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Tag:Cincinnati Bengals
Posted on: August 15, 2010 10:48 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 11:17 pm
 

Tim Tebow's impressive preseason performance

Posted by Will Brinson

Some folks wore No. 15 Broncos jerseys. Some wore Florida tees. Some did Gator chomps. All of them cheered when Tim Tebow entered the game with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter of the Broncos - Bengals preseason game Sunday night.

There was good reason to cheer, too: Tebow went 8/13 for 105 yards, 0 interceptions, 0 TDs (passing), and two rushing attempts for 10 yards and a TD.

Not a mind-blowing collection of statistics, but certainly something that's worth talking further about. Why? BECAUSE IT'S TIM TEBOW, DUH. And because we've all been so quick to dismiss the possibility that he could succeed at the NFL level. And because we've all been so quick to dismiss the 2010 Broncos. And because it's Tim Tebow, duh.

On the first series -- a three-and-out -- Tebow nearly went up top to Matt Willis on third and five, but the UCLA product dropped the ball near the sidelines and the Broncos punted.

The second series was similar -- also a three-and-out -- as Tebow took a shot downfield to Willis again on third and four, but his pass was off the mark and nearly intercepted.

Nothing that remarkable, but nothing that disappointing -- Willis absolutely should have caught the first ball which would have padded his stats, but those things happen.

Then, on Tebow's third series, the kid saw a lot of pressure. The Bengals brought extra men on first down (an incomplete pass to Alric Arnett), a standard rush that nearly got to Tebow on second down (a six-yard dumpoff to Bruce Hall), and extra men on third down (a 21-yard strike to Arnett on third-and-four).

Tebow got "sacked" while trying to scramble out to the right on the next play. Of course, it wasn't a huge hit ... particularly in comparison to what happened next: Tebow took a snap out of shotgun and didn't see the Bengals bring a cornerback and a safety on a blitz and he got absolutely ROCKED while tucking the ball/throwing the ball.

As you can guess, a defensive touchdown resulted, though it was eventually overturned on a Josh McDaniels challenge. One aborted fourth down later, the Bengals took back over.

Fortunately for Broncos fans, Tebow got a shot at a last-minute touchdown run. That resulted in a pair of passes (one a 17-yard screen, one a 7-yard dump-off) to Hall. Tebow then hit Marquez Branson for a 7-yarder across the middle before nailing Davis on a 33-yard laser as he rolled out to the right.

Yes, Davis got out of bounds, and yes, all of this happened in less than a minute. The next attempt to Branson in the end zone was incomplete, but only by a little bit -- it was eventually challenged.

Fortunately, the incomplete pass was upheld, because we got to see Tebow's first touchdown as an NFL player come in the form of a run, which, as Pete Prisco said on Twitter, was completely appropriate.

It's a run you'll see for the next few days over-and-over again, because Tebow took a pair of hits at the goal line diving in for the score. And it's a play that kind of epitomizes how he plays the game. (Read: Hate him all you want, but he hustles his ass off and is more than willing to sacrifice his body on the goalline for a preseason touchdown.)

Given the way that Brady Quinn played on Saturday -- 6/16 for 68 yards and an interception; that actually looks nicer in print than Quinn did on the field -- don't be shocked if you see Tebow jumps him on the depth chart.

Not only did Tebow look substantially better on the field anyway, but locking in Quinn as the No. 3 quarterback and having Tebow play the backup would make McDaniels' activation decisions on Sundays significantly easier.

From what I saw in the Broncos game, it's not even much of a choice right now.

But maybe I'm just a simple cock-eyed optimistic (a la Billy Mumphrey) who gets excited at seeing Tebow succeed. After all, he did his damage against the Bengals' third-teamers (while getting rocked by some of the second-teamers) and he did have issues with his mechanics, in terms of being able to get passes off quickly.

If his instinctive action when he's faced with heavy pressure from NFL defenses is to extend his throwing motion, life will be a disaster. But he'll also learn to read pro defenses better as time goes on, giving him more time/less surprises.

Which means the Broncos might have something nice on their hands after all.

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Posted on: August 15, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Reasons to watch Sunday's preseason games

Posted by Andy Benoit

Two preseason games on the schedule today: 49ers @ Colts at 1:00 and Broncos @ Bengals at 7:00. Both will air live on NFL Network. Here’s what to watch (or, since it’s preseason, an argument for why to watch):

49ers @ Colts

The debut of San Francisco’s young offensive line. First-round picks Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are both expected to start. Davis, who will initially line up at right tackle, will be the second youngest starter in team history. Iupati’s starting left guard job was locked up when center Eric Heitmann fractured his fibula (forcing incumbent left guard to slide to one spot to his right). Iupati has the perfect skill set for San Francisco’s system.

