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west tx bengal fan

Monday Morning QB: Chargers 16, Bengals 13

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Hey group.  I usually try to write an analysis article after each game to summarize and assess the Bengals path.  It's a new season, so I'm rusty.  And it's a new crowd here, so let's see whether there's interest generated with this.

The Bengals 2020 season and the Joe Burrow era commenced yesterday in what eventually became an interesting game.  However, up until and through halftime it was pretty damm boring.  Burrow was in double-digits for passing yardage in the first half, and you had to be wondering if this was going to be a season of wondering how Andy Dalton may have fared.  Even tho the game eventually didn't go the way we'd hoped, I saw a lot of good things in the game.

The Good

1.  Bengals D - anchored by Reader up the middle, the Bengals were pretty tough in all phases.  When Reader left (they said "cramps," I hope that was all), the Chargers really went wild with the interior run game.  The pass coverage was really good against a pair of Charger WRs who are definitely top 10 or better.  They did a pretty good job containing a very fast Tyrod Taylor (even tho the pressure and sacks need improvement).  Guys who really stood out included the trio of acquisitions in the middle of the D (Bell, Bynes, Reader).  Alexander was solid (along with WJax and Phillips).  Sam Hubbard had some key plays (although he whiffed on a sack at a key point in the game).

2.  Burrow's last drive - despite that horrible shovel pass decision, the overthrows of Ross and Green, and a few other questionable early decisions (bad underhand to Gio in 1st half was nearly a pick-6; backward pass to Mixon almost ended up a turnover; a few scrambles through the rushing DL demonstrated that he's not figured out yet what you can't do in the NFL), Burrow showed something on that last drive that only the great ones can consistently do.  He boiled down all the focus and delivered hit after hit during crunch time.

3.  Huber's punting - not sure if it was favorable conditions or what, but he had punts of 70, 56, and 58 to start the game and finished with an average of 55.0 per kick, 43.8 net, and 3 inside the 20.  He's gotten better every season.

4.  LB play - Bynes was fantastic in running situations.  Wow!  He made several big stops.  And Pratt looked mostly good.  I did not see a lot on D snaps from the rookies (Wilson and ADG), but they did get snaps.  The tackling effort after Reader exited became notably worse, and I'm not sure whether that was a LB wrap up and/or out-of-position issue.  Overall, the Chargers average 4.0 YPC rushing with the Bengals averaging 4.4 (in a game where the Bengals running did not particularly impress), so we just need to build on that.

5.  CJ Uzomah - was impressed with what he did in his pass targets.

6.  The pre-game demonstration - it was very tasteful and allowed most to be able to understand that players and people are hurting without alienating many with outlandish behavior and/or threats.  This is the way Americans need to be protesting in general so that we can all participate in the constructive aftermath.  Kudos to Bengals and Chargers.

The Bad

1.  Bengals OL in general - the run blocking offered Mixon very little.  Is the Chargers run D that good?  The pass blocking in general did not give Burrow enough time about every other pass (although I have to concede that Burrow did not appear to be seeing the windows and reading the D very well until late in the game).  Last year it took them well into the second half of the season before they figured out and committed focus to what they did well.  Hopefully, they can get that figured out more quickly, otherwise this season is going to hurt more than we like.  This Thursday we apparently will get Price in place of the injured (XSF... ankle sprain), so maybe the Price is right this time?

2.  DT health status - we cringed when Geno tapped out.  The Reader went down, and the Charger running game suddenly was on fire.  Not sure whether you noticed this, but Daniels was lifted off the ground by the pile on the last SD play (not counting the kneel down to end the game), landed on his legs oddly, and limped off the field.  It looked like he may have hyperextended at least one knee, but i haven't heard anything about it after the game (Update: today's Cincinnati.com article notes that he has a groin injury).  Hopefully he will be able to play on Thursday.  Hopefully it was just "cramps" with Reader.  We see how quickly the run D goes to crap when a couple of our big guys go down though, right?  Losing Wren and Tupou were big hits.  Put those two back on the roster and drop Covington... and you have a very hellacious DT slot (which is what the top D's have).  Playing Reader for 90% of the snaps, tho, is a recipe for disaster (he will be dead tired by end of games and will eventually get injured).

