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Tag:Cincinnati Bengals
Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:50 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 6:46 pm
 

Dolphins hire Mike Sherman as OC

Sherman's reportedly set to become the Dolphins OC. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Mike Sherman missed out on the Buccaneers job when Tampa hired Greg Schiano of Rutgers, and his consolation prize will be the offensive coordinator position with the Miami Dolphins.

The team officially announced Friday evening that Sherman would take over Miami's offense and that Miami had hired Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle to fill the defensive coordinator position.

“I’m excited that Mike Sherman and Kevin Coyle have decided to accept the positions of offensive and defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins, respectively,” said Dolphins coach Joe Philbin in a statement.“They are exactly what I am looking for in terms of leadership, character, and teaching ability. They are both very passionate about the game of football and the players they coach, and that enthusiasm is evident in the meetings rooms and on the field. They are excellent family men and I’m thrilled they are joining the Dolphins’ football family. I can’t wait to get started to work with them.”

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Sherman and Philbin have a long history together, as Sherman originally hired Philbin with the Packers. Sherman was the head coach in Green Bay from 2000-05, and posted a 57-39 record during that time.

He was also offensive coordinator with the Seahawks in 1999 and the Texans in 2007. Sherman's only had two team (1999 Seahawks; 2005 Packers) finish lower than 15th in total offensive yardage and only one team (2005 Packers) finish lower than 12th in points per game in the NFL.

Coyle's been with the Bengals for 11 years. Most recently, he's coaxed some excellent seasons out of Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph, and it warrants noting his work with Pacman Jones as well. The Bengals were ninth in passing yards allowed in 2011 and fourth in net yards allowed per attempt last season as well.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:57 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 10:08 pm
 

You decide: Best Super Bowl game-winning finishes

All right, who ya got? (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

We have approximately 290 hours to fill between now and the kickoff for Super Bowl XLVI. Which means that we'll cover every conceivable storyline, probably multiple times, just to make sure you don't miss anything. But before we look ahead, let's take a look back and some of the best finishes in Super Bowl history.

Super Bowl XXIII, Bengals-49ers

Super Bowl XXXVI, Patriots-Rams

Super Bowl XXXVIII, Panthers-Patriots

Super Bowl XLIII, Steelers-Cardinals


And, of course (don't call it a rematch!)…

Super Bowl XLII, Giants-Patriots


Feel free to vote for your favorite finish in the poll below or let us know what you think in the comments.


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Posted on: January 22, 2012 2:58 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 3:16 pm
 

Colts tried to talk with Jay Gruden, Perry Fewell

Indy wanted to talk with Fewell and Gruden but couldn't. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Saturday, Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that the team expected to hire a coach by "mid 2 late next week." If that's the case, cross two teams off the list: Indy wanted to talk with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell but couldn't.

According to CBS Sports Charley Casserly, Gruden turned down the Colts offer to interview and Fewell was still coaching and thus unavailable.

"They asked permission to talk to Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden," Casserly reported on The NFL Today. "He declined to interview for the head coaching job with the Colts. They also wanted permission to interview with Perry Fewell, the defensive coordinator of the Giants but they couldn't even ask permission because Fewell is still coaching."


Gruden's decision isn't particularly surprising considering he took his name out of the running for the Jaguars and Rams jobs earlier in the year, but it's a bit odd considering that he'd have his pick of top-tier quarterback to groom for the future, with Irsay already publicly saying that he'd take either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III with the top pick.

Fewell's a name that's always right there in the running for head coaching positions, but he's never gotten enough push to land a gig. Perhaps this could've been his break, which is a shame.

It still could, if the Colts decide to wait. But it's also going to be tough for Fewell will get enough face time with Irsay and new Colts general manager Ryan Grigson if the Giants win on Sunday.

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Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:41 pm
 

Jerome Simpson indicted on drug charge

SimpsonBy Josh Katzowitz

Less than a month ago, Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson was the toast of the NFL after his flip heard ‘round the world was recognized as one of the greatest plays of the season.*

Now, Simpson has to face the fact he might not be playing football again in the near future.

