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Cleveland Football Team (Episode 1) Week

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David Njoku, TE among top Cleveland receivers, expected to miss Bengals-Browns MNF game

1398196766000-dclark.jpg?width=48&heightDave Clark  Cincinnati Enquirer

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku, who trails only the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce and the Baltimore Ravens' Mark Andrews among NFL tight ends in receiving yards this season, is expected to be sidelined for 2-5 weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to a report Monday via Twitter from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The injury likely would keep Njoku out of the Browns' next game, scheduled for Oct. 31 against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland on Monday Night Football.

Njoku, in his sixth season with Cleveland, is tied with Amari Cooper for the team lead in receptions with 34, and Cooper is the only Browns player with more receiving yards (422) than Njoku's 418.

Njoku has 20 catches for 247 yards with four touchdowns in nine career games against Cincinnati.

The Browns also announced Monday that starting linebacker Jacob Phillips needs season-ending surgery for a torn pectoral he suffered Sunday in a  massage parlor in the Flats when  DeAndre Watson got too tousy mousey.

After the Browns lost Sunday to the Ravens, players reportedly screamed and yelled in the locker room, loudly enough that it could be heard in the adjacent interview room :jerry:  while head coach Kevin Stefanski and two players spoke with media.

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3 hours ago, AmishBengalFan said:



Browns aren't far from being playoff hopefulls..

Their Oline is outstanding in pass and run..


Bresett seems to implode in 4th qtr..


Their pass defense isn't Good but

Their pass rush is explosive.


If JB takes what's given to him in the  short game he'll burn them deep to break their spirit..


After all....isn't that the art of his game?..

To break his opponents spirit playing against him?

And then crushing them..


That's JB's mentality every game..

Assasin mentality ..





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Don't feel like dredging up a catch-all draft thread, but here is Dehner's piece on how the draft picks have looked to date (long piece - some good stuff to chew on):





The Bengals’ 2022 rookie class had only six drafted players and a first-round pick who has hardly seen the field, but the group has proved impactful through the first seven games of the season.


Cincinnati went one-for-one in drafting an offensive starter and even mined a starting long snapper out of the undrafted free agents. In between are several intriguing developmental arcs, including one that took a significant, surprising turn this past weekend against Atlanta.


Here’s a deeper look at the Bengals’ rookies through the eyes of the staff and players themselves, with a realistic evaluation of what the rest of the season might look like for them.


First round: Dax Hill, DB


Snap percentage: 5.6 percent; 25 on defense, 85 on special teams


Relevant stats: The snap count is the relevant stat. Despite an impressive camp and preseason and the threat of extra sub packages with three-safety looks, Dax Hill has been a ghost in the defensive game plan. He’s rarely seeing the field beyond a dime sub-package group.


Best moment: Running over from the far hash to the sideline to break up a pass on the final heave from Andy Dalton in New Orleans.


Worst moment: When defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo went on a rant after the Dallas game about his philosophy on rotating defensive backs and Hill’s potential playing time.


They said it: One of the most interesting developments happening now with this rookie class is the potential of working Hill into the role currently filled by Tre Flowers, primarily covering tight ends. The Bengals have been giving Hill time working with it behind the scenes, but the versatility required makes it a complicated ask.


“We do so many things on third down, without giving stuff away, where Tre Flowers’ role, to a quarterback, could be a man call, could be a zone call. He could be playing an underneath short zone, he could be playing a deep zone, he could be playing an outside corner, he could be playing a linebacker spot,” Anarumo said. “There’s a lot going into that. We’ve built on that from last year, and part of this is fooling the quarterback, or trying to at least. That little package we have with him is 400-level, for sure. So it takes time.”


Future role: Hill has made the most of his limited opportunity. He had a third-down stop early in Baltimore and the play late against New Orleans. Anarumo acknowledges those plays are beginning to build trust and confidence he wants to see before giving more work to Hill. He’s just not going to get reps over Jessie Bates or Vonn Bell. Unless an injury occurs, he’ll need to eventually take over the Flowers role, which would net him another dozen or so snaps a game, if it was a game plan that calls for it. He’ll be the starting safety once Bates leaves next year.


