Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Marvin Lewis
Posted on: August 31, 2011 9:25 pm
 

What do the Bengals hope to get from Taylor Mays?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Taylor Mays, the safety from USC taken by the 49ers in the second round of the 2010 draft, was traded to the Bengals nine days ago. At the time, the terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but various outlets are now reporting that San Francisco got a 2013 seventh-round pick for their troubles. It doesn't take much draft-math calculating to figure out that it's a shoddy return-on-investment for the 49ers, who saw enough in one season to give up on a player with through-the-roof measurables but not much in the way of on-field ability.

So, naturally, Mays ends up in Cincinnati.

The move didn't immediately make sense (at least in terms of Mays filling an obvious void in the secondary); the team had Roy Williams on the roster for the '09 and '10 season and he didn't make much of impact. Mays is similar to Williams in that he's supposed to be a hard-hitting safety, but he comes without the NFL track record or Pro Bowl pedigree.

There's also the issue of the Bengals willingly giving up a draft pick when, earlier this month, the 49ers sent out a mass email to 31 teams asking if there was any interest in Mays. At the time, there were no takers but the implication was that, barely a year after San Francisco had drafted him, Mays would be released before the start of the season.

It never got to that point.

Maybe the Bengals should've waited until Mays was cut to go after him. But if they really wanted him, you could argue that they were smart to give up just a seventh-rounder ... two years from now. It allowed the team to get Mays for literally next to nothing while also guaranteeing he wouldn't hit the open market.

But we still don't know why Cincinnati acquired Mays. He didn't show much as a rookie and the feeling around the league was that he probably never would.

So we asked CBS analyst, Cincinnati resident, and former NFL defensive back Solomon Wilcots what the Bengals might be thinking.

"Clearly, a player like Mays does have some ability … but you've got to have a plan for him because he hasn't proven that he can embrace all the elements of what it means to be a good defensive back in the NFL, whether its coverage, run-stopping, or quarterbacking your secondary," Wilcots told CBSSports.com recently.

"But for (defensive coordinator) Mike Zimmer and the Cincinnati Bengals defense, they've been lacking that big physical presence at the safety position. And traditionally, they have loved to have that kind of David Fulcher-type player. I think that's kind of what they're thinking (with Mays), I think they'd love to have a guy they can use in all their blitz packages.

 
Then-49ers coach Mike Singletary was instrumental in bringing Taylor Mays to San Francisco. Now it will be up to Bengals' defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (center) and head coach Marvin Lewis (right) to mold Mays into an NFL safety. (Getty Images)  
"Remember," Wilcots continued, "their head coach, Marvin Lewis, was a defensive coordinator … they understand that if they have a safety who can change the line of scrimmage -- whether it's stuffing the run or pressuring the quarterback in the blitz packages -- and have him be an in-the-box defender, (in theory) it makes them a much better defense. And this defense is going to have to carry the team. You have such a young offense, young quarterback, young wide receivers. … I think that's just some of the psychology behind (making the trade). Now whether or not Mays can do all those things remains to be seen."

As for why the Bengals would trade for a player destined to get cut? One reason, according to Wilcots, could be that the team needed to bolster the position and were willing "taking a flier on him."

He continued: "I think the reasons why a lot of other teams passed, they were probably hoping that [the 49ers] would release him and they'd get him (for nothing). But he hasn't proven that he can do those things and these were some of the questions we had on him coming out of USC. Great specimen but not what we'd call an instinctive football player. The bar is so high when it comes to the Adrian Wilsons, the Ed Reeds, the Troy Polamalus -- big play-making safeties -- that's what we were wanting to see from Mays coming out. We saw that in Eric Berry. We saw it from Earl Thomas. We didn't see that with (Mays)."

It's a no-risk proposition for the Bengals, a team in transition and with needs at key positions on the roster, including safety. Worst case: Mays doesn't work out, the two sides go their separate ways, and the all the Bengals lose is a 2013 seventh-rounder. Best case: Mays flourishes in Zimmer's system and he proves his doubters wrong.

Either way, Cincy has much bigger problems heading into 2011, starting with the aforementioned young quarterback and the group of young pass-catchers.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 21, 2011 10:37 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2011 11:19 pm
 

The Bengals may have something in Andy Dalton

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We'll be honest, when the Bengals drafted Andy Dalton in the second round back in April, we had very little faith that he'd have much of an impact on a team that won four times last season and finished last in the AFC North.