3.  Pass Rush - it looked very anemic.  Lawson appears to be sluggish.  Hubbard is more of an effort and pursuit type sacker.  Dunlap was not able to exert himself.  I look at effectiveness in this manner... we need about 50 sacks to have the kind of D that puts the right amount of pressure on an opposing QB.  That's 3 per game.  Anything less than that is generally a failure (although I concede that the really good QBs will get rid of the ball earlier to avoid sacks, and this is a success because it is taking away the deeper routes).

4.  John Ross - in a V-8 moment, we realize "we coulda had a Pat Mahomes."

The Ugly

1.  Bobby Hart in specific - ok, he was going mostly against a premier NFL DE in Joey Bosa but there were several things that made his effort difficult to accept.  On a few snaps Hart barely got a glove on Bosa, and that's plain unacceptable at this level (and will eventually get Burrow injured).  Particularly concerning to me was what happened after one sack where Bosa searched out Hart afterwards to talk $hit and rub his nose in it.  Usually NFL players only do this after their opponent has been talking $hit to them in advance.  So why is Hart talking $hit to Joey Bosa or anyone else on the field when he struggles to provide average OL play on any given play?  This is a serious concern when you realize that this sort of tactic usually stimulates an opponent to play better in a situation where Hart has to hope he keeps his opponent in a low production state.  I was surprised that Taylor did not replace Hart at halftime and will be disappointed if they do not try something different with Fred Johnson or Adeniji getting some RT snaps on Thursday.  Hart has shown through his public comments and his play that he is not a player to trust.  He's had his chances, and things are not going to change appreciably.  The team should look for an upgrade in-season acquisition here and move on.  I've never bought into that before, but his play, attitude, and character are just "that bad" to require such consideration.

2.  Bullard's last FG attempt - Wow!   That was definitely an old-time Mike Brown Bengals moment there, wasn't it?  But hey, for everyone calling for Bullard to be cut... c'mon man.  This guy is the ALL-TIME most accurate FG kicker in team history (or was before missing that kick).  You cannot cut a player for one singularly bad moment.  What kind of message does that send to the rest of the team?  Who are you getting at this point to replace him who is also better?  What kind of expectations does that put on every player?  Now if he starts kicking at a 60-70% clip over the season and misses 2-3 key kicks in a short period, that's a different story.  No, Bullard is not a top kicker in this league.  He is very steady and has been pretty dependable.  He doesn't have great range on FGs but does a really solid job on KOs establishing field position and doing what Darrin Simmons wants him to do.  There are a lot of NFL teams that demonstrate how a bad Kicker carousel looks.  Let's suck this one up and decide to watch the trend instead of knee-jerking calls to behead the guy.  And one more thing.... the K, in general, gets a soft tissue lower extremity injury almost every year in camp.  This is the reality of the kind of torque and muscle pressure that is put on a person kicking a ball with the kind of force and violence professional kickers exert.  Bullard apparently has two strained calves and is working through them.  One of them locked up at an inopportune moment.  This is an early season injury as the K gets back into regular season shape.

3.  TO ratio - killed by this again (and both late in game).  Mixon's rare fumble went to none other than Nick Vigil too (God, his porn stache looks terrible, doesn't it?).  That was just a great tackle by the Charger defender who put his hat right on the ball to dislodge it.. those things happen occasionally.  The Burrow shovel pass gone awry was just an ugly moment in a rookie QB's development.  Again, that's going to happen.  But the Bengals did not come up with a single takeaway, and that cannot happen if we expect to start winning more than losing.

4.  Zac Taylor's presence - just not feeling this yet at the start of season 2.  He is not the guy around whom the team will rally.  We gotta hope that vocal players like Burrow, Bell, Bynes, Hopkins, and Boyd can act as surrogates for the soft-spoken Taylor.  This, however, is Taylor's personality, and it can work if he combines it with the correct system and supporting cast.  We just don't know yet, however, whether these latter two factors are in place and/or coming anytime soon.

Wait & See

The season is young, and we really need to give them 4 games (like a pre-season) to see how things come together.  I know... how do you wait 4 games to see this when after that you could already be in a deep hole?  After watching the Ravens dissect the Browns and seeing Lamar Jackson looking even better as a thrower, we have to realize that we're way behind Baltimore in almost every facet of the game.  Our hope, tho, is to work on what we can do, play one game at a time, and start getting W's.  We are going to need to be patient with Joe Burrow as he figures things out.  You could see that happening in real time during the game. 

