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2 hours ago, I_C_Deadpeople said:

The Athletic today has an article on George Iloka who had some comments on the team and winning:

 

 

I'm impressed with George's take on everything. 

 

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Listened to a podcast on another site the other day and they mentioned DET OG Graham Glasgow (brother of Bengal DT Ryan) as a possibility.  Played 876 snaps without allowing a sack this year.  The guessed he could be had for 3 or 4 years @ about  $10-12M per.  I believe they said he shares the same agent as Ryan.

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there's one school of thought that NFL RB has become somewhat of a fungible position and you don't give out a large 2nd contract.  I like Mixon, he seems pretty durable and he seems to like it with the Bengals, so I wouldn't be opposed to  re-upping him (within reason).  Would anyone here shop him instead of spending big dollars on a position that on average doesn't have the longest lifespan?

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3 hours ago, snarkster said:

there's one school of thought that NFL RB has become somewhat of a fungible position and you don't give out a large 2nd contract.  I like Mixon, he seems pretty durable and he seems to like it with the Bengals, so I wouldn't be opposed to  re-upping him (within reason).  Would anyone here shop him instead of spending big dollars on a position that on average doesn't have the longest lifespan?

That is a great question and can be debated either way. I would say that because we are about to get a QB, possible franchise QB for 4-5 years at a low cap amount we should re-sign him as we need to help take the pressure off. The second reason I would re-sign him is he is a baller, max effort even when the team was brutal. We need more of this type and less of the Cordy Glenn types.  

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Article on ZT this morning in the Athletic, pay for service so I will promote the site and post snippets..

 

CINCINNATI — Zac Taylor walks behind the desk in his office and opens up a drawer.

“You want to see them?” he says.

One by one, he pulls out notebook after notebook and plops them all down on a table in the middle of the room. Each a daily journal of thoughts and observations, meticulous notes, from his coaching past. From the Miami Dolphins earlier this decade, 2016 with the University of Cincinnati.

“This is my life,” he says. “This one is my first spring in L.A. That’s my last spring in L.A.”

They are nice notebooks. Leather-bound, thick pages, fabric bookmark. One wouldn’t know which was old or new until flipping through the full pages.

Taylor then pulls out his Bengals notebook.

“This one, as you can tell … ” Taylor begins with a smile, “this was this season.”

The book almost falls apart on the table. The binding has popped off, pages beat up.

The paper embodiment of 2-14.

To talk about reflection on lessons learned, well, that happens constantly thanks to pouring over the missteps and evaluations filling the battered binder. One year ago, Taylor was barely a week into his first steps as head coach and still searching for a defensive coordinator, much less a full staff. Today, a trip back through those pages serves as the reason for a sense of understanding, purpose and confidence permeating every explanation in how his staff plans to attack the critical next step of the rebuild.

“Just over the last month, I’ve been able to go back and look at my notes from the last spring,” Taylor said. “You really can’t compare. It’s not reflection, it’s just, ‘Oh my God, remember that?’ How we got started to where we are at now. How far ahead we are. It’s helpful just to remind myself what my days feel like compared to then.”

Reflection

Taylor and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo each remember the details specifically. During the first day of player interviews at the combine last year, the first defensive lineman due to rotate into the Bengals’ suite started at 6 p.m.

“It was Montez Sweat,” Anarumo recalled recently of the eventual 26th pick.

Yet, at 5:59 p.m., Taylor and Anarumo were in the room with the rest of the staff wondering if their newly hired defensive line coach, Nick Eason, would be there as he was returning from a funeral.

“Then the door opens at six-oh-oh and he sits down and starts interviewing a player,” Taylor said. “Nobody has even met Nick or even knows what Nick looks like other than me and Lou. That’s the first day anybody had even met him. And that’s at the combine.”

Those were Taylor’s days a year ago. Forget understanding philosophy and personnel and the organizational path forward. Those days were about learning names.

“You’ve got new coaches coming in the building, you’ve got a lot of the coaches getting to know the players, the players getting to know the coaches,” director of player personnel Duke Tobin said. “Anytime you changed like we changed, it does take some time.”