Not so much because Dalton isn't capable of becoming a competent NFL quarterback, more due to the fact that the Bengals are a perennially hapless bunch, and their last franchise QB opted for early retirement over playing another snap in Cincinnati.

Our opinion didn't change after Cincinnati's first preseason game in Detroit, a 34-3 thrashing. Dalton's first NFL pass was intercepted, and that turned out to be the highlight of his evening. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh tried to remove Dalton's head from his body, and the nicest thing Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden could say about the rookie QB's first start was that it "wasn't a total debacle."

Dalton's second preseason game was equally rough, at least in the beginning. He completed two of his first five attempts -- all to Jets defenders. Yes, the conditions were horrible, but that's a weekly occurrence in the AFC North.

But Dalton didn't fold. After starting 0 for 5 with two interceptions, he finished 8 of 14 for 86 yards, most of which came on a second-quarter touchdown drive (the Bengals' first TD of the preseason).

"All I want to say about [our first TD drive] is that it's about time," Dalton said after the game, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Lisa Zimmerman. "We've got to keep getting better, and we all know it."

Cincy's problems aren't magically solved by a performance which, on paper, can kindly be described as pedestrian. But it's a something.

Despite the progress, the Bengals' offense still lacks a downfield passing game, and the rushing attack was nonexistent against the Jets. For Dalton to have a chance at success during the regular season, Cincinnati is going to have to play near-flawless football. Recent history suggests that's a long shot. For now, though, there's reason for optimism.

"[Dalton] continues to work through the rough spots of playing this game as a rookie," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "He experienced some different conditions, playing with a wet ball. It was just another good step as he moves forward."

How far forward depends on a lot of things, most of which are out of Dalton's control.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Dalton's first start 'wasn't a total debacle'

Posted by Will Brinson

Andy Dalton took his first in-game snaps as an NFL quarterback on Friday night, and things did not go as well as Ryan and I predicted they might in our recent AFC North preview.

In fact, they went quite poorly -- Dalton (under)threw a terrible interception on his first pass of the night, managed to have Ndamukong Suh -- literally -- pop his helmet off, and generally looked lost despite finishing with an 11-for-15 line that produced 69 yards.

But, hey, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said it wasn't a "total debacle" for the rook!

"The game wasn’t a total debacle on his part," Gruden said, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He can get better as can everyone else. The good thing is there isn’t anyone that can say 'Hey, I'm awesome.' Everybody can say they have a lot of improvement to do."

Gruden also pointed out that Cincy's offense "has a long way to go" and pointed to the early interception as the team trying "to take a shot to A.J. [Green]" only to have Suh storm up the middle and pressure Dalton.

Said pressure might have been mitigated by waiting a little while for said shot, but, hey, whatever. He's the boss. (Well, not the boss. The boss is the guy who refuses to trade Carson Palmer and try to help Dalton down the line. But you get the point.)

And it's the first preseason game for the Bengals in a shortened year, and the first start in Dalton's career. So the "everyone has lots of improvement" argument does hold some water.

However, when you start throwing around the phrase "wasn't a total debacle" it makes you kind of sound like General Custer's publicist or something.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 8, 2011 1:23 pm
 

Dalton tops Cincy depth chart, his 'job to lose'

Posted by Will Brinson

Carson Palmer's situation -- he and the Bengals are playing a game of chicken with his retirement that would impress the Bluth brothers -- has led the Bengals to likely start rookie Andy Dalton under center to begin the season.

Indeed, Cincy's first depth chart was released Monday and, as noted by our Bengals Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner, Jr., Dalton leads the way in terms of quarterbacks listed.

No, it's not that shocking to see Dalton up top, especially after his offensive coordinator recently told reporters that he was "assuming" that Dalton would be the Bengals starter from the get-go.

And considering that his competition is Jordan Palmer, Dan LeFevour and Bruce Gradkowski, but it's still impressive to see the faith Cincy has in him.

In fact, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com believes that the starting QB gig is "Dalton's to lose" and he is "playing quarterback with the poise of a No. 1 overall pick."

We've already chronicled just how impressed the coaching staff is with rookie wideout A.J. Green. And while some of the praise for these two youngsters seems a bit over-the-top for even the staunchest optimist, if the description of their play is accurate there's reason to be hopeful for Cincy football fans.

Which is not what you can usually expect this time of year, especially with the personnel departure that the Bengals dealt with this offseason.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Lewis: A.J. Green 'an upgrade' over Ochocinco, TO

Posted by Will Brinson

A.J. Green is, without question, a very talented football player. But is he going to make an immediate impact? And is he an upgrade over Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens already?