A few final things I noticed:

*  A.J. Green did some great things even tho he still looked a bit sluggish

*  Boyd did not get enough targets; Tate got none; Higgins got none; Mixon did not get good quality targets

*  They did not open up the passing tree early enough in the game... too much short stuff and/or not enough time to work the longer routes

*  Jonah Williams side of the OL was quiet in a good way.

*  The TE play in general was positive

*  Bates' play was pretty darn good

*  To become winners, this team needs to learn how to put an opponent away when they're on the ropes.

*  Zac Taylor really needs to assert himself more as soon as possible.  He doesn't seem to have much personality, and that will reflect on his team.

*  Football just isn't the same with COVID in the way.

Edited by west tx bengal fan
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1 hour ago, west tx bengal fan said:

Hey group.  I usually try to write an analysis article after each game to summarize and assess the Bengals path.  It's a new season, so I'm rusty.  And it's a new crowd here, so let's see whether there's interest generated with this.

The Bengals 2020 season and the Joe Burrow era commenced yesterday in what eventually became an interesting game.  However, up until and through halftime it was pretty damm boring.  Burrow was in double-digits for passing yardage in the first half, and you had to be wondering if this was going to be a season of wondering how Andy Dalton may have fared.  Even tho the game eventually didn't go the way we'd hoped, I saw a lot of good things in the game.

The Good

1.  Bengals D - anchored by Reader up the middle, the Bengals were pretty tough in all phases.  When Reader left (they said "cramps," I hope that was all), the Chargers really went wild with the interior run game.  The pass coverage was really good against a pair of Charger WRs who are definitely top 10 or better.  They did a pretty good job containing a very fast Tyrod Taylor (even tho the pressure and sacks need improvement).  Guys who really stood out included the trio of acquisitions in the middle of the D (Bell, Bynes, Reader).  Alexander was solid (along with WJax and Phillips).  Sam Hubbard had some key plays (although he whiffed on a sack at a key point in the game).

2.  Burrow's last drive - despite that horrible shovel pass decision, the overthrows of Ross and Green, and a few other questionable early decisions (bad underhand to Gio in 1st half was nearly a pick-6; backward pass to Mixon almost ended up a turnover; a few scrambles through the rushing DL demonstrated that he's not figured out yet what you can't do in the NFL), Burrow showed something on that last drive that only the great ones can consistently do.  He boiled down all the focus and delivered hit after hit during crunch time.

3.  Huber's punting - not sure if it was favorable conditions or what, but he had punts of 70, 56, and 58 to start the game and finished with an average of 55.0 per kick, 43.8 net, and 3 inside the 20.  He's gotten better every season.

4.  LB play - Bynes was fantastic in running situations.  Wow!  He made several big stops.  And Pratt looked mostly good.  I did not see a lot on D snaps from the rookies (Wilson and ADG), but they did get snaps.  The tackling effort after Reader exited became notably worse, and I'm not sure whether that was a LB wrap up and/or out-of-position issue.  Overall, the Chargers average 4.0 YPC rushing with the Bengals averaging 4.4 (in a game where the Bengals running did not particularly impress), so we just need to build on that.

5.  CJ Uzomah - was impressed with what he did in his pass targets.

6.  The pre-game demonstration - it was very tasteful and allowed most to be able to understand that players and people are hurting without alienating many with outlandish behavior and/or threats.  This is the way Americans need to be protesting in general so that we can all participate in the constructive aftermath.  Kudos to Bengals and Chargers.

The Bad

1.  Bengals OL in general - the run blocking offered Mixon very little.  Is the Chargers run D that good?  The pass blocking in general did not give Burrow enough time about every other pass (although I have to concede that Burrow did not appear to be seeing the windows and reading the D very well until late in the game).  Last year it took them well into the second half of the season before they figured out and committed focus to what they did well.  Hopefully, they can get that figured out more quickly, otherwise this season is going to hurt more than we like.  This Thursday we apparently will get Price in place of the injured (XSF... ankle sprain), so maybe the Price is right this time?

2.  DT health status - we cringed when Geno tapped out.  The Reader went down, and the Charger running game suddenly was on fire.  Not sure whether you noticed this, but Daniels was lifted off the ground by the pile on the last SD play (not counting the kneel down to end the game), landed on his legs oddly, and limped off the field.  It looked like he may have hyperextended at least one knee, but i haven't heard anything about it after the game (Update: today's Cincinnati.com article notes that he has a groin injury).  Hopefully he will be able to play on Thursday.  Hopefully it was just "cramps" with Reader.  We see how quickly the run D goes to crap when a couple of our big guys go down though, right?  Losing Wren and Tupou were big hits.  Put those two back on the roster and drop Covington... and you have a very hellacious DT slot (which is what the top D's have).  Playing Reader for 90% of the snaps, tho, is a recipe for disaster (he will be dead tired by end of games and will eventually get injured).

