After the Cincinnati Bengals had their 3rd week of OTAs, it is clear they want to rely on the younger players. There have been interesting strides for rookie Safety Jessie Bates and second year wide receiver Josh Malone.
In week three Teryl Austin has put Jessie Bates on the safety position. This was due to the injury to Shawn Williams. Jessie Bates played free safety in college but has been put in the strong safety role. He has been playing lights out as far as how easy it is to adapt. He will start in place of Williams when training starts. I cant wait to see what he does in live contact and in the first pre-season game.
Most of the OTAs have matched Josh Malone with William Jackson III. Josh Malone had a poor rookie season but we can blame that not on his ability but on the offensive line and having no time for Andy Dalton to throw the football. Josh has been getting open and his routes are getting very polished. Putting him against the Bengals better cover guys makes them want more out of the wide receiver from Tennessee. His great hands and very good route running would make me believe they want him to make the team and maybe fight for that third receiver.
Jessie Bates already reminds me of a mini David Fulcher. He has shown he can play both safety positions and he has played some hybrid situations. He will be great in different defensive schemes. It will help that weak Line backer core with coverage on the tight ends and running backs. Now how hard does Jessie Bates hit? We wont know if he hits like Fulcher till they get the pads on.
Josh Malone reminds me of another wide receiver from Tennessee. Reminder Carl Pickens in the 90s. Josh has the hands , has the speed, and has disciplined route running just like Pickens but without the bad attitude. He knows he has to shine with a couple of other receivers shining past him last season.
Mike Brown gave Marvin Lewis a two-year contract extension. They also gave Lewis a few new faces on the coaching staff. Things need to be turned around now.
Realistically this is what needs to happen. Marvin Lewis has two years to get things done. It all starts with him. In the first year he needs to show improvement. We can’t realistically say the Bengals will win a playoff or even go to the playoffs without seeing any of the additions the Bengals made play a single snap yet.
First thing is first, they need to build up the biggest need they needed the past two years. That is their offensive line. They beefed it up with the trade made with the Buffalo Bills to get Cordy Glenn at Tackle. They grabbed Billy Price former center of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the 2018 draft. They totally eliminated some players like Russell Bodine and Andre Smith. They also have an offensive line coach, Frank Pollack ,that can evaluate every lineman the Bengals have and place them where their talent lies.
The establishment of a new reconstructed offensive line can do plenty that the Bengals couldn’t do last year. An improved offensive line will give Joe Mixon the validity of being the running back we all know he can be. He played limited playing time and went over 700 yards and that’s with a terrible offensive line. Imagine what Mixon can do with an improved line.
A new offensive line will give Andy Dalton more time. The last two years he has been sacks the second most in the NFL. His numbers have been going down since the absence of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. He needs the passing lanes opened up. Andy Dalton plays better inside the pocket because his accuracy is never quite there when he is rolling out. This will also open up play action passing when the run gets more respect.
The other part that needs to be focused on this year is the talent of the wide receivers. John Ross only appeared in three games and had one catch and fumbled it. The key is make sure John Ross puts his rookie year behind him. It is in the past. He should have been honest about his healing time. Now that he has had the time to heal that new offensive line should help all the receivers.
The Bengals have been missing the talent of two great receivers lost in the off-season after 2015. Marvin Jones is the Detroit Lions number one receiver now. Mohamed Sanu is the Falcons third receiver. They need to get the talent of the Bengals receiver core straight. There is a huge amount of talent with no identity with the exception of AJ Green of course.
With all the additions to the offense and a new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin the Bengals should improve this year. Next year with adding even more to the roster Marvin Lewis has no choice but to win that elusive playoff game.
Everyone knows DE Carlos Dunlap is in a contract year. He does not want to take the chance of injury during the OTAs.
Carlos Dunlap is in a huge contract year with the Cincinnati Bengals. He is set to make $7.3 million this year. This contract has been a huge team discount. He averaged $8 million a year when clearly he should be a $20 million a year player. That is what he is hoping for.
Carlos Dunlap will not take the chance of injury during the OTAs. It is a good decision seems a note worthy player have already fallen at the start of OTAs. The Tight End of the LA Chargers Hunter Henry tore his ACL during OTAs and will be out for the season. Dunlap and the Cincinnati Bengals realize how cheap they were getting Dunlap for. There definitely is a need to keep him out till Pre-season starts. He will work out and stay healthy on his own. He can’t afford to get injured during OTAs which is not required to participate in.
The Cincinnati Bengals had star cornerback William Jackson III become one of the best situational cornerbacks in the game. This year the fans want to see him become a starter. This is what he has to cover if he does start.
There is no doubt the Cincinnati Bengals selecting cornerback William Jackson III in the first round of the 2016 draft was the right decision. He missed his first season due to injury but came with vengeance in his second year. He posted some of the best numbers by a cornerback since PFF (Pro Football Focus) started grading players back in 2007. He was a backup though. That is why he didn’t get the full accolades he so richly deserves.
Now that the fans want William Jackson to be a full-time starter, this is who he will be facing this season. He will be facing six-time Pro-Bowler Antonio Brown twice. He is arguably the best wide receiver in the game today yet Jackson only allowed two catches for seven yards last year.
