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Tag:Andre Caldwell
Posted on: November 9, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Film Room: Bengals vs. Steelers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



So let’s get this straight: the Steelers, at a respectable 6-3, are in third place of the AFC North? And it’s not the soft-scheduled Browns they’re chasing, but rather, the dysfunctional Bengals?

We’re going to find out over the next two months whether the Bengals are a Cinderella story or a farce. First, let’s establish some expectations by examining what the film has revealed over the past two months.



1. The ginger rookie & Jon Gruden’s brother
There’s a growing movement to anoint Andy Dalton the Offensive Rookie of the Year instead of Cam Newton. That’s a fair. Dalton’s team is 6-2, Newton’s is 2-6. But let’s keep our perspective and remember that Dalton is NOT the physical specimen that Newton is. He doesn’t have Newton’s arm, wheels or athletic improv skills. And he’s not being asked to do the same things as Newton.

That said, Dalton has been much closer to Newton’s athletic level than anyone would have ever guessed. He has shown the arm strength to make just about every throw that first-year offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has asked of him. He’s been poised when operating from a muddied pocket, and he’s very good at releasing the ball on the move.

Gruden has done a phenomenal job playing to Dalton’s strengths. The Bengals have a balanced attack that hinges on play-action and rollouts, two concepts that slice the field for a quarterback and help define his reads (see graphic). Gruden also incorporates a lot of three-and five-step drops – another simplification tactic. As a result, the Bengals offense has not only been nearly mistake-free but also calm and consistent.

A play-action rollout simplifies things for a quarterback by essentially slicing the field in half. In this sample (against a basic two-man coverage), a fake handoff compels the defense to flow left. The only defenders who go right are the ones responsible for the two receivers running their patterns to the right.

Quarterbacking 101 teaches you to never throw across your body or back across the field. Thus, after the quarterback rolls out, he only has to read the right side of the field, which consists of nothing but his two receivers and their defensive matchups. Often, the read is simplified even more by throwing to wherever the free safety is not giving help-coverage. If a play is there, it’s easy for the quarterback to see.

If nothing’s there, the quarterback has plenty of room to throw the ball away or scramble.

2. The “sure thing” receiver & other weapons
Wideout A.J. Green has been exactly what you’d expect a No. 4 overall pick to be in Year One. He’s averaging roughly five catches, 75 yards and a little more than half a touchdown per game. He’s clearly Dalton’s go-to guy, being targeted almost automatically when facing one-on-one coverage. Green has a wide catching radius thanks to uncommon body control and a great vertical leap. He’ll climb to the top echelon of receivers once he polishes his route running (he has a bad tendency to yield ground and inside positioning on downfield patterns).

The receiving weapons around Green have been solid. Jermaine Gresham can cause matchup problems in the flats. Veteran Donald Lee has filled in well in the wake of Gresham’s hamstring injury the past two weeks. Jerome Simpson has shown why the team did not discipline him harshly after police found Costco amounts of marijuana in his home this past September. To be blunt, Simpson’s quickness is too valuable to take off the field. He’s much more reliable than Andre Caldwell.

Surprisingly, the black-and-blue ground game that figured to define Cincy’s offense has been extremely average thus far (the statistics support this, as Cincy ranks 28th with 3.7 yards per carry). Cedric Benson is a methodical, patient runner who needs steady blocking in order to thrive. He has gotten that, but not at the level he did two years ago when he averaged nearly 100 yards per game.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, despite a poor outing last week, has played at a Pro Bowl level, and right tackle Andre Smith has flashed astonishing power a few times. But the interior line and ancillary blockers (such as a sixth offensive lineman/fullback/tight end) have been up-and-down.

3. Defensive Overview
The Bengals have a deep, active defensive line that’s extremely potent against the run but just so-so against the pass. Tackles Geno Atkins and Pat Sims both regularly win phone booth matchups in impressive fashion, and Domata Peko almost always punishes teams who try to block him one-on-one. If he’s not penetrating, he’s stalemating in a way that allows teammates to make plays.
 