Grade: A* (sample too small to qualify for final grade)


Second round: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB

Snap percentage: 6.2 percent; 28 on defense, four on special teams


Best moment: Getting emotional after his first NFL game, a moment captured by Fox19 on the field.


Worst moment: Going down in training camp with a core muscle injury, wiping out any potential for competition at corner before it even started and stealing valuable preseason playing time.


Relevant stats: One-for-one. In one game active, Cam Taylor-Britt received defensive snaps — 28 of them, to be exact — this past weekend against Atlanta. For Anarumo, who holds the philosophy stated above about rotating defensive backs, to give run to Taylor-Britt shows what the Bengals think of him. What appeared to be a redshirt year is now headed for Taylor-Britt being considered the starter coming out of the bye if he plays well the next two weeks.


They said it: Taylor-Britt didn’t see a target against Atlanta, and not many of his snaps were part of the action. It didn’t offer much to evaluate but, in the eyes of the coaching staff, was a critical first step.


“Just good to get his feet wet,” coach Zac Taylor said. “It’s his first game he played in the NFL. He’s got the right mentality for it. I think he’s prepared the right way. You don’t get a ton of snaps; it’s hard to work multiple guys at positions over the course of the week — that’s hard. You just get limited normal-down reps, third-down reps and red zone reps. So, I thought they did a good job with the plan over the course of the week and got a chance to throw him in there, and I thought he performed well.”


Anarumo had this to say about Taylor-Britt’s situation changing his rotating DBs philosophy:


“In a perfect world, you don’t want to be able to do that. But this is not a perfect world, and we’re in a situation where you’ve got a young guy who had no preseason. You’ve got to get him snaps at some point, other than scout team reps, so yesterday was a perfect opportunity.”


Future role: Taylor-Britt and Eli Apple are expected to rotate with each other for the next two weeks. Once the bye hits, everyone will take time to re-evaluate. We could see Taylor-Britt take over the role, or maybe the rotation continues. Either way, momentum for Taylor-Britt to play a major role with the 2022 Bengals has been set in motion.


Grade: N/A


Third round: Zach Carter, DT


Snap percentage: 35.6 percent; 160 on defense, 33 on special teams


Relevant stats: Zach Carter’s Pro Football Focus grade of 29.4 is the worst on the team. His run defense and tackling have been particularly poor by its estimation. His missed tackle percentage (18.8) is the third worst on the team. He has managed only one pressure in 75 pass-rush snaps; however, he has made splash plays, racking up eight stops in his rotational role.


Best moment: Carter’s most productive game came Sunday against Atlanta. His biggest play was the first one after halftime. The Bengals desperately needed a three-and-out against a team that rarely goes three-and-out after Atlanta gained momentum entering halftime. Carter blew up center Drew Dalman, driving him into the backfield and leaving Tyler Allgeier with nowhere to go, and Carter tackled him for just a 1-yard gain. It forced Atlanta to throw twice behind the sticks, and both were unsuccessful. The Falcons punted, and it set the tone for the second-half shutout.


Worst moment: There hasn’t been a specific poor moment, but the consistent lack of a pass rush is the most disappointing aspect of Carter’s early returns. To generate only a single pressure across 75 pass-rush reps, specifically after he showed well in preseason and even had a strip-sack against the Rams in the preseason finale, is not what the Bengals hoped they would see.


They said it: Because of the level of competition Carter faced in college at Florida, he feels like the transition to the NFL has not been the major jump that’s often expected. “I’ve been playing against great offensive lines, great backs my whole career,” he said. “It makes the transition kind of easier.”


Meanwhile, Taylor was notably impressed with Jay Tufele and Carter stepping in against the potent Falcons run game and strong offensive line.


“Zach Carter stepped up as well,” Taylor said. “So, both of those guys are maximizing their opportunities. That’s what it’s about when you’re a backup or depth player. You just always have to stay ready because you never know when your opportunity will be called. Those are two guys that have had it thrown at them more than they anticipated early in the year. They’re stepping up to the plate.”