As the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, Simpson was indicted Thursday on charges that hewas trafficking marijuana over eight ounces and less than five pounds. The charge, the newspaper writes, is a Class D felony that could lead to a punishment of one to five years in prison.

Simpson, you’ll recall, was detained and questioned by Kenton County, Ky,. police after Simpson’s girlfriend signed for a package at his home that contained a 2.5 pound bag of high-grade marijuana from California.

Authorities said it was “a controlled delivery to a house that was set up as a distribution network,” and inside the home, police allegedly found six more pounds of pot, scales and packaging material.

Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins also was at Simpson’s home at the time, but he wasn’t indicted.

“Unfortunately I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Collins said at the time. “However, I do want to take this opportunity to let my fans, friends and family know that I had no part in the reported activities at Jerome’s home. I have done nothing wrong and I have not been charged with doing anything wrong. So far as I know, I am no longer a part of any investigation.”

Unfortunately for Simpson, he can’t say the same thing.

*Of course, it made for an easy “OMG, look how high he got on that play.”

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:43 pm
 

Will Cedric Benson return to Bengals in 2012?

BensonBy Josh Katzowitz

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has wanted to get backup running back Bernard Scott more playing time, and if this Cincinnati Enquirer report is any indication, it sounds like that might happen in 2012. But it might happen because starter Cedric Benson – who’s hit the 1,000-yard milestone the past three seasons -- might not return to Cincinnati.

“From a consistency standpoint you’d like to get Bernard more carries, more touches and Cedric has earned the right to be a feature back in this offense the last couple of years,” Gruden said. “The more you give it to Bernard the more you’ve got Cedric over there scratching his head and not real happy. Really, to me, on a good football team nobody should worry about who’s scoring or who’s getting the ball so long as the team is moving.”

If that seems like a subtle shot at Benson from Gruden, that certainly could be the case. Gruden inherited Benson, and though Benson has resurrected his career with the Bengals, the team might really want to see what they got when they drafted Scott with the sixth-round selection in 2009.

But the fact is that the Bengals have pounded Benson the past three years. In 2009 and 2010, he carried the ball 301 and 321 times, respectively, and though that number decreased to 273 this seasno, he still had the fourth-most attempts of any AFC running back.

Considering he lost some carries to Scott from the previous two years, Benson wasn’t happy with his team’s direction.

“I wasn’t a big fan of it,” Benson told the paper. “Granted I don’t make those decisions or calls and I have to find a way to make it work. It was something they started soon after the first game. There was a vision where they saw the offense going. I may not like it or agree with it but I’ll make it work if given the opportunity.”

Thing is, he might not get the opportunity. He signed a one-year, $3 million deal before the 2011 season, and that means he’s an unrestricted free agent who could make pretty decent money on the open market.

But considering these are some of the free agent running backs that will emerge this offseason -- Peyton Hillis, Michael Bush, Marshawn Lynch, Ryan Grant, and Mike Tolbert -- Benson has to worry about oversaturation. And if that’s the case, maybe he’s better off taking a few less carries and staying in Cincinnati

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Bucs will interview Mike Zimmer, Rob Chudzinski

Mike Zimmer's intense style might fit nicely in Tampa Bay. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Up until Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hadn't shown much interest in interviewing anyone under the age of 75* for their vacant head-coaching position. So it might be refreshing for fans to hear that the Buccaneers have asked permission to talk with both Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.

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According to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, the Bucs plan to speak with both soon.

Previously, Tampa scheduled interviews with Brad Childress, Wade Phillips, Marty Schottenheimer and Mike Sherman. That's not the youngest bunch of bucks. (Chilly's the youngest, at 55.)

But that's Tampa's prerogative, especially coming off a disastrous 2011 that saw Raheem Morris, who turned 35 during the season, lose control of his team, possibly because he wasn't seasoned enough to appear disciplined.

Phillips withdrew his name from consideration prior to Friday's scheduled interview, and with the latest additions to the list, it appears Tampa wants to increase the scope of its search.

Of course, Zimmer's actually 22 days older than Childress, so it's not as if he's that different. And, honestly, he makes the most sense for this position, in our opinion.