None of these inside players are dominant pass-rushers, though. And there isn’t much firepower outside. End Michael Johnson uses his athleticism in myriad ways but is not a regular presence in the backfield. Intriguing second-year pro Carlos Dunlap replaces Robert Geathers on passing downs. Dunlap, with his unusual upright style and sinewy explosiveness, is certainly capable of reaching the quarterback, but he’s also capable of disappearing for long stretches.

An impotent pass-rush can put considerable pressure on a secondary. Leon Hall is an elite cover corner who does not command a lot of safety help over the top. Using him in isolated solo coverage is a double-edge sword that has stabbed opponents slightly more than it’s stabbed the Bengals this season. Safeties Reggie Nelson and Chris Crocker are hit-or-miss in coverage but capable of playing in space or the box. They give Mike Zimmer options.

Veteran Nate Clements has done a commendable job replacing Johnathan Joseph. Clements has been especially aggressive in short, underneath coverage. Helping in this facet is the fact that linebackers Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson both move well in the flats. It’s a little surprising that Lawson, who is replaced by Brandon Johnson in nickel (Johnson is the more comfortable of the two between the tackles), hasn’t been asked to put his hand in the dirt on passing downs.

4. Something to consider
This is a sharp, fundamentally sound defense that plays well as a unit in Mike Zimmer’s fairly aggressive scheme. But it’s also a defense that has yet to be tested. Look at the Bengals’ schedule thus far. They opened against Cleveland and Denver, two teams with major problems at wide receiver.

They faced San Francisco in Week 3, a good team but a very, very basic offense. They beat Buffalo in Week 4. Buffalo has a much-improved offense, but they’re not exactly Green Bay. Or even Dallas (never mind what the stats might say). After that it was Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Seattle, three teams with a total of zero proven quarterbacks. Last week the Bengals handled a Tennessee offense that’s respectable but nothing close to dynamic (especially through the air).

You couldn’t ask to face a more banal collection of offenses. This defense is fantastic against the run, but it remains to be seen how it will respond against a rhythmic, up-tempo passing attack.  

5. Matchup with the Steelers
Pittsburgh does have an elite, formidable offense. Cincinnati’s ho-hum pass-rush is not ideal for defending Ben Roethlisberger’s late-in-the-down magic.

The Bengals at least catch a break with wideout Emmanuel Sanders being out (arthroscopic knee surgery). Sanders would have given the Steelers aerial attack third source of speed, which Zimmer’s nickel unit may not be equipped to combat. Instead, it will be either Hines Ward or Jericho Cotchery threatening to catch six-yard slants out of the slot.

On the other side, the only defense comparable to Pittsburgh’s that this Cincy offense has faced is San Francisco’s in Week 3. The Niners were physical in taking away the receivers’ quick routes. The result was eight points and a 1/10 third down success rate for the Bengals. However, Dalton’s game has expanded since then. If need be, it’s possible, though not probable, that he’ll be able to put the team on his back and open things up for the first time this season.

Unless there continues to be slews of the fortuitous field position breaks that this Bengals offense has frequently enjoyed this season, he’ll need to.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 10 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Lewis hasn't ruled Simpson out for 49ers game

Simpson could still play Sunday. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Earlier this week, police detained and questioned Bengals players Jerome Simpson and Anthony Collins after someone at Simpson's house signed for a package containing 2.5 pounds of high-grade marijuana from California. No arrests were made, but authorities found six more pounds of marijuana inside Simpson's home.

Collins has been cleared by coach Marvin Lewis -- and more importantly, a Kentucky prosecutor -- of any wrongdoing, and according to a statement released by Collins' lawyer, the only thing he's guilty of is poor timing.

Simpson, meanwhile, missed practice on Thursday and Friday as the team figures out what to do with a player recently found with more than eight pounds of pot in his home. Simpson is listed as questionable on the Bengals' injury report, although there's a chance he plays Sunday when Cincinnati hosts San Francisco.

