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Hard read. Good read. Dehner did a nice job with this. 

 

https://theathletic.com/2642752/2021/06/10/i-took-it-really-personal-bengals-guard-michael-jordan-motivated-to-move-past-his-darkest-moment/

Quote

 

One play.

 

Third-and-2 for the Bengals from the Bengals 10-yard line in Week 11 last season will go down as the most infamous moment in the career of Cincinnati left guard Michael Jordan.

With that five-step drop, what was supposed to be Jordan’s breakthrough season shifted from disappointing to unfathomable.

Jonathan Allen bullied him back, landing squarely on the left knee of Joe Burrow along with a punishing sandwich hit coming off the opposite edge. Jordan rose and looked down at his friend writhing in pain.

 

“I took it really personal,” Jordan said. “It took me about a week to get out of my own head.” The snapshot of that moment pierces the brain forever.

 

Jordan spoke on the phone after Tuesday’s OTAs, 199 days since Burrow’s season ended on his watch, the memory of that one play still as clear as the day it happened. The outside world might consider the play the defining moment of Jordan’s career. The 23-year-old found himself connected to it in a vastly different way.

 

It became the driving force of his personal motivation. “It most definitely is,” Jordan said.

 

He hears the harsh criticisms. He understands he’s become a public scapegoat and a face of Bengals offensive line failure. Jordan cares only about one man’s opinion.

 

“First thing I did was I apologized to Joe,” Jordan said. “I told him he was not going to hear any more words from me. Just actions. I can tell him I’m going to do better. He doesn’t want to hear that. He wants to see it. I’ll prove what I’m saying and my convictions this upcoming season. Not a whole lot of talking; I’m just going to show it.”

 

When the text from Jordan dinged Burrow’s phone in the days after the quarterback’s ACL surgery, it went between two players who have known each other since Jordan arrived at Ohio State in 2016. Burrow was a class ahead of Jordan and one of the players he knew best when Burrow arrived in Cincinnati as the No. 1 pick in 2020.

“He really just said thank you, I appreciate it,” Jordan said of Burrow’s reply. “He told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him too. There’s always love between me and Joe Burrow. He’s a great guy — hell of a guy. I just really don’t have anything else to say to him; I just want to show him. That’s all I want to do.”

 

January through March on the calendar of an NFL player is a time for decompression. Take vacations, find a release, don’t overthink anything. After one of the most stressful and mentally challenging seasons for players in the history of the league, never had it been more necessary.

Jordan did very little of that. He started the task of letting his actions do the talking. Over the course of two months, while training with Ryan Patrick of PeakFAST in Erlanger, Ky., he says he dropped 30 pounds.

 

“I was just tired of being tired,” Jordan said. “I wanted to be a better version of myself.”

 

He even dipped below 300 pounds, with the idea of building back better on a foundation of muscle. After trimming the fat, he replaced it with muscle. He has now packed on 20 pounds of muscle and returned to 311 pounds, with plans to land at 320 by August. It would be close to his playing weight from last year but dramatically different in construction.

To pull off this reconstruction, he approached meals thinking about discipline, not devouring.

 

“Every day I tell myself I’m eating for results and not taste,” Jordan said, laughing while conveying how hard that is for somebody who lived his life as the biggest man in the room. “Trust me, I hate eating healthy more than anyone. It would be clean carbs like rice, quinoa, pastas. Protein would be chicken or salmon or shrimp. That was it. And vegetables.”

Finding a new body and power to withstand the torque of a defensive tackle like Allen was only part of the equation. He needed to find improvement in his game. So, once a month he flew to Atlanta for a week of work on technique with Bengals legendary right tackle Willie Anderson, who now specializes in offensive line training.

 

“He’s really technical about everything,” Jordan said. “Even the little things. Where your hands are going. What you are looking at. Willie really focuses on these things. He also talks about strengthening the little muscles like your hip flexors and your hamstrings because those are the muscles that are going to help you the most playing offensive line.”

Along with trips to work with Anderson, Jordan took on the tutelage of new offensive line coach Frank Pollack. He represents a fresh start for Jordan after spending his first two seasons under coach Jim Turner, who was replaced after the season.

 

“You can see he’s got some power to him,” Pollack said. “He’s got good size. He can move relatively well for his size. Those things jump out at you. Right now, he’s learning some new nuances and techniques of what we teach, but you can see some of those tools that people raved about him.”

 

The size, speed and power elements of Jordan’s game have never been in question. Entering last season, coaches saw him as motivated, picking up the system and expecting a significant jump in his second year. They traded up for him in the fourth round in 2019, and despite a disappointing rookie season, so much appeared to be trending right for Jordan.

 

Only, so much went wrong.