3.  Pass Rush - it looked very anemic.  Lawson appears to be sluggish.  Hubbard is more of an effort and pursuit type sacker.  Dunlap was not able to exert himself.  I look at effectiveness in this manner... we need about 50 sacks to have the kind of D that puts the right amount of pressure on an opposing QB.  That's 3 per game.  Anything less than that is generally a failure (although I concede that the really good QBs will get rid of the ball earlier to avoid sacks, and this is a success because it is taking away the deeper routes).

4.  John Ross - in a V-8 moment, we realize "we coulda had a Pat Mahomes."

The Ugly

1.  Bobby Hart in specific - ok, he was going mostly against a premier NFL DE in Joey Bosa but there were several things that made his effort difficult to accept.  On a few snaps Hart barely got a glove on Bosa, and that's plain unacceptable at this level (and will eventually get Burrow injured).  Particularly concerning to me was what happened after one sack where Bosa searched out Hart afterwards to talk $hit and rub his nose in it.  Usually NFL players only do this after their opponent has been talking $hit to them in advance.  So why is Hart talking $hit to Joey Bosa or anyone else on the field when he struggles to provide average OL play on any given play?  This is a serious concern when you realize that this sort of tactic usually stimulates an opponent to play better in a situation where Hart has to hope he keeps his opponent in a low production state.  I was surprised that Taylor did not replace Hart at halftime and will be disappointed if they do not try something different with Fred Johnson or Adeniji getting some RT snaps on Thursday.  Hart has shown through his public comments and his play that he is not a player to trust.  He's had his chances, and things are not going to change appreciably.  The team should look for an upgrade in-season acquisition here and move on.  I've never bought into that before, but his play, attitude, and character are just "that bad" to require such consideration.

2.  Bullard's last FG attempt - Wow!   That was definitely an old-time Mike Brown Bengals moment there, wasn't it?  But hey, for everyone calling for Bullard to be cut... c'mon man.  This guy is the ALL-TIME most accurate FG kicker in team history (or was before missing that kick).  You cannot cut a player for one singularly bad moment.  What kind of message does that send to the rest of the team?  Who are you getting at this point to replace him who is also better?  What kind of expectations does that put on every player?  Now if he starts kicking at a 60-70% clip over the season and misses 2-3 key kicks in a short period, that's a different story.  No, Bullard is not a top kicker in this league.  He is very steady and has been pretty dependable.  He doesn't have great range on FGs but does a really solid job on KOs establishing field position and doing what Darrin Simmons wants him to do.  There are a lot of NFL teams that demonstrate how a bad Kicker carousel looks.  Let's suck this one up and decide to watch the trend instead of knee-jerking calls to behead the guy.  And one more thing.... the K, in general, gets a soft tissue lower extremity injury almost every year in camp.  This is the reality of the kind of torque and muscle pressure that is put on a person kicking a ball with the kind of force and violence professional kickers exert.  Bullard apparently has two strained calves and is working through them.  One of them locked up at an inopportune moment.  This is an early season injury as the K gets back into regular season shape.

3.  TO ratio - killed by this again (and both late in game).  Mixon's rare fumble went to none other than Nick Vigil too (God, his porn stache looks terrible, doesn't it?).  That was just a great tackle by the Charger defender who put his hat right on the ball to dislodge it.. those things happen occasionally.  The Burrow shovel pass gone awry was just an ugly moment in a rookie QB's development.  Again, that's going to happen.  But the Bengals did not come up with a single takeaway, and that cannot happen if we expect to start winning more than losing.

4.  Zac Taylor's presence - just not feeling this yet at the start of season 2.  He is not the guy around whom the team will rally.  We gotta hope that vocal players like Burrow, Bell, Bynes, Hopkins, and Boyd can act as surrogates for the soft-spoken Taylor.  This, however, is Taylor's personality, and it can work if he combines it with the correct system and supporting cast.  We just don't know yet, however, whether these latter two factors are in place and/or coming anytime soon.