 

Rubble from the frenzied, scattered start to Taylor’s career included a free-agency period that failed to fulfill team needs. It exacerbated them in some respects. Re-signing Preston Brown was a disaster that doomed the linebackers and ended with his three-year contract terminated midway through the first season.

Right guard John Miller arrived on a three-year deal and the Bengals still seek effective answers at his position. Bringing back right tackle Bobby Hart might have ended up a better move than the original league-wide laughing suggested but he’s still far from a quality long-term or short-term answer.

Looking back for the staff, the process was sort of like shooting blindfolded 3-pointers. This year, they can see again.

“It doesn’t matter what team you are part of. Year 2, you have such a better grasp of the needs of the team,” Taylor said. “You might have heard it, you might have watched the tape, but until you are around certain players within our own schemes, Year 2 is such a big jump and we are so far ahead right now. Draft prep, free-agency prep, all being on the same page with exactly what we need to upgrade ourselves and improve.”

Correction

The lessons of failure still pop off the notebook pages for Taylor as he takes on his second orbit as an NFL head coach.

From a situational screw-up in the first quarter at Seattle that still bugs him to Malik Jefferson informing Taylor he “woke up paralyzed” the day of the fourth preseason game to remembering explosive conversations with players over the course of the year.

Every page contains lessons and helped craft change for Taylor.

He laments the problems with tackling and lack of physicality early in the year. So, he plans to make training camp more physical this season.

“Overall, you look at our tackling early in the season and it wasn’t good enough,” Taylor said. “Part of that is guys getting comfortable in the scheme. There’s a lot of excuses you can make. Bottom line is we have to have the mentality we are going to be more physical. That starts in training camp the first day you put pads on.”

Every coach draws a line somewhere between staying healthy and establishing physicality in August. Last year made Taylor realize his needs to move.

“They have to feel it,” he said. “That will be a point of emphasis for us.”

Another point of emphasis derived from his notes is the need to diligently enforce the standard every day and never let anything slide. Taylor felt they did a decent job of keeping on top of the details of creating the culture every day, but there were days when a small thing would get let go.

A year of watching how fast those can grow left an impression.

“You have to be on top of it every second of every day,” Taylor said, acknowledging it will come more from the players and less from the coaches in the second season. “I think we did a good job of that this year, but we can improve on that. The players want it. The great players, the ones you really want to be around all the time, they want that from you. And they want to be able to do it to each other and I think that’s, ultimately, how you want to become a championship team.”

Taylor was proud but says it’s “embarrassing” to point out the improvement of the way they played down the stretch considering the Bengals still lost games, but in a season forced to be gauged by progress instead of results, the improved consistency in play validated what he believed — that he hired good coaches and momentum was moving in the right direction.

“We wanted to play 10 more games at that point,” he said.

They couldn’t. They were 2-14. Defined across the league by those two numbers. They painted a bulls-eye on their chest for an offseason when the entire football world would make them pay for it.

 

Perception

Taylor says he does a nice job staying insular. It’s not super hard to do in an office with no windows, driving to work before traffic hits in the morning and home once traffic has cleared at night then right into the daily tornado of raising four young kids.

Stops at Starbucks and Orangetheory Fitness are about as close as Taylor gets to anything outside of Paul Brown Stadium or his house.

Yet, as national shows and pundits force-feed Bengals takes into the dead period of NFL news, even Taylor heard the vitriol.

“It’s become such a big deal the last few weeks you can’t avoid it,” Taylor said.

There’s a palpable frustration that the results of this past year breathed new life into these old narratives.

“You got to win more football games to get people to shut up,” Taylor said. “Or whatever it is, have a higher respect, whatever you want to call it. It’s up to us to win more games and follow our plan, do it the right way, execute it. Build the team the right way, do it through free agency and the draft and keep building the culture we built upon and we will be in really good shape.”

 

Ah yes, free agency. It’s important to mention that now, a space the Bengals plan to be active in, certainly by their traditionally conservative standards.

The venture sits at the center of the Bengals’ perception problem, though.

On its face, perception means jack squat in the NFL. You win games, you can win championships. You don’t need to impress voters or committees. Block the noise, focus on football, build faith in your own locker room, nothing else matters.

That sounds great until a free agent target is choosing between the Bengals and another team.