 

He allowed 35 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, tied for the fourth most among all guards despite being benched for the final four games. The inevitable move out of the starting lineup came one game after the Washington disaster, where Jordan gave up eight other pressures outside of the hit injuring Burrow.

 

A primary push of the club’s offseason was finding more options at guard outside of Jordan. The Bengals re-signed Quinton Spain, look forward to the healthy return of 2019 free-agent acquisition Xavier Su’a-Filo and used a second-round pick on Jackson Carman out of Clemson, the highest the Bengals have drafted a guard since Kevin Zeitler in 2012.

 

On the outside, Jordan became almost the forgotten man, as the four look to be in a battle for two spots. On the inside, a cautious, urgent optimism still flickers. “I’m very positive about Michael Jordan,” head coach Zac Taylor said. “It hasn’t been perfect on offense for any of us. So going into Year 3, it’s a big year for Mike. I think he’s taken the right approach. He’s done a great job listening to what Frank’s asked him to do. … Last year, you watch him, he had some tough matchups. That’s what this league is about. There’s some really good D-tackles, and it seemed like he found some really good ones about five weeks in a row at one point. But that’s life in the NFL, and you’ve got to be consistent.”

 

Jordan needs to be consistent immediately. If he doesn’t ascend this year, he might not get another opportunity. With Pollack, there’s a feeling that the struggles of the past two years have been erased in many ways and a fresh start emerged that leaves Jordan more confident in what he’s doing and what to expect. “I feel like the energy has changed,” Jordan said. “More so in the fact we are going to get after it every single day. Everything we do with football is for a purpose. Every question that I have ever had he’s always been able to give me a direct answer right back.”

 

Finding the answers, whether physically or mentally, weight loss or muscle gain, from Anderson or Pollack, through trainers or technicians, all are part of Jordan’s offseason of showing Burrow his vow through actions instead of words.

 

By showing him, and consequently everyone else in the Bengals organization, that Jordan can live up to the lofty expectations thrust upon him all while changing the tone of the way he feels portrayed because of what happened. “A lot of people, they try to talk bad about me in the media and they don’t really understand football at all,” Jordan said. “They don’t understand a lot went into that play. Besides that, I owe it to myself to become a better version of the player I was last year. That’s what I have to do.”

 

When asked the primary lesson of his 2020 season, Jordan thought for a minute before offering a takeaway as symbolic of this critical juncture in his career as it was simple.

One play. Don’t let it define you.

 

“Biggest lesson I have learned from last season was once a play happens, it is one play,” Jordan said. “Whether you do great or whether you do bad, you have to be ready to move on because that’s not what’s important. What’s important is the next one.”

 

 

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It is a fortunate thing—for players—that they will be judged by their coaches on the practice/playing field—and not by media squawking heads. 
 

Cheering for Mike. His head is on solid, he has the desire, he’s trying to make the body follow along. He was a very good lineman at THE—the natural skills are there. 
 

Looks like he will be given a chance. Hope he makes it. 

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Problem for him isn't just the one play where he got the Franchise hurt. He allowed 8 other pressures in that game and a bunch more in other games. Nobody wants a guard who will have their QB under pressure and maybe on IR.

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Good read also liked him sounds like he is putting in the extra effort to be a better stronger player. Pretty young guy was only 21 when we drafted him still developing from man child to beast hopefully. Always thought he was a little too soft spoken not that that really matters but kind of think it stems from a lack of confidence, or maybe he just doesn`t like to talk to the media. Either way hope he finds his voice and gets his confidence back. 

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He can workout all he wants, they can write all the puff pieces too.  He's still a bum.  

 

Like Ogbhuei, he just doesn't have the power to stop a bull rush from a real defensive lineman.  And he's always late at recognizing twists. 

 

I pray he never sees the field in stripes again.

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Maybe if he had done this a couple years ago....at this point he's damaged good.  He is going to have to blow the doors off people to get another chance to start.

 

I thought Pollack's comments were faint praise.  “You can see he’s got some power to him,” Pollack said. “He’s got good size. He can move relatively well for his size."   Some power?  Moves relatively well?  Doesn't sound like Pollack is sold.  Me either.  Good luck to him though.  Love for him to prove everyone wrong.

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But that's the problem. Finding out he isn't good enough puts Burrow at risk. Jordan isn't owed anything by the team, it's up to him to play well in preseason games when Burrow isn't on the field. But he won't be facing top quality opponents then.

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I think the tragic this about and for Michael Jordon is he was/is a borderline player who may have had a chance if

he had not been horribly miscoached by Turner and thrown to the wolves to soon by circumstance and piss poor

decision making by the coaching staff.

Similar, almost the same for Billy Price only he did not almost end The Franchise's career.