Wait & See

The season is young, and we really need to give them 4 games (like a pre-season) to see how things come together.  I know... how do you wait 4 games to see this when after that you could already be in a deep hole?  After watching the Ravens dissect the Browns and seeing Lamar Jackson looking even better as a thrower, we have to realize that we're way behind Baltimore in almost every facet of the game.  Our hope, tho, is to work on what we can do, play one game at a time, and start getting W's.  We are going to need to be patient with Joe Burrow as he figures things out.  You could see that happening in real time during the game. 

A few final things I noticed:

*  A.J. Green did some great things even tho he still looked a bit sluggish

*  Boyd did not get enough targets; Tate got none; Higgins got none; Mixon did not get good quality targets

*  They did not open up the passing tree early enough in the game... too much short stuff and/or not enough time to work the longer routes

*  Jonah Williams side of the OL was quiet in a good way.

*  The TE play in general was positive

*  Bates' play was pretty darn good

*  To become winners, this team needs to learn how to put an opponent away when they're on the ropes.

*  Zac Taylor really needs to assert himself more as soon as possible.  He doesn't seem to have much personality, and that will reflect on his team.

*  Football just isn't the same with COVID in the way.

not for one god damn second 

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Great analysis as always.

No idea when you decided to change randy's last name, but you still do it (it's Bullock).  I get giving him a pass for missing one kick, but here's my thing.... he has consistently choked when the game is on the line.  The Christmas game against the Texans.  The Pitt game a couple of years ago when he missed TWO in the last 5-6 minutes.  There are others.  I just don't trust him in tight situations.  he's the Andy Dalton of kickers.  Kicks a 57 yarder in the playoffs when we were losing by 20.  Nice kick, but no real pressure.  And the worst part is we had a much better option who missed a few in PRACTICE (cue the Iverson rant) but let him get away.

 

Hart is horrible, and just not worth the hassle.  Let Johnson getn a crack.  It can't be worse.  But Thursday could.  Bosa was all over Burrow Sunday.  But the two have history from their OSU days and just kept pushing him over.  Cleveland's ends won't do that.  Pitt's OLBs won't do that.  This won't end well no matter how you slice it.

I thought the WER distribution was weird.  Green got his looks, but Boyd, who should be Burrow's highest volume target, only got a few.  Tate and Higgins got none.  That has to change.  Ross?  I'm so over it.

 

Defense looked great.  I thought the Bell/Bates pair was outstanding.  Now I saw daniels get up and limp off, but hopefully he's OK Thursday.  reader actually returned to the game.  And let's hope that Geno can play as well.

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I'll take the unknown potentially terrible in Fred Johnson over the known terrible Bobby Hart

Hard to be stout in the middle when your top 4 DT are all out.  I did see Mike Daniels make a few nice plays though.

I don't believe Bullock for a second.  Especially when he says he'll be ready to kick Thursday.  He choked when it mattered most (as he does) and then pulls an 8 year old, "Ow ow ow, I'm hurt" after he screws the pooch.

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I couldn't watch the game, so i'm not going to grade your analysis.  Seems to line up with what i heard.

In no way am i doubting Burrow though.  The guy needs time, and we just need to see improvement.  I don't know that anyone realistically expects him to throw 35 touchdowns this year.  

I'm also not sure i agree with the defense of Bullock.  Yeah he makes some kicks, but like @INbengalfan mentioned, he misses pretty much all the big ones with few exceptions.  They should at least be bringing in some kickers today to see what else is out there.  Though with the COVID rules, i'm not sure they can actually sign anyone to play this Thursday so they may be screwed if he's really actually hurt.

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14 hours ago, west tx bengal fan said:

Burrow was in double-digits for passing yardage in the first half, and you had to be wondering if this was going to be a season of wondering how Andy Dalton may have fared

What the? How could you think that for even one second?! I would take a turnover-riddened Burrow experience over Dalton’s best day at QB.

Rookie QBs make mistakes. It’s how they learn. There is so much to adjust to making the leap from college to the pros that turnovers and growing pains are the norm for any rookie QB of any caliber. This season isn’t about making the playoffs. It’s about Burrow getting his feet wet and establishing the building blocks for our future. 

14 hours ago, west tx bengal fan said:

Alexander was solid (along with WJax and Phillips).

I actually thought Philips was pretty poor. 

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Good responses so far... I'll try to get some answers back to points made.