For whatever reason, Zimmer's struggled to get interviews for head-coaching gigs until this season and has never been up for serious consideration. But he's a hard-nosed coach known for his discipline, and his defenses have always been top-tier: only once in his three stops (Dallas, Atlanta, Cincinnati) since 2000 has his defense ranked below 20th in total yards allowed.

And that was his lone season with the Falcons in 2007, which means he didn't exactly have a lot of time to work his magic. In 2003, Dallas had the top-ranked defense in the NFL under Zimmer, and the Bengals have been a top-10 unit twice since he took over as defensive coordinator there in 2008.

As for Chudzinski, well, he's a hot name on the coaching circuit right now because of his work with Cam Newton. He's going to get a job in the NFL at some point and he's a Florida guy, so Tampa could make sense. But it's hard to imagine that the Panthers would let "Chud" go to a division rival; if Tampa were really impressed with Carolina's offensive coordinator, it wouldn't be that surprising to see them give Chud a raise and a promotion.

*Approximate

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:56 pm
 

Jay Gruden not interviewing, staying with Bengals

Dalton and Green should be pleased Gruden's staying in Cincy. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Jay Gruden, thanks to the work he did with Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, was a hot name in coaching circles for open positions with a number of teams. But he's not going anywhere in 2012.

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Gruden's decided to stay with the Bengals and continue working with Dalton and the young Cincinnati offense in 2012.

"I’m happy here," Gruden said, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I like working for Marvin (Lewis) and with the team. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface on offense, but we have a lot of good, young players and have the potential to do even better next season."

Gruden was believed to be a possibility for the Jaguars opening, and the Rams called the Bengals seeking permission to speak with Gruden, but he declined any opportunities to interview for anything other than his current job.

This is curious for a couple of reasons. One, Gruden wasn't taking a job -- he was just interviewing, and there's nothing illegal, immoral or otherwise about that. Two, though the Bengals made the playoffs and Dalton had a great season, Cincy got lucky with their schedule.

In 2011, they played the AFC South and NFC West, two of the weaker divisions in football. In 2012 they'll play the NFC East and AFC West, which is substantially tougher. (Although, hey, bonus: Carson Palmer plays the Bengals!)

That being said, Dalton and A.J. Green, along with the two first-round picks Cincy has in 2012 (thanks Carson!), it's possible that the Bengals could continue developing into a potent offense.

If that happens, Gruden's name will continue to be mentioned in the coaching rumor mill, and it's possible he'll have more opportunities for a coaching gig than he had this offseason.

As we've said on the podcast time and time again, just because there are only 32 NFL coaching jobs doesn't mean you have to take one when it's open.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:02 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 18: Taylor needs time machine

Coach Killers is your postseason look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that ends Super Bowl aspirations and begins "So, where should we vacation?" discussions.

By Ryan Wilson

Ike Taylor, Mike Wallace - Steelers

It's not a stretch to say that cornerback Ike Taylor had his worst game as a professional at the worst possible time. In fact, he said as much after he spent Sunday afternoon helplessly chasing on-target Tim Tebow passes to Demaryius Thomas. By the time it was over, Thomas had 204 receiving yards, including the game-winning touchdown grab on the first play in overtime. (Incidentally, overtime took less time than explaining the new overtime rules.)

Understandably, Taylor, who a lot of people (us included) thought had a Pro Bowl-caliber season right up until the moment of the Steelers-Broncos kickoff, was upset and saddened by his performance. According to ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley, after the game Taylor "sat in front of a ripped-up locker, staring blankly down at the floor."


Hey, at least the locker didn't outrun him to the end zone.

A day after choosing to not talk to the media (and we don't blame him), Taylor took to Twitter to take responsibility for what transpired in Denver.

"I apologize for playing the worst game at the wrong time apologize to my teammates steelernation and family. Luv y'all to def."

There is no doubt that Taylor's performance had everything to do with the outcome, but wide receiver Mike Wallace deserves some mention here, too.

The former third-round pick out of Ole Miss spent much of his first three seasons running go-routes past defenders who couldn't believe just how fast he was. At the beginning of the 2011 season, after Wallace had 16 touchdowns in 20 starts, the joke was that Ben Roethlisberger couldn't overthrow him deep. And for the first eight games or so that proved to be true.