Going to be difficult to justify keeping either when they will spend most games on the inactive roster.

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12 hours ago, High School Harry said:

I think the tragic this about and for Michael Jordon is he was/is a borderline player who may have had a chance if

he had not been horribly miscoached by Turner and thrown to the wolves to soon by circumstance and piss poor

decision making by the coaching staff.

Similar, almost the same for Billy Price only he did not almost end The Franchise's career.

Going to be difficult to justify keeping either when they will spend most games on the inactive roster.

 

Maybe Jordan should have taken care of his body like a professional before he failed miserably.  Turner doesn't control that.  The guy wasn't strong enough and we could all see it as he got backed up into the backfield on a regular basis.  That's not on Turner.

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23 hours ago, sparky151 said:

But that's the problem. Finding out he isn't good enough puts Burrow at risk. Jordan isn't owed anything by the team, it's up to him to play well in preseason games when Burrow isn't on the field. But he won't be facing top quality opponents then.

That depends on how you find out does it not? If he blows in TC and pre season he is cut or is ta the end of the roster. Can’t change what happened last year. It was obviously a huge mistake to rely on him and OL coach Turnip . I am only saying he appears to be putting in best efforts to improve and you can’t ask more from him in that regard. If the team plays him above a better player or plays him and knows he is still weak that is on the team for not improving the position. 

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11 hours ago, UncleEarl said:

 

Maybe Jordan should have taken care of his body like a professional before he failed miserably.  Turner doesn't control that.  The guy wasn't strong enough and we could all see it as he got backed up into the backfield on a regular basis.  That's not on Turner.

This.  How mind blowing to read he drops thirty pounds of fat, adds twenty pounds of muscle, and starts eating right AFTER allowing the crown jewel of the franchise to get seriously injured on his watch. This is on everyone above him in the organization to my thinking.  How is the diet and exercise regimen of multi-million dollar athletic investments not insanely  closely monitored?

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11 hours ago, A Rock said:

This.  How mind blowing to read he drops thirty pounds of fat, adds twenty pounds of muscle, and starts eating right AFTER allowing the crown jewel of the franchise to get seriously injured on his watch. This is on everyone above him in the organization to my thinking.  How is the diet and exercise regimen of multi-million dollar athletic investments not insanely  closely monitored?

 

Well, Covid-19 affected plenty of players and now things are more normal than it was 12 months ago. 

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19 hours ago, A Rock said:

This.  How mind blowing to read he drops thirty pounds of fat, adds twenty pounds of muscle, and starts eating right AFTER allowing the crown jewel of the franchise to get seriously injured on his watch. This is on everyone above him in the organization to my thinking.  How is the diet and exercise regimen of multi-million dollar athletic investments not insanely  closely monitored?

It’s called a collective bargaining agreement.  Guys can’t be required to do shit. 

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5 hours ago, UncleEarl said:

It’s called a collective bargaining agreement.  Guys can’t be required to do shit. 

Then it's a team culture issue, as I posted. Are you on a team that fights for every inch, starting in training camp with understanding what's expected like hard work and proper diet and exercise, or not? Players may not be required to do shit, but NFL teams are not required to employ players who aren't on board with some basic understandings. That's my real criticism, not even him so much.  It'd be one thing if he played poorly these past 2 years, but gave it everthing. He thoroughly admits being out of shape in this article and I honestly don't understand how an organization accepts that at this level. Guess there just aren't that many 6-6, 315 lb. men walking around.  

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On 6/10/2021 at 12:36 PM, Le Tigre said:

It is a fortunate thing—for players—that they will be judged by their coaches on the practice/playing field—and not by media squawking heads. 
 

Cheering for Mike. His head is on solid, he has the desire, he’s trying to make the body follow along. He was a very good lineman at THE—the natural skills are there. 
 

Looks like he will be given a chance. Hope he makes it. 

 

There have been many good players at "THE".  Unfortunately most are Bengal disappointments.  Big Fatty and Price is Wrong come to mind.

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I love a good redemptive arc and I am glad MJ has gotten it together, but I still don't trust him and Burrow is too valuable to find out. I hope he doesn't see the field all year.

 

In fact, from a psychological factor I would probably cut him, just to avoid any potential PTSD by Joe when he starts getting pushed back into him. Some errors can't be fixed after the fact. 

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22 hours ago, BlackJesus said:

I love a good redemptive arc and I am glad MJ has gotten it together, but I still don't trust him and Burrow is too valuable to find out. I hope he doesn't see the field all year.

 

In fact, from a psychological factor I would probably cut him, just to avoid any potential PTSD by Joe when he starts getting pushed back into him. Some errors can't be fixed after the fact. 

😂😂😂😂

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