Broncos @ Bengals

Just another step in the Tim Tebow love fest. Expect the first-round rookie to see action in the second and third quarters. The question is, What kind of packages will Josh McDaniel have for him?

Also, this will be Terrell Owens’s home debut in Cincinnati.

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Posted on: August 14, 2010 10:31 pm
 

Ickey Woods' son passes at age 16

Posted by Will Brinson

Elbert Jovante Woods, the 16-year-old son of former Cincinnati Bengal Ickey Woods, died Saturday night, three days after suffering a massive asthma attack.

Jovante, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer , suffered the attack on Wednesday after practicing with the Princeton High School varsity football team. Jovante, a junior in high school, had a 3.8 GPA and was entering his third season as a member of the varsity football team.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Woods family and all of Javonte's friends over the loss.

Posted on: August 10, 2010 10:58 pm
 

Bengals criticized for not taking care of own

Posted by Andy Benoit

Highly respected Ohio sportswriter Chick Ludwig offers an interesting criticism of Mike Brown and the Bengals. In short, Ludwig believes the Bengals don’t take well enough care of their former players:

It’s all well and good that Dermontti Dawson and Rod Woodson are serving as interim coaches with the Cincinnati Bengals. They’re good guys and they were without a doubt great players. Woodson is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Dawson is a two-time Hall finalist.
But they were Pittsburgh Steelers, a franchise that serves as the bitterest rival of the Bengals.

And now, here they are with Cincinnati.

My first thought: Why not employ a pair of former Bengals? Why not employ Anthony Munoz and either David Fulcher, Leapin’ Lemar Parrish or Ken Riley to be interim coaches and teach the Bengals players the Bengal Way?

Ludwig gets into how former Bengals players have been turned down by Mike Brown for coaching opportunities, and he’s critical of the team’s community involvement:

Where is the Cincinnati Bengals Community Fund? It doesn’t exist. Several coaches and players have their own foundations supporting various causes. They should be merged into one gigantic community fund under the Bengals’ umbrella.

Where is the Cincinnati Bengals’ Ring of Honor? Where is the Cincinnati Bengals’ Hall of Fame and Museum? Where is the Cincinnati Bengals’ Caravan? Where is the offseason BengalsFest?

Where? Nowhere, man.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2010 8:47 pm
 

HOF game ratings through the roof

Posted by Andy Benoit

USA Today writes that last night’s Hall of Fame Game received the highest overnight ratings for the preseason telecast in six years. Chalk that up to the Cowboys factor. Last night’s Bengals-Cowboys matchup drew a 7.6 rating, with a 13 share. The last time preseason game to do that well was 2004, when the Cowboys-Titans drew an 8.2.

A 7.6 rating means that 7.6 percent of the televisions in the US were tuned into NBC during the game. Sunday night’s game was up 31 percent from last year’s Bills-Titans contest.

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Posted on: August 9, 2010 10:02 am
Edited on: August 9, 2010 10:32 am
 

Hot Routes 8.9.10: 'Drew, Barry. Barry, Drew.'

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or email will [dot] brinson [at] cbs [dot] com .
  • Rough morning for the Saints, huh? 9:05 AM -- sharp! -- is their arrival at the White House to "honor their 2009 season." Did you know that on the new Madden 11 (review coming soon!) if you win the Super Bowl you get to meet Barack Obama? Pretty awesome. Also, Gus Johnson does a monologue about "how far this team HAS COME!" Or something to that effect.  
  • In not-so-shocking news, Marvin Lewis says that his offense's performance was 'not what I wanted.' Really, Marvin. A rookie running back a punt 63-yards for a first-and-goal to set up your only points of the entire preseason game isn't something you like? REALLY. I'd be more interested in his answer to the question, "What happens if Carson Palmer gets hurt this year?"
  • The Cowboys won last night and their defense was spectacular, but it's absolutely worth discussing what the mess went on with the red zone offense , particularly in that four play nightmare that was the the first drive, starting with Felix Jones' fumble on the one. The logic behind throwing the ball three straight times is apparently "We don't want to show the stuff we're using [in the regular season]" according to Tony Romo. Uh, Tony, I think you just did.
  • Rave reviews are floating out of Pittsburgh for Mike Wallace's transition from slot receiver to split end. OC Bruce Arians points out that last year "he had a role for a rookie that was very easy: Go deep, clear the field ..." Now Wallace has the full receiving tree package to manage, in addition to bumps up in the opposing cornerbacks