Sorry for the long period off folks (for the entire one person that actually follows this blog, LOL) but I have been in recovery mode after a nasty little car wreck. I came out relativley healthy, except the broken wrist and eight broken fingers. I still have two massive casts where my hands once were, but they were recently remolded and my fingers surprising are a lot more mobile (though still not pain free). This post still took me a rediculously long time to type up so I don't think I will be writing anything regularly, but I hope to be able to muster the energy to get a post out here and there.
ANYWAYS, on to football!
WHO DEY! WHO DEY! WHO DEY SAY GONNA BEAT THEM BENGALS! WHO DEY! WHO DEY! WHO DEY!
How about Cinncinatti? I had good feelings about this team since way into the preseason, but I never thought they would be anywhere near this impressive. I was thinking they had a shot at a wildcard, not a go ahead play for the division win and possible a first round bye! This team is just clicking on so many levels it is fantastic!
How about the two great coordinators? Bratowski has been fantastic with his play-calling this year. The unbalanced lines were a stroke of genious. And he has been able to work players like Palmer and Chad back into the fold while molding new pieces like Scott, Leonard, and Coles so well into this offense. If this offense keeps improving like this I can't wait to see how good they look in December and January. And Zimmer, WOW! Where was this defense a few years back? He has taken so many so called "Scrap Heap" players and turned them into defensive standouts. Like the offense, I think this defense is only going to get better as the season progresses. Simmons has gotten great results and made some great adjustments to the specail teams. And Marvin has been great. His psychological plays with the blank jerseys and different mottos, like "NOT DEAD, CAN'T QUIT" is just perfect. He truly has a feel for the pulse of this team.
COACHING- A- (The minus is for the Larry Johnson signing because I'm still unsure about it.)
Quarterback- B+ Carson has been great. He is showing great pocket presence and not forcing throws. I still would like to see the passing game opened up a little bit more, but why fix what clearly isn't broken?
Running Back- B Benson is a beast, no doubt. By himself he gets and A+. But he is absorbing way to much punishment because of the heavy workload. I wish the backups could produce at a higher level. Leonard has been an excellent third down back, and Scott is really showing promise, but neither of them show the abillity to produce like an every down back. As much as a hate to say it, maybe that's why Larry is here.
Fullback- C+ Why knock a position that is doing so much to help the running game? Because outside of that there has been very little production. The FBs are neither threats to run or catch the ball. A considering that we have two on the roster, you would think that one of them should be able to at least pose that wrinkle to opposing defenses, right?
Wideout- B+ Chad is back, and Henry was playing his role perfectly. Caldwell has the look of a future stud. So what are my gripes? Simpson, for a second round pick, has been a no show. And Coles seems like a forgotten man at times. But hey, when you can pluck a player like Purfiy off the practice squad, then things look pretty good.
Tightend- B Let me explain why I rated what is by far the weakest position on the Offense so high before you lambast me. First realize that at the beginning of the Pre-season, Foschi was a no-name waiver-wire player, and Coates was looking like a lock to be cut. So with that in mind, their production is quite surprising. They have actually been more of an asset in the running game than anything. Add in the occasional catch here and there, and this position is really outpreforming its expectations.
Offensive Line- A You really have to rate them as a group, because thats how they play, AS A GROUP. The O-line was at one-point expected to be a weakspot, but with the steady play of Journey Men like Roland, Cook, and Mathis, and solid play of verterans like Williams and Whitworth, this line is a huge surprise. And the future seems to be in good hands, based on the reports about Collins and Smith.
Defensive Line- A I could really just copy over my report on the Offensive line over to the D-line and just edit in different names. Who thought this D-line could keep it up even with the loss of Odom? Geathers, Johnson, Peko and Sims all have lived up to and exceeded expectations. Fanene and Rucker have finnally shown life after spending so much time on the injury lists. And who hasn't already fallen in love with Michael Johnson?
Linebackers- A It's hard not to just give the entire Defense an A and call it a day. Dahni Jones has been an excellent on field coach and veteran presence. Rivers and Mauluga will be a great tandem in the near future, and, by the way, they are playing really well right now too. It's hard to believe that Brandon Johnson and Rashard Jeanty aren't starting right now. They have just been that good on special teams and as backups.
Cornerbacks- B This isn't a knock on J-Joe or Leon, because they have been playing like Pro-Bowlers. Its more of a fear when it comes to the backups. Trent played well against the Steelers, but besides that he has really seemed like a rookie. And David Jones has the physical skills, but not always the awareness. That said, they are both young and have time to improve. I just don't trust them right now.
Safety- B Yes they have played great at times. But at other times, their aggresiveness has been a problem and they let the big play go. Individually they are playing great. Crocker has been to the secondary what Dahni was to the linebackers. And Roy was playing great until his injury. Ndukwe looks like, once again a young player on the rise. And I like Tom Nelson. With a little more discipline, this unit could jump back up to an A level.
Specail Teams- B The coverage units seem to have found their grove. An as of this week, the two returners seem to be set with Scott and Cosby. The field goal unit seems to have settled down with the change of long snapper from St. Louis to Harris. Huber has come back down to earth a little, but he still looks like a stud punter for years to come.
Overall- B+ There still are some spots that could use some improvement, but good coaches can cover up those weaknesses. As long as this team can keep it's head in the game and not overlook a single game until the whistle blows, there is no reason not to believe that this couldn't be a Superbowl Team. We will just have to see how the do when/if they get to the playoffs and matchup agains the Pats, Colts, Saints, Chargers, Vikings, Broncos, and Cardinals. And there maybe another matchup with the Steelers in the Cards. Overall, we should probably just wait and see.