a monumental win. "He won the Punt, Pass and Kick for our area at one point after [the accident], and I remember thinking: 'This kid shouldn't be here and he's doing this,'" Dee Dee McCarron said. "This proves he's a fighter. Coaches have said he's got a linebacker's mentality and he does. He doesn't back down. He's up to any challenge. He's been doubted a lot and overlooked at times when I don't think he should have been, but in the end, he's going to come out and do things the right way and be the better for it, and so will others around him." http://espn.go.com/blog/cincinnati-bengals/post/_/id/20989/aj-mccarron-alabama-bengals-Stealers-playoffs-nfl-25-years-shaped-special-moments-tragedy-triumph
  14. Browns to interview Paul Guenther SundayPosted by Darin Gantt on January 7, 2016, 11:27 AM ESTAP The Bengals coaching staff will be busy Sunday, whether they’re game-planning for another playoff game of not. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will interview with the Browns Sunday, after the Bengals play the Stealers Saturday night. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has been willing to give permission to his assistants to interview during the playoffs, though by rule he doesn’t have to since they don’t have a bye week. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson also has three job interviews Sunday, with the Browns, 49ers and Dolphins. Guenther, 44, has been the coordinator there for two seasons, taking over for Mike Zimmer. And the success Zimmer has had in Minnesota has doubtess given Guenther’s job prospects a boost, even if it’s subliminal. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/01/07/browns-to-interview-paul-guenther-sunday/
  15. 23 22 Time to pop some Sudafed and giddy up -- or something like that. Ben Roethlisberger sent a message to Martavis Bryant this week, something to the effect of Two catches for six yards the last two weeks isn't stepping up. Pittsburgh has turned it on at this time in years past, though the Le'Veon Bell injury derailed their Sevenburgh aspirations last year. Roethlisberger played through several injuries as a second-year player (which is precisely where Bryant is in his career), yet managed to lead the Stealers to a Super Bowl title that season -- a playoff run that began with a road win in Cincinnati during Wild Card Weekend. Meanwhile, the general consensus seems to be that the Bengals are weaker sans Andy Dalton (his status for Sunday doesn't look too promising), making Pittsburgh lock city to many folks. How people are so quick to dismiss AJ McCarron is a bit weird. He has performed viably in his three starts, winning two. Sure, the two victories came against the 49ers and Ravens, but what's the guy supposed to do -- lobby the schedule makers to abruptly switch things up so he can play the Patriots and Seahawks and prove his worth? Come on. Sure, the two interceptions during the loss to Pittsburgh in Week 14 hurt. You try playing a division rival after you get, oh, maybe five percent of the snaps in practice that week. For the record, I think a relatively healthy DeAngelo Williams would spell a win for Pittsburgh, but not because McCarron wets himself in a big game. If no Williams, it's Fitzgerald Toussaint's baby. And if that's the case, I'm less confident in the pick here. I mean, look, I have it as a one-point game as is ... #PITvsCIN http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000618755/article/nfl-wild-card-weekend-game-picks-road-teams-ready-to-roll