A stream of media and former players taking shots at an organization can sway opinion. So, it’s not just outside noise. It’s part of the inside reality.

Would that make trades a better resource for roster additions until the narrative changes?

“I don’t feel comfortable saying that,” Taylor said. “I still feel like there’s a lot of great reasons to come here. We believe we are headed in the right direction. Our players believe it. Our coaches believe it. The more we get around players we are interested in, they are going to believe it as well.”

Taylor still relies on what he believes would be the real word in inner football circles, not just from those pretending to know.

“What we can control is we have been here and the players have been around us,” he said of negative press affecting free-agent opinion. “The coaches talk to other coaches around the league. I think people can have that perception that players hear that stuff, but they also talk to other players who have been in this building. We feel like we’ve had a great impact on those guys and they believe in what we are doing and guys would feel that.”

 

A season of renewal

Maybe the most undeniable fact from the 2019 season was that the Bengals had very little in common on the field with the San Francisco 49ers. As much was evident in the 41-17 thrashing endured in Week 2, when the Bengals were one-point favorites (!), if looking for the latest lesson in how fast perception changes in the league.

Yet, Taylor could sit back and watch the Super Bowl and have confidence in observing San Francisco, in particular, stay focused and calculated in culture and roster-building then have it pay off to reaching the grandest stage.

“They patiently built that,” he said of Kyle Shanahan and San Francisco, who were being blasted locally and nationally after an 0-9 start to his tenure in 2017. “You felt that over the two years. I played against them four times and you felt that. OK, ‘Whoa, there is a good player they added. (We) still won the game but you could see some things. … Then Year 3 of their system the players believe in it and know the ins and outs of it. It’s easier to make adjustments. They now have over 32 games together under their belts and it takes off. Sometimes that is Year 2, sometimes that is Year 3, sometimes that’s Year 5.”

Most often, it comes with the arrival of the quarterback. As was the case with Andy Reid and the world champion Kansas City Chiefs. Perhaps, that will be the case for Taylor assuming Joe Burrow is the No. 1 pick. Add that to the mix of quality culture and savvy additions through free-agent targets and the draft and things can happen fast. That’s the 10,000-foot view of the Bengals blueprint at this moment.

They’ve earned every shot being taken at them right now, but all the ugliness filling that tattered notebook is used for lessons, but is otherwise irrelevant to the current state.

“There were a lot of unknowns,” Taylor said. “You always think, ‘We are prepared and have a great plan.’ Sometimes you endure that year, you learn from it. Now we are really excited to get back to work and fix all the issues you have. … I knew that we hired good coaches that you could trust. But a lot of them you have to get a feel for yourself. Now, going into Year 2, there’s so much you feel comfortable giving to the people you give it to and trusting they are going to get it done because they know exactly what you are looking for and we are all on the same page.”

Taylor said in many years once the first few weeks after the final game arrived, he’d look forward to some time away. But not this year. Not at all. He couldn’t wait to work. Basically, to start over with all the knowledge of pages and pages of lessons learned creating the certainty in the plan of attack he could only have dreamed of possessing last season.

He experienced what coaches always told him about knowing the difference between an elephant and a mouse. Experiencing which problems were worth his time and which ones could be passed off. He’s developed specific relationships on his staff with experienced coaches providing important perspective, whether it be senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner with his 23 years of coaching or Darrin Simmons, who added the title of assistant head coach this offseason, in his 18th season with the Bengals.

 

Comfort exists in roles for a staff that saw the head coach and all three coordinators return for only the second time in five seasons. A major part of that for a team that gives so much draft responsibility to the coaching staff means another year connecting with the personnel side.

They just have to fix the roster.

“We’ll have new players coming in,” Tobin said. “That’s part of a regular offseason. But we’ve got our systems built. We’ve got our schematics in. Our coaches understand how each other works and thinks. I think we are a little further along in terms of integrating them into the scouting system and trying to build a collaboration there. It’s not all new. They are not all trying to find homes, moving their family and building a new playbook and all the other things they do when you have a new staff. They are tweaking what we are going to do and focused on building a team. That’s what everybody in this building is focused on right now is building a team for next year.”