He will also be facing some Pro-Bowlers outside of the division. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had 88 catches and 1444 yards with only three touchdowns. Believe it or not that is a mediocre season for a high talented player like Jones. Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans had 71 catches for 1004 yards and five touchdowns last season. This young receiver is getting acknowledgement of being a top five wide receiver like Julio Jones. LA Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen had 102 catches for 1393 yards and scored six touchdowns. He is maybe the most under rated receiver with only five years in the league. New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is the youngest player on the list. With Dree Brees passing to Thomas it is no wonder he averaged 100 catches in his first two years.
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is by far the best athlete on this list of receivers. It does not matter which quarterback is for the Texans. He makes them look great. This will probably be the hardest matchup William Jackson III will have to face.
William Jackson III is fully capable of covering all these gifted receivers on a full-time basis. This will make for a very compelling argument for the rest of the off-season. Let’s hope the Bengals give him the chance to bring it to life.
The Cincinnati Bengals will be starting the 2018 season without their defensive captain Vontaze Burfict. He is suspended for four games due to his PED violation.
Bengals olb Vontaze Burfict has started every season since 2014 either on the DL or serving a suspension. He has an old school spirit and plays with an old school mentality. It has gotten to the point where every time Burfict makes a hard hit on a player there could be a flag on a great hit. It has already been said that he could be praised as one of the greats if he was playing in the 70’s.
Usually his suspensions are for disorderly conduct on the field. This time it is for violating PED regulations. Burfict tried to appeal to no great outcome. He had unknown substance in the medication he was taking for his injury suffered by Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith Schuster. His appeal was denied.
Another season without the Bengals defensive leader is becoming common knowledge. Soon some skeptics think it is starting to be not worth the time having him not fulfill his season commitment while taking suspensions every season.
In 2013 Vontaze Burfict made headlines. He made the Pro Bowl in his second year. He worked real hard for he wasn’t even drafted. It is not hard to believe that one of the best linebackers in the game wasn’t even drafted. His talent is unreal but his attitude dropped him out of the draft. After his first Pro Bowl he is back to his crazy attics.
Here is the question though. How did he become the leader? He bleeds for this organization. He puts every ounce of energy into everything he does. He never holds back. As his teammates start to realize how gifted he was, they started to follow what he preaches. This defense has been in the top ten in many defensive categories since Burfict’s arrival. Even without him for four games they will give it all they have.
Now will anyone step up in his absence? Backup olb Jordan Evans had a rocky start last season but ended with a lot of experience under his belt. Look for Evans and rookie Malik Jefferson to share the role. When Burfict comes back they will be ready to roll. Hopefully they can get at least three victories during his suspension. That would serve a credit to Teryl Austin for getting two young talents ready for action.
Vontaze Burfict’s actions speak louder than words. That is for the good and the bad. For all the plays he has made it would be foolish to even think about dropping him. He is this defense. This whole defense respects him.
With concussions going up to a record high last year, the league passed a new rule that will help lower that statistic. The question is will this ultimately destroy the NFL.
The new rule states that any player that lowers their head during a play that can come into contact with another player will be targeting. Even an offensive player can be called for this act. This means for instance a quarterback sneak will soon be out of play books because the QB ducks his head into the line by nature.
There will be way less concussions because of this rule but will take time to learn it. The players are being forced to play a game that they were not taught. There will be an insane amount of penalties and possible ejections.
Now the owners still have to take a vote on seriousness of the punishment. In college any form of targeting is an automatic ejection. They want helmet to helmet hits objectionable at all cost. The flags under new rule will just be a flag.
Think about this. The last game the Bengals and Steelers played in would have had a record amount of flags in one half. This was the game where Ryan Shazier got paralyzed from a now target play under new rule. Also the hit that Vontaze Burfict receiveed from JuJu would also be under the new targeting rule. Plus just in one half 24 plays would have been called under the new rule.
USA Today checked the last Bengals-Steelers game to identify what would be called under the new 'targeting' rule.
Will this destroy once and for all the fans perspective of a game that was once known as a brutal game? Is the integrity of the game at stake? Will protecting the players at all costs from future permanent damage kill the game?
Text from former NFL linebacker: “Can't believe how ridiculous this lowering of the head thing is. Go back and watch any game and you will see probably 30 to 50 examples of guys lowering their head on contact. A f——— mess. Why does the NFL want to self-destruct?”
March 28 Geno Atkins turned 30. Geno has had a great career so far and he has many more seasons to give. He is still waiting on an extension to his contract as he goes to Free agency in 2019. Is he worth it? Let’s look this over.
Geno Atkins became the Bengals 4th round draft pick in 2010. After eight seasons he has made it to the Pro-Bowl six times. He was named First Team All-Pro twice. He has 290 tackles and 61 sacks so far. Also Atkins has recorded six pass deflections, eight forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown.
Keep in mind Geno didn’t start right away. He was 4th on the depth chart his rookie year. So real you can say he has had 61 sacks in seven years as a starter. He even missed a part of the 2013 season due to injury. He is just 12.5 sacks shy of the franchise record held by Eddie Edwards (stood for 30 years).
This is another Bengal great in the making. Will the Bengals give him enough relevancy to get him to Canton. I’m sure no one cares about that now. He is still waiting to stay with the Bengals which looks good right now with all the money the Bengals rolled over for next year.