But a confluence of events changed that over the final two months: the emergence of Antonio Brown, new defensive strategies to slow Wallace, and Ben Roethlisberger's ankle injury, which hampered his ability to throw accurately down the field, all affected Wallace's productivity. But the biggest problem was that Wallace just wasn't playing well.

A microcosm of his inconsistency was on display against the Broncos. With the Broncos leading 7-6, Roethlisberger completed what looked like a 52-yard pass to Wallace that was eminently catchable except for that Wallace didn't actually catch it. Denver challenged the ruling on the field, won, and Pittsburgh punted a play later.

But that wasn't the worst of it. With the Steelers trailing 17-6 in the third quarter, Wallace dropped a Roethlisberger lateral that was recovered by the Broncos on the Pittsburgh 18-yard line. Because the officials had blown the play dead it couldn't be reviewed which effectively means that horrible officiating had saved Wallace, who had dropped another throw (even if it would appear in the box score as only an incompletion).  If the play is called properly on the field, it's game over. Denver was already in field goal range and Pittsburgh seemed incapable of moving the ball on offense.

Yes, Taylor had his troubles Sunday, but Wallace wasn't far behind.

Atlanta Falcons offense

We could jus stay "everybody in the Falcons organization is responsible for the debacle in the Meadowlands" and just get on with our day. And in fact, the defense is a close 1a) for coach-killing honors this week because their third-ranked rush defense allowed the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to go to town on the ground (Football Outsiders ranked New York's run game 20th.) 

But it's Altanta's offense that never gave this team a chance. Atlanta scored two (TWO!) points, and technically, that was thanks to Eli Manning throwing the ball to no one out of his own end zone. Matt Ryan, meanwhile, was 24 of 41 for a measly 199 yards. His leading receiver on the day was rookie first-rounder Julio Jones (seven catches, 64 yards).

While there's no disputing that Jones had a great rookie season (54 receptions, 959 yards, 8 TDs), he wasn't worth what the Falcons gave up to get him on draft day 2011.

Quick refresher: Back in April, Cleveland traded the sixth-overall pick to the Atlanta in exchange for the Falcons' 2011 first, second and fourth-round picks, as well as a first and fourth-rounder in 2012.

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Atlanta promptly selected Julio Jones, who along with A.J. Green were considered can't-miss prospects. (And at the end of the season we can agree that they were just that.)

It's hard to fault the Browns for making that deal with the Falcons. After all, on draft day, New England coach Bill Belichick told Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff, "Thomas, I'm just telling you as a friend. I wouldn't do it."

Belichick added that he thought Jonathan Baldwin was "just as good if not better" than Jones. Which leads us to this: the Browns weren't wrong to trade out of the No. 6 pick, but they really could've used a playmaker. And the Falcons could've settled for Baldwin, kept their draft picks, and been just as well off. (This has nothing to do with Jones' performance against the Giants, more a commentary on how the Falcons went all in and lost.) 

You could argue that the Jones deal wasn't a one-year, all-or-nothing proposition. Except that it sorta is. Yes, Jones will be in Atlanta for years but the trade was made because Dimitroff thought it gave the Falcons the best chance to win now. Why else would you give up a '12 first-rounder, too? 

Put differently: could Atlanta have made it to the playoffs with Baldwin, who went late in Round 1, instead of Jones (and they would've still had their 2011 second-rounder)? If you're willing to accept that as a possibility, then this season was a failure from the perspective of the Jones trade.

Another way to think about it: let's say there's a three-year horizon on the deal. Are the Falcons, as currently constituted, favorites to win the Super Bowl next season? Of course not. They'll be in the conversation as one of the NFC's playoff-caliber teams but not much else. Again, would that conversation be any different if they had Baldwin -- and a full complement of draft picks -- over Jones? Not likely.

And that's the point. This isn't an indictment on Jones' ability. Clearly, he's a special player. But the Falcons' front office took a gamble, it failed, and now, like 24 other teams, they're sitting on their couch wondering what happened.