1.  On Burrow vs. Dalton thoughts - it's a temptation to look at what you used to have in comparison to the new thing.  Even tho we know that there will be growing pains with Burrow, we expect the ceiling to be a lot higher.  At the same time there is a temptation to fantasize that we will defy all odds with Burrow playing like Joe Montana right out of the gate.  What we saw vs. the Chargers was a reminder that the NFL is very tough competition where the worst team is still a ton better than the best competition in college.  But the concept of "what would Andy have done" was simply a thought that goes through many's minds when your new QB is under 100 yards passing well into the 3rd Quarter.  Simple as that.  I'm confident that Burrow will improve.. heck, he was better by the 4th Quarter which signifies a quick learner, right?  One more thing... Burrow was playing without having a decent amount of summer practices with Green or Ross, so the timing is definitely off for a QB who clearly notes that one of his secrets to success is simply throwing the ball to his guys over and over in practice until it's second nature and muscle memory.  Nobody I know wants Dalton back tho.  Nooooo-body.

2.  Bullock vs. Bullard - poor proof-reading on my part.  INdy knows that I've Malapropped that one several times prior.  And since Bullock is close to "bollocks," the Brits slang for $hit, you'd think that I'd remember that name?  Anyway, I'm going to disagree with the field here and simply point out these things about the current K:

a.  When I want to criticize a STs player, I think about the coach who banks on him.  Our STs coordinator Simmons is very well our best coach.  He is the only Bengal coach in the Mike Brown era to have a #1 unit over the course of a season.  When Simmons is done with Bullock and moves on, I'll be on board.

b.  For some reasons the Bengals have never been a franchise that goes for the booming Kicker.  It's almost always been the finesse guys.  Frankly, I think that makes sense.  If you hit the opposing 30 with Bullock, you've got an 85% chance of getting 3 (if you don't turn it over).  You also have one of the better opposing starting yardlines after kickoffs with Bullock.  Yes, he has missed some kicks and is shaky outside of 50.  People in Cincy recently named Jim Breech as one of the top 20 Bengals of all time.  Great guy, Breech... but top 20 all-time player?  No way.  He was very similar to Bullock.. even a bit shorter.  But very accurate, and that's what you want first and foremost.

c.  Kickers really can't win in the long run.  No matter how good, accurate etc. they are, things will eventually get worse.  I look no further than Vinitieri and Gostkowski to remind myself... two of the best kickers ever and now regarded as bums for more recent failings.  We will not find the Holy Grail of kickers on the wire right now, nor will we find that guy as a rookie.  Yes, the grabbing of the leg was disappointing and made you want to yell obscene things at the guy.  But it is an early season thing with kickers and punters that they get groin pulls and leg strains... just a physiology thing where the guys are getting back to peak condition and need to get all the muscle groups back into shape.  It was really difficult to see that Mike Vanderjagt moment, but we'll be a much better team when we're winning games by 10 in the 4th Quarter instead of counting on the Kicker to get us to OT.

 

3.  D looks better - looks like most agree.  Reading that Reader will be back, Daniels has a bad groin, and Geno prob out again vs. Cleveland.  So Reader is going to get tired, and this will be a problem.  I'm wondering which vet DT out there might be a good pickup for a few games at this point... we just need a big guy to eat space when Reader is getting a breather.

a.  Phillips - struggled some but battled.. and it was his 3rd career start going against one of the better pair of athletic WRs in the league.

b.  Bynes - played better than advertised.

c.  Bell/Bates - gotta love it.. stay healthy, please

 

4.  OL - if you were thinking that maybe it would be better than analysts were saying, you better rethink it.  The right side of the OL is really bad.  XSF, now out for several weeks, didn't get much push before exiting.  Price gets his shot, and let's see if his off-season added bulk makes a difference.  No use in complaining about Hart.. for some reason they're sold that he's the best option, and that's saying something pretty bad about Johnson and Adeniji.  I could try to note that Hart was mostly going against Joey Bosa, but I just keep revisualizing Bosa running past him like he wasn't there and then running back to get in Hart's face.  Bosa is reportedly a pretty nice guy between snaps, so that tells me that Hart is still a mouthy punk who thinks he's better than he is and can't back up his talk.  Frankly, I'd like to see Hart go to RG and get some snaps next to Johnson and/or Adeniji because we gotta figure out if Hart has any value when we go RT in the 1st or 2nd next draft.

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Moving one further on the squad and the next game.