“We’re still taking to people and figuring out what the best thing is for Jerome,” Lewis said, according to Cincinnati Enquirer 's Joe Reedy. “Any decisions I make on it are going to be based on what people recommend is the best thing for him.”

Lewis has spoken with Simpson in recent days and says that “he’s as anyone would be caught in a situation like that. We have to continue to support him and help him that way.”

Reedy reports that Simpson, who caught four passes for 136 yards during last week's loss the Broncos, has become one of the most followed Bengals on Twitter. But after this week's incident, he has shut down his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

While it's easy to dismiss this as the latest example of the Bengals being the Bengals, it's a tad more complicated than that.

“There hasn’t been a non profit, a school visit a visit to a hospital that Jerome Simpson hasn’t been involved in,” Lewis said. “He’s done as much as anyone on the team in being part of the community. I think that’s why everyone feels the way they do. The process really has to (carry itself out) and unfortunately it became more public than we expected it to be. But it is what it is right now.”

And "what it is" includes the possibility that Simpson might be on the field Sunday. If he doesn't, Andre Caldwell, normally the team's No. 4 receiver, could be in the starting lineup.


After a tough loss last week in overtime, the 49ers look to bounce back as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this game.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 19, 2011 5:31 pm
 

Jordan Shipley to IR with ACL injury

Shipley's done for '11. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has outpaced expectations through two weeks of the regular season, so much so that the Carson Palmer era officially appears to be over. But Dalton, who has thrown for 413 yards, completed 66.1 percent of his passes, and tossed three touchdowns and no interceptions, will be without second-year wide receiver Jordan Shipley for the rest of the year.

Shipley, out of the University of Texas, will be placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL against Denver Sunday, head coach Marvin Lewis announced. CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner adds that Andre Caldwell, who was splitting reps with Shipley in the slot, will now take the majority of snaps with help from Brandon Tate.

Tate was signed off waivers after the Patriots released him prior to Week 1.

Shipley had to be helped off the field after Broncos cornerback Cassius Vaughn tackled him low, but Lewis had no problem with the play.

"That was just a tackle," said Lewis. "The way the game is put together now if he were hit helmet-to-helmet or shoulder-to-helmet it would have been a play that came in violation of some of our rules now. So down low is legal."

As a rookie, Shipley caught 52 passes for 600 yards and three touchdowns.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 27, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 5:48 pm
 

Why do the Bengals want Owens?

T. Owens at the ESPY Awards (Getty). I’m still a little confused about the interest shown to Terrell Owens by the Bengals. I wrote Monday about why owner Mike Brown likes him – Owens is still a good receiver and Brown considers himself a redeemer – and the Cincinnati Enquirer has reported that originally, Owens wanted $6 million of guaranteed money.

Today, TMZ tracked down Owens, and he said, “I know what I made last year ($6.5 million), so we’re trying to maybe cut that half and see what I can work with. I’m flexible.”

But even if Owens – who, at this point, isn’t going to the Rams or the Jets – makes $3 million of guaranteed money and gets an incentive-laden contract, I don’t quite see how he fits in with the Bengals.

There had been speculation that No. 2 WR Antonio Bryant – who signed a four-year, $28 million contract in the offseason – continues to have knee problems, but when I asked coach Marvin Lewis about that Monday, he said, “It has nothing to do with Antonio. We took steps in the spring to put Antonio into different spots, so he could play inside and play different spots. It’s not reflective of Antonio at all.”

So, say Bryant is healthy. With Chad Ochocinco as the No. 1 receiver and Bryant as No. 2, would Owens be content as the No. 3? Considering Andre Caldwell played the No. 3 spot relatively well last year and considering rookie Jordan Shipley will see plenty of playing time, how much is left over for Owens?

One positive in Owens’ favor: the Bengals don’t have much of a deep threat, and the coaches feel Owens showed last year in Buffalo that he still has the speed to be effective on go routes. Perhaps, that’s one option for him.