According to Marvin Lewis, yes, yes he is.

"He showed his physical prowess out there today," Lewis said, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. "He's an upgrade … we're improved athletically."

That's a pretty bold statement because, for all of their shenanigans, Ocho and Owens are pretty talented receivers.

And it probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt since it's coming from one of the guys who helped make the decision not to retain the pair.

But it also warrants mentioning that Hobson, who covers the Bengals for thet team, was pretty impressed as well.

"[Lewis] is like everyone else down here at camp raving about No. 1 pick A.J. Green," Hobson writes. "He catches everything, no one's covered him, and when he is, he jumps up and takes it away."

And, just to had fuel to the fire is safety Chris Crocker, who was the victim on one of Green's catches, when, according to Hobson, Green "launched himself over [Crocker] to make one of those "wow" catches where you can hear him snap the ball like some amphibian at the top of his jump."

"He's in the upper echelon right now, I'd say," said Crocker.

So, yeah, lots of bold praise for the rookie early in camp. There's a good chance he lives up to said praise. And, without question, he has the talent to become a great wide receiver. The only issue is that -- for now -- he's going to be catching balls from either Andy Dalton or Bruce Gradkowski.

Even Ocho and Owens didn't have to overcome that last year.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 6:29 pm
 

Benson re-signs with Bengals

BensonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With RB Cedric Benson looking for a big payday, the Bengals instead had most of the leverage after Benson was arrested yet again for alleged assault. And instead of his long-term contract, the Bengals offered him a one-year deal that was accepted today.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Joe Reedy, the deal is worth $3 million with incentives that could push the worth up to $5 million.

But after his latest arrest -- at some point, he’s going to have to serve a suspension, right? -- his value dropped. In fact, the Bengals reportedly were looking at other RBs, including Ahmad Bradshaw. But it was expected the Bengals would sign Benson anyway.

Said Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis: “I’m happy to have Ced back.”

And Benson, I imagine, is happy to have a job again.

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




Posted on: July 21, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Ochocinco gets pulled over by cops, tweets it

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We may still be without football but Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has been plenty busy this offseason.

If you've been out of the loop, Eye on Football colleague Will Brinson provides the Cliffs Notes: "Let's see here … *flips through file* … he's ridden bulls, he's reportedly lost his work ethic, he's scouted incoming rookies, he's threatened to change his name (again), he's promised to wrestle alligators, he's tried out for an MLS team, he's -- ah, here we go."

And that was before Ochocinco threatened to whup Marvin Lewis' ass and took a NASCAR joyride.

So it's not altogether surprising that Ochocinco is again in the news, and it's news solely because he tweeted it. On Thursday, Chad was pulled over by Cincinnati police for having his windows too darkly tinted.



It was with some hesitation that we wrote about this given how Ochocinco responded to Yahoo's coverage. But since we're still waiting for actual football, and this is tangentially related to the NFL, we took a chance.

Plus, we love Chad.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 16, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 5:53 pm
 

Cincy OC Gruden 'assuming Dalton' is the starter

Posted by Will Brinson

Incumbent Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is currently playing in celebrity golf tournaments, "laying low" and not talking to the media. In other words, he's not backing down from his threat to retire if he's not traded.

And as such, it looks like the Bengals really are moving on without him. Jay Gruden, the new Bengals offensive coordinator, became the second major staff member to all but proclaim Andy Dalton the starter.

"That's a good question," Gruden said when asked if they'd bring in other quarterbacks to compete, per Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson. "We're not going to force-feed anybody. We're assuming Dalton but if Dalton is not quite ready—he's only (23)—then we'll get somebody else ready."

Gruden pointed out that it's "not an easy position" to have to start a rookie (although, hey -- it's still better than rolling with Carson's brother, right Dhani Jones?), but remained confident in Dalton's ability to step in and succeed.

"Guys have [gone with a rookie] and been successful and guys have failed miserably," Gruden said. "It's not an easy position ... it's a unique position for a unique individual and I know we drafted the guy with the right frame of mind and hopefully his ability will prove his worth."

The new OC pointed out that "the way to get better is playing" instead of "sitting on the sidelines making notes on a clipboard."

This is a touch interesting, of course, because Palmer was the prototype for drafting a quarterback early, plopping him on the bench with a clipboard and letting him learn.

If Dalton can't manage to succeed along the complete opposite path, it'll be a painful and obvious comparison for the Bengals to swallow.

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