Looks like they picked up and interim kicker.  Smart move to get the Browns just released kicker as he will know the stadium and wind conditions there... which will help considering that he probably won't get to kick much with the team until he passes two COVID tests etc.  They moved XSF to IR-return to bring him on.  And they signed DE Amani Bledsoe while dropping CB Tory McTyer.  My bet is that McTyer will be on and off the roster during the season as a bubble guy.... but we'll see.  Bledsoe moved up from the PS onto the roster (along with Trayvon Henderson) last Sunday in a move that surprised me (but was forecast by INdy... kudos INdy).  Surprised the Bengals did that, but (as I learned last week) it costs the team nothing to move every practice squad player onto the roster for two weeks during the course of the season.. so why not?

For Thursday's game the teams both have very little time to scheme for their opponent and have less time to recuperate from the prior Sunday's game.  That means that the Bengals, light at DT and OL, might be attacked by the Browns in those areas.  I didn't see much about Cleveland's beat down from Baltimore.  It looked like Jackson ran and threw at will, but the Ravens have a much better OL while Jackson has a couple of good NFL years of experience already in hand.

Let's hope that the Bengals do better in these areas:

1.  Spreading the ball on O to more WRs.. more targets for Boyd and Tate.  Get Higgins involved.  Throw to Mixon downfield once in a while.

2.  Get Mixon into the clear more often.  He really only had that one 14 yard run vs. the Chargers.  Bengals and Burrow need that to back the DBs and LBs off the ball a bit.

3.  Pray that Bobbie Hart doesn't get Burrow killed with the Browns also having very good / great bookend DEs.

4.  Throw the ball downfield early.

5.  Get more pressure on the opposing QB... really was the biggest thing the D was missing vs. LA (until Reader left and the middle lost its push)

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9 hours ago, west tx bengal fan said:

c.  Kickers really can't win in the long run.  No matter how good, accurate etc. they are, things will eventually get worse.  I look no further than Vinitieri and Gostkowski to remind myself... two of the best kickers ever and now regarded as bums for more recent failings.  We will not find the Holy Grail of kickers on the wire right now, nor will we find that guy as a rookie.  Yes, the grabbing of the leg was disappointing and made you want to yell obscene things at the guy.  But it is an early season thing with kickers and punters that they get groin pulls and leg strains... just a physiology thing where the guys are getting back to peak condition and need to get all the muscle groups back into shape.  It was really difficult to see that Mike Vanderjagt moment, but we'll be a much better team when we're winning games by 10 in the 4th Quarter instead of counting on the Kicker to get us to OT.

I get that Bullock has to go through that, but I don't get the why.  Despite COVID, he can actually stay in great game shape.  He could kick literally anywhere he wanted with a tee.  It can't be dehydration, because he mostly stood around, minus the kickoffs.  Potassium fixes that.  I do agree that kickers are born to lose, as they are a "what have you done for me lately" kinda bunch.  I'm just stuck with the notion that he has shrinkage under pressure.  I literally looked at my son when the OPI gt called and said "watch this guy miss a chip shot".  Guess I didn't need to watch.  

And in the end, it won't matter much, other than starting the season off well.  I thought we'd take our lumps this year, and expect to get better as the season rolls on.  And since I love the draft, it puts us on the clock earlier, not that it matters now (I always want them to win, well, except the last few games last year that ensured Burrow).  Maybe we get on a roll in a few weeks and push for the WC.  If not, ,remember that it is a building season and keep rolling with the punches.  Speaking of punches, anyone else want to punch the back linesman that a) called the OPI, b) missed their TE going out of bounds at least five yards earlier than marked, and c) called the Personal foul on Bates for hitting a WR with his shoulder?  Same guy on all three plays.  Just sayin'

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10 hours ago, west tx bengal fan said:

a.  Phillips - struggled some but battled.. and it was his 3rd career start going against one of the better pair of athletic WRs in the league.

 

It's a bad matchup for Phillips.  Williams plays aggressively and is like 8" taller.  Phillips will have better days, i'm pretty confident.

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10 hours ago, west tx bengal fan said:

1.  On Burrow vs. Dalton thoughts - it's a temptation to look at what you used to have in comparison to the new thing.  Even tho we know that there will be growing pains with Burrow, we expect the ceiling to be a lot higher.  At the same time there is a temptation to fantasize that we will defy all odds with Burrow playing like Joe Montana right out of the gate.  What we saw vs. the Chargers was a reminder that the NFL is very tough competition where the worst team is still a ton better than the best competition in college.  But the concept of "what would Andy have done" was simply a thought that goes through many's minds when your new QB is under 100 yards passing well into the 3rd Quarter.  Simple as that.  I'm confident that Burrow will improve.. heck, he was better by the 4th Quarter which signifies a quick learner, right?  One more thing... Burrow was playing without having a decent amount of summer practices with Green or Ross, so the timing is definitely off for a QB who clearly notes that one of his secrets to success is simply throwing the ball to his guys over and over in practice until it's second nature and muscle memory.  Nobody I know wants Dalton back tho.  Nooooo-body.