Detroit Lions defense

It's hard to fault anybody faced with the task of slowing Drew Brees and the Saints offense, but as Lions head coach Jim Schwartz mentioned several times during his post-game comments Saturday: missed tackles, the inability to get off the field on third down and dropped interceptions (not to mention the happy whistle that negated a possible Lions defensive touchdown) conspired against a Detroit team that otherwise exorcised any remnants of Matt Millen's presence in the organization.

"Well, there is no question that they are a good team," Schwartz said. "They're 13-3, scoring 44 points a game (on average the last four weeks) and undefeated at home. There is no question that they are a good team. But when you face a team like that, you can't give them second opportunities."

And that's it right there. The difference between advancing in the playoffs and packing your bags one last time until minicamps usually comes down to a play, maybe two. There's no guarantee that the outcome would've been different if the Lions had twice picked off Brees, or had been allowed to return the Saints fumble for what looked like a touchdown, but it wouldn't have hurt.

“Should have been a touchdown because every other time in this league they let that play go and they don’t blow the whistle,” Schwartz said. “We were a victim of that last week (when officials ruled Titus Young didn't have two feet down on a touchdown catch and the Lions didn't have a challenge left to dispute the call) and for some reason in this game they decided to blow the whistle when that would have been seven points in this.”

Brees' numbers were, well, Brees-ian -- 33 of 43 for 466 yards and three touchdowns. But it will be the two interceptions that got away that will haunt Schwartz for some time.

"We were able to score on offense, missed a couple opportunities there but it was really more about missed opportunities on defense," he said during his Monday end-of-season press conference.

"With a team like the Saints, they are going to get some yards, but you got to find a way to stop drives and that is going to come from third downs that is going to come from turnovers. We stopped some drives in the first half with turnovers and had some other plays that we didn't make. We didn't do a very good job on third down. Even when we stopped them on third down, we allowed the conversion on fourth down and they were able to keep drives alive and then big plays, particularly in coverages that we shouldn't give up big plays. It just made it that we couldn't score enough with them because of those things."

Andy Dalton - Bengals

We could just as easily give this to Pacman Jones for getting toasted by Andre Johnson for a touchdown, or Chris Crocker for getting trucked on the way to the end zone by Arian Foster, but it was Andy Dalton, a rookie in name only, who played one of his worst games of the season.

A long day for Dalton. (Getty Images)
When it was over, he was 27 of 42 for 257 yards with three interceptions, although one -- the "wait, what just happened?!" pick-six from rookie defensive lineman J.J. Watt -- doesn't count. Dalton will throw thousands of NFL passes and he'll never ever see anything like that again.

Watts' acrobatics aside, Dalton was off and it played no small role in the outcome. To be fair, he was in the hospital three days before the game because of the flu, but this is the time of year when no one's healthy. Just ask the Texans' quarterbacks.

The Bengals remain winless in the playoffs under Marvin Lewis (the sad truth: Cincy hasn't won a postseason game since 1990 -- Dalton was three), but unlike previous teams, this one is young, full of promise and without egos. Which means no offseason reality shows or MLS tryouts or bull-riding stunts. Just a focus on getting better.

“I don’t want to end in the first round of the playoffs anymore,” Dalton said Monday, as he talked about becoming more of a leader next year. “You get to come back and critique all of the little things that you did in the season,” Dalton said. “You get to work with the guys and not just come into training camp where you have two weeks before your first preseason game. It will be nice to come in and watch stuff, try to get better and do a few things with everybody and make sure everybody is on the same page.”

“I’ll fly wherever he needs me,” Green said of Dalton and their offseason workout plans.

That used to be Carlson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco. Now it's Dalton and Green, who after just one season have the potential to be much better than their predecessors.

“[The past 12 months have] been a freaking whirlwind,” Dalton admitted. “Starting with the Rose Bowl, getting ready for the combine, Senior Bowl, pro day, getting drafted, getting married, a couple of weeks later moving up here. It’s been a crazy year. It seems stuff like that happened a long time ago, but its crazy it’s already over. It’s already 2012.”

And training camps are just seven months away.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com