Future role: Carter will continue to see increased playing time along with Tufele until D.J. Reader and/or Josh Tupou return. He’s not digging into the playing time of B.J. Hill, whose been up over 85 percent for most of the season at three-technique but still has a role in the rotation. The Bengals hope what Carter showed against Atlanta can be a jumping-off point for his rookie season starting to show more activity than the early portion.


Grade: C


Fourth round: Cordell Volson, OG

Snap percentage: 100 percent; 420 snaps on offense, 30 on special teams


Relevant stats: Extracting the disastrous Week 1 against Pittsburgh, PFF tagged Cordell Volson with eight pressures and one sack allowed through the past six games. There are 18 rookie offensive linemen with at least 250 snaps in that span. Volson trails only Tyler Linderbaum of the Ravens in least pressure allowed per pass protection snap.


Best moment: It’s hard to argue with the day Volson was announced as the starter over Jackson Carman. Volson showed steady improvement as part of the general stabilization of the line, but there was a point when you wondered whether he would ever get the chance. His overwhelming victory in the guard competition — to the point he didn’t even play the final preseason game — was one of the biggest storylines of camp. The fact his presence as a starter hasn’t been much of a storyline since Week 2 says it all.


Worst moment: The first play of the season. Volson, unfortunately, was left one-on-one with All-Pro Cam Heyward and got wrecked for a sack. Joe Burrow threw a pick six the next play. On a bad day, it took just one snap for all concerning eyes to be on the rookie guard, even if it wasn’t his fault he was left in that bad matchup.


They said it: Offensive line coach Frank Pollack spoke glowingly about the progress seen from Volson from the first game until now.


“Every week there is something new he, maybe, hasn’t seen that is new for him,” Pollack said. “But he’s tough. He’s not wavering at all. He’s got the right mindset. He’s never down. He’s never up. He’s even-keel every day. He’s the same guy on every day and every play. He doesn’t waver when he does have a bad rep. He learns from it, he assesses and moves on and gets better from it. He’s improved every week. I’m excited for how he’s trending.”


One of the major areas of improvement has been Volson’s awareness of how to play with those around him. Burrow called Volson Ted Karras’ “minion” this week for how he follows the

veteran around, but it has shown. Volson said Karras’ knowledge and leadership have been instrumental in helping him find comfort and cohesion. It’s been notable for Pollack.


“His set relationships with the center and tackle — he’s not taking himself out of position, out of the protection,” Pollack said. “A lot of guys early in pass pro think it’s just them. No, it’s a system. You are with four other guys. You got to fit with those four other guys. It’s not you on an island. It’s us. If you get out of that, we are screwed.”


For Pollack, the way Volson took the job, ran with it and stayed dedicated through seven weeks goes far beyond his opinion.


“I think his teammates see it and feel the same way,” Pollack said, “which, I would argue, is more important.”


Future role: Nobody is crowning Volson as a future Pro Bowler, but the Bengals just might have found the stability they’ve sought for years at guard. If the early trend continues, Volson could project as the starting left guard for the next four years and the first offensive line draft pick Cincinnati has hit on relative to draft spot since Kevin Zeitler in 2012.


Grade: B


Fifth round: Tycen Anderson, S


Snap percentage: Zero percent; spent the season on injured reserve


Relevant stats: None


Best moment: None


Worst moment: Tycen Anderson was placed on IR with a hamstring injury sustained during the preseason finale.


They said it: Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons discussed the steeper climb in getting rookies up to speed on special teams in recent years because of how different college special teams plays look from the NFL. Punts are a different style; kickoffs are being fair caught. It makes for a blank slate of real knowledge for most. Anderson acquitted himself generally well in that regard during the preseason, but without an ability to gauge progress on the field, it’s a challenge to assess what he could offer on special teams if/when he returns.


“He’s one that has a little bit more gray (area),” Simmons said. “I can see the mental parts of it, and he made great progression in the mental parts. But it’s the physical parts where you really want to see improvements. That’s tough for him to do right now.”


Future role: Anderson’s selection was almost always going to be about 2023 and beyond. There’s a surplus of safeties on the roster right now — to the point that his injury will allow him to hang out on IR until his services are needed and his hamstring is 100 percent healed. It probably will take attrition at defensive back for Anderson to see the 53-man roster anytime soon, but his development will be a central focus next offseason as the team plots answers beyond Bates and tries to re-sign Bell.