None of that optimism or sense of calm erases the transgressions that eroded the 2019 Bengals notebook. Nor does it suggest the notebook Taylor searched the aisles of Kroger for at 6 a.m. earlier this month won’t become just as frustrating and tattered as the last.

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Stupid unrealistic (but doable) off season:

- Tag AJ Green and trade him to Pats for the 23rd pick. Pats value vets over rooks and have a history of trading picks for receivers. They are going to be desperate to add talent to keep Brady.

 

- Cut Bobby Hart and Dre Kirkpatrick. Hart is garbage and not worth anything. Kirkpatrick is always hurt and not worth his contract when he's on the field. These cuts save the team roughly $15 million.

 

- Sign LB Cory Littleton (4 yrs $59 mil) and RT Jack Conklin (5 yrs $90 mil). We have the cash to sign both. Roughly $45 million in available cap before cuts I believe. Other teams figure out how to work the cap to add legit starters. You add 2 proven guys just entering their prime at the 2 positions that have haunted us for years.

 

- Draft:

1. QB Joe Burrow, LSU - Obvious pick

1 (Pats). WR Jalen Reagor, TCU - Replace Green with a young explosive guy.

2. CB AJ Terrell, Clemson - Replace Kirkpatrick. Great size and great athlete.

3. DT Davon Hamilton, OSU - Billings is a FA and Wren hasn't played much. Hamilton is a big guy who can rush the passer and play the run.

4. G/T Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon - Rock solid versatile offensive lineman who doesn't have the best physical tools but has played at a high level in college.

5. TE Stephen Sullivan, LSU - High upside former WR we coached at the Senior Bowl.

6. LB Willie Gay Jr, Mississippi St - Coverage specialist who's best football is ahead of him.

7. DE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa - Pass rusher we coached at Senior Bowl.

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Mixon has outperformed his rookie deal and earned an extension. I'd give him something like 4 new years, 35 mil in new money with 8-10 in signing bonus. If they structure it intelligently (as opposed to the contracts for Brown or Uzomah) they can get out of the deal with no cap hits after a couple of years if Mixon gets hurt. 

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1 hour ago, akiliMVP said:

Stupid unrealistic (but doable) off season:

- Tag AJ Green and trade him to Pats for the 23rd pick. Pats value vets over rooks and have a history of trading picks for receivers. They are going to be desperate to add talent to keep Brady.

 

- Cut Bobby Hart and Dre Kirkpatrick. Hart is garbage and not worth anything. Kirkpatrick is always hurt and not worth his contract when he's on the field. These cuts save the team roughly $15 million.

 

- Sign LB Cory Littleton (4 yrs $59 mil) and RT Jack Conklin (5 yrs $90 mil). We have the cash to sign both. Roughly $45 million in available cap before cuts I believe. Other teams figure out how to work the cap to add legit starters. You add 2 proven guys just entering their prime at the 2 positions that have haunted us for years.

 

- Draft:

1. QB Joe Burrow, LSU - Obvious pick

1 (Pats). WR Jalen Reagor, TCU - Replace Green with a young explosive guy.

2. CB AJ Terrell, Clemson - Replace Kirkpatrick. Great size and great athlete.

3. DT Davon Hamilton, OSU - Billings is a FA and Wren hasn't played much. Hamilton is a big guy who can rush the passer and play the run.

4. G/T Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon - Rock solid versatile offensive lineman who doesn't have the best physical tools but has played at a high level in college.

5. TE Stephen Sullivan, LSU - High upside former WR we coached at the Senior Bowl.

6. LB Willie Gay Jr, Mississippi St - Coverage specialist who's best football is ahead of him.

7. DE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa - Pass rusher we coached at Senior Bowl.

If they make the Pats trade id like them to draft Queen or Murray at linebacker..

I dont cont on them signing a free agent backer...wideout later in the draft...

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There's a good group of linebackers in free agency. Much stronger than the draft class. Queen isn't a top 33 player and we should take someone better in the 2nd round. I'd be in favor of something like:

 

Burrow

2 CB  (Gladney/Hall)

3 WR (Hamler/Tyler Johnson)

4 OG/LB (Lewis/Gaither)

5 LB/OG

6 RB

7 K or freak athlete

 

 

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My plan is long. And I have not looked at the draft at all. 