 

You brought it up, so here's my thoughts on what Dalton would have done on Sunday.

cameron-wake.gif

Andy does some things well, but handle pressure was not one of them.  Joe was under pressure all day and handled it pretty well IMO.  I think Andy would have been worse off.

Maybe he makes that throw to Green, but i'd be willing to bet that there would have been more negative plays than Joe had.

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1 hour ago, INbengalfan said:

I literally looked at my son when the OPI gt called and said "watch this guy miss a chip shot". 

Reminds me of 2009 season.  I lived in Chattanooga and had season tix .. 5 hr drive each way.  Made it to 6-7 of the 10 games.  Season opener was Denver.  Winning 7-6 after late TD pass by Palmer.  Sitting with my cousin, I said “They can’t screw this one up” to which he said “I don’t know - they are the Bengals.”  Literally seconds later, Brandon Stokely catches the deflected 80-something yard pass.  They found a way to lose.  
 

We are in this one tho for the long haul and need to be thinking about how the team looks in 6 weeks, a year, and by 2022.  That’s the reality of being the worst team in the league and turning it around.  We ought to be good at this as we’ve had practice being the worst.  Just wondering whether Zac’s the right guy now.  I don’t like that he calls the plays now... he didn’t even call them with the Rams.  Only one game played... gotta give Super Joe time.

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1 hour ago, west tx bengal fan said:

Reminds me of 2009 season.  I lived in Chattanooga and had season tix .. 5 hr drive each way.  Made it to 6-7 of the 10 games.  Season opener was Denver.  Winning 7-6 after late TD pass by Palmer.  Sitting with my cousin, I said “They can’t screw this one up” to which he said “I don’t know - they are the Bengals.”  Literally seconds later, Brandon Stokely catches the deflected 80-something yard pass.  They found a way to lose.  
 

We are in this one tho for the long haul and need to be thinking about how the team looks in 6 weeks, a year, and by 2022.  That’s the reality of being the worst team in the league and turning it around.  We ought to be good at this as we’ve had practice being the worst.  Just wondering whether Zac’s the right guy now.  I don’t like that he calls the plays now... he didn’t even call them with the Rams.  Only one game played... gotta give Super Joe time.

That game is exactly what Sunday reminded me of.  I called my season ticket partner and said we just got Stokley'd...  by ourselves this time.  My only funny recollection of that game (and gary and I still make fun of her for it) was my sister left the game after Palmer hit the go-ahead TD pass with ten seconds or whatever left.  She didn't see it.  When we met at the car, she was high fiving everyone.  She got mad when i wouldn't.  She didn't see the Stokley hail mary or the TD.  We actually had to turn the radio on to get her to believe we lost.  What a blonde moment for her, and yes, she is blonde.

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5 hours ago, INbengalfan said:

That game is exactly what Sunday reminded me of.  I called my season ticket partner and said we just got Stokley'd...  by ourselves this time.  My only funny recollection of that game (and gary and I still make fun of her for it) was my sister left the game after Palmer hit the go-ahead TD pass with ten seconds or whatever left.  She didn't see it.  When we met at the car, she was high fiving everyone.  She got mad when i wouldn't.  She didn't see the Stokley hail mary or the TD.  We actually had to turn the radio on to get her to believe we lost.  What a blonde moment for her, and yes, she is blonde.

The other one that comes to mind is the loss to 49ers in 1987.  Wyche tried to run out clock on 4th down sweep that was blown up after which Montana hit Rice for game-ending TD and one-point win after XP.  All three of these games were home openers - Bengals made playoffs the other two years.

Did see today that Hayward (CB for Chargers who drew OPI call on AJ at end) won AFC D player of week.... good player there altho still think call by BJ on that one was crappy when LJ standing right in front of play didn’t call it.  But that’s Bengal’s fate until they’re a better team and can expect to get some close calls.  Right now have to conclude that franchise simply doesn’t know how to win.  Hopefully Joe shows then the way.

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