Grade: N/A


Seventh round: Jeff Gunter, DL

Snap percentage: 1.6 percent; seven snaps on defense, 54 on special teams


Relevant stats: Leads the team with an 85.3 PFF grade on special teams.


Best moment: Gunter blocked a 52-yard field goal attempt in the first half against the Dolphins, preserving a 7-6 lead at the time.


Worst moment: Gunter dislocated his knee in pregame warmups in New Orleans.


They said it: Gunter made the biggest special teams play by any rookie so far this season when he blocked that field goal. Simmons saw Gunter’s growth from a player without much background in that aspect of the game.


“Jeff was doing a good job before he got hurt,” Simmons said. “He was learning how to play. So much of NFL football anymore is situational. It’s not just about lining up and playing; it’s so much situational stuff.”


Future role: The fact the Bengals didn’t place Gunter on injured reserve shows they see him as capable of returning before too long. He’ll still primarily be relegated to special teams duty when he does. He showed well in the preseason as a pass rusher, but for the time being, more plays like his blocked field goal will be the key to sticking on the roster.


Grade: B


Undrafted: Cal Adomitis, LS


Snap percentage: 100 percent of long snaps since activation


Relevant stats: No unplayable snaps


They said it: Overall, Simmons has been happy with how Cal Adomitis took over at long snapper once Clark Harris went out for the season with a biceps injury. The big difference would be Adomitis doing as much as he can to catch up on the institutional knowledge lost with Harris.


“He knows what butters his bread and has studied his tail off as well as anybody I have been around,” Simmons said. “He wants to prove himself. Not just to the other guys in the room, but us as coaches and to the rest of the league that he belongs.”


Simmons pointed out that Adomitis hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been good enough to keep Evan McPherson rolling.


“Clark was a mixed bag at first, too,” he said. “Teams are rushing us a lot because we have a rookie snapper. We expected it, and he’s handled it just fine.”


Future role: If Adomitis gets through this season without issue, he’ll likely hold the job for the long term. Harris doesn’t want to go out with an injury, but a chance for the Bengals to get younger at the position and not feel nervous in critical snap situations would make sense. It’s why he was around in preseason competition in the first place.


Grade: B



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hard disagree from me. They have a starter on the o-line, a rotational piece on the interior d-line, and the two defensive backs are working their way into snaps in a loaded and veteran secondary. Not sure what you thought rookies would do beyond what this crew has on a super bowl roster returning as much as this roster did. 

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Volson’s grade should be higher considering he is a 4th rounder playing a difficult to learn position, was named the starter game 1, hasn’t been a disaster,  hasn’t missed a single snap on offense, and plays teams.  That is like winning the lottery as a GM. 


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Yeah, several commentators to the piece mentioned to dehner that B seemed low. Probably a nod to his rough first few games but he's sure been pretty annonymous (in a good way) since the Dallas game.  And the stat that only Linderbaum is giving up few pressures by snap on the IOL was an eye-opener in a good way. 


If they've finally hit on an IOL pick in the mid rounds it would be fantastic. It has been...a long time. I mean, probably been someone at IOL drafted by the Bengals in the 4th round or later who didn't suck since Max Montoya but...I've forgotten if so.  Maybe it happened during the lost decade (which I have largely memory-holed).  


ETA - maybe Clint Boling? Was he a 4th round G? or was he 3rd round? I guess Boling is the answer. 

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21 hours ago, Sea Ray said:

Pretty weak draft to this point

Never thought of it that way.

Pretty strong team when the high draft choices compete for time with high draft pick rookies

not getting a lot of playing time with strong veteran players already there.  

To this point.  Meaning Taylor-Britt's playing time will probably improve significantly with Apple showing his true colors.

Dax was a draft for the future pick and a luxury that we could do so.  Next year he will have a full season of NFL training and 

adjusting to the team and culture and be ready to rock when Jesse leaves.

So I am not disappointed with the draft.

I think it shows more what kind of team we have now.

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