But remember this, it’s not like the Bengals were flinging the ball all over the field last year. Before he was injured, RB Cedric Benson was near the top of the league leaderboard in rushing attempts. There might be more passing plays added to the playbook this year, but this still won’t be the Bengals of a few years ago when it was the Carson Palmer-T.J. Houshmandzadeh-Chad Johnson show.

If the Bengals sign Owens, he’s sure to make the roster. That would leave Quan Cosby, Matt Jones and Jerome Simpson fighting for the final spot. Is Owens better than the three of them? Yes, probably. But is he worth a new contract? I’m just not sure I see the point.

UPDATE (5:34 p.m.): Pro Football Talk is reporting that Owens has signed with the Bengals.

UPDATE (5:46 p.m.): The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy reports it's a one-year deal for $2 million base pay and with $2 million worth of incentives.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .




Posted on: July 26, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Bengals serious about signing Terrell Owens

CINCINNATI – Bengals owner Mike Brown and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis haven’t always agreed when personnel issues arise.

Brown fancies himself a redeemer – which is why the Bengals always seem to bring in players of ill repute – while Lewis is constantly trying to keep a harmonious locker room with no single individual who feels he can run amok. The most infamous disagreement occurred in 2007 when Brown re-signed WR Chris Henry over Lewis’ public objections.

Today at the annual Bengals media preseason luncheon, Brown seemed excited about the possibility of adding Terrell Owens, saying he looked into Owens’ eyes when the two met earlier this year and came away convinced Owens could add to the team without taking anything away. Lewis, at least in months past, hasn’t seemed keen on the idea of bringing on another receiver that attempts to hijack all the attention of the locker room.

But perhaps QB Carson Palmer changed his coach’s perception last week when he worked out with Owens in California and called to give Lewis his positive report.

“Carson’s comments to me … let’s just say … they resonate well,” Lewis said. “I know when Carson has something on his mind when he calls me and I call him back from an unknown number and he answers. I know something serious was on his mind.”

The Bengals, it turns out, are serious about wanting to sign Owens – who also is attracting strong interest from the Rams.

“We’re talking with his representatives and with him,” Brown said. “When he was here, I met with him personally. Privately, he’s not the same as his public image is depicted. He’s a pleasant person. He’s a quiet person. I found him engaging. I do trust my own eyes on this sort of thing. If he chooses to come here, he could help our team. We’ll see how that plays out. It’s his decision.

“I judge him by what I see. There’s a lot of commentary about people who are in the public eye. Some of it is way overboard. Some it is because people don’t know the whole situation. Yes, people can make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they go on the rest of their lives making mistakes. They can get their ship pointed in the right direction. This is a 36-year old man. He’s been through a lot. He’s proven as a player.”

The Bengals, from a personnel stance, don’t really need to make this move. Owens wasn’t great in Buffalo last year – though, to be fair, Ryan Fitzpatrick was the one throwing passes his way – and the Bengals have plenty of depth in their receivers room.

Chad Ochocinco is No. 1 and free agent acquisition Antonio Bryant – who the Bengals signed instead of Owens – is the No. 2 receiver. At best, Owens would be the No. 3 threat, but it’s clear Andre Caldwell would try to stake his claim there. Plus, rookie Jordan Shipley, an inside receiver, was impressive in offseason workouts and is a lock to make the roster. Cincinnati also has youth at the position with third-year player Jerome Simpson and second-year player Quan Cosby fighting with Matt Jones for the final roster spots.

“Somebody is going to get stifled,” Lewis said. “There’s no way around that. It’s one of the difficulties of professional sports is that balance. What is the best thing for 2010 and long-range and trying to fit that balance together.”

So, why bring in Owens? Simple, Brown said. He’s still a good player.

“He changes field position,” Brown said. “He makes a lot of long plays, plays that win games. I’d rather have him line up on our side of the ball than the other side of the ball.”

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com