 

Tier 1 Free Agents-Go after them immediately

G-Glasgow-Brother on team was coached by Golden and Callahan

DT-McCoy-Interest last year. Fits a 3-4. Coached by Duffner

LB-Kwiatkowski-Young with motor and upside

 

Tier 2 Free Agents-Go after them after the first few days

QB-Moore-Coached by Taylor in Miami

T-Kelly-Backup Tackle for the Titans played with James Casey in Philly

LB-Bynes-Great coverage numbers and solid play

 

Tier 3 Free Agents-Go after them a week in and pay low amounts

DL-Wilkerson-Played for Golden at Temple. Out of football in 2019

LB-Chikilio-Played for Golden at U of M. We need more OLBs for a 3-4

LB-Compton-Solid play everywhere he goes and will  be a special teamer

S-Thomas-Played for Anarumo in Miami and NYG

 

Tier 4 Free Agents-Fill out the roster so you have added a vet at each position

RB-Abdullah-Played for Callahan in Detriot

WR-Thomas-Played for Taylor at Rams

TE-Roberts-Played for Golden at Detroit, Out of football in 2019

 

Re-sign all RFAs and Green, Dennard and Fej

 

Draft Burrow-LB-OL-Edge-OL-WR in that order.

 

QB Burrow Rd 1 Moore Finley 23 Dolegala 22      
RB Mixon 21 Bernard 22 Williams 23 Anderson 23 Abdullah UDFA  
FB              
WR Green 23 Tate 21 Rd 6 Bohringer UDFA    
WR Ross 21 Morgan 22 Thomas Lodge      
WR Boyd 24 Erickson 21 Willis 20 Irwin 21      
TE Uzomah 22 Sample 23 Roberts Carter 20 Schrek 21 Franks 20  
LT Williams 24 Johnson 22 Dugas 22        
LG Glasgow Jordan 23 UDFA        
C Hopkins 23 Price 23 Rd 5        
RG Miller 22 Rd 3 Redmond 20        
RT Hart 22 Kelly Prince 23        
               
K Bullock 21 Santos          
P Huber 21            
LS Harris 21 Godsil          
               
LE Dunlap 22 Rd 4 Wilkerson Akinmoladun 20      
LT Atkins 23 Glasgow 21 Scott 20 UDFA      
RT McCoy Tupou 20 Wren 23        
RE Hubbard 22 Lawson 21 Brown 21        
SLB Kwiatkoski Chickilio Sheldon 20 UDFA      
MLB Pratt 23 Compton UDFA        
WLB Rd 2 Bynes Evans 21        
S Williams 21 Wilson 20 Thomas UDFA      
S Bates 22 Fejedelem 20 Henderson 20        
CB Jackson 21 Webb 22 Mabin 20 UDFA      
CB Phillips 22 Brown 21 McRae 20 UDFA      
CB Dennard 24 Rose McTyer 20        

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On 2/18/2020 at 9:34 AM, I_C_Deadpeople said:

Article on ZT this morning in the Athletic, pay for service so I will promote the site and post snippets..

 

CINCINNATI — Zac Taylor

 

Interesting stuff here, lots to unpack, but why the hell is a guy with access to an NFL facility & trainers going to a stripmall chain gym?

 

Also the culture must be behind the scenes because all I saw was players giving up, injured vets goldbricking, & others outright retiring out of nowhere.  The most publicly rah-rah guy on the team was the RT that shouldn't be starting in the NFL,  I've heard a lot about it but I've yet to see it.  My impression remains that they think changing coaches and drafting a new QB was all they needed to do, rather than the beginning of a much bigger process.

 

We'll see what happens in free agency. 

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Recently heard someone say that 7th rounders are worthless so why even bother trading a vet for on instead of just cutting them an be done with them. While, I can see that argument to a certain extent.  An extra last round pick could allow you to move up a spot or two in the 6th to get a guy you like.  Seventh rounders also allow you to secure a guy who might otherwise end up a UDFA instead of having to bid/recruit against other teams for them.  Granted, a UDFA isn't a huge issue, but every year at least a handful end up on the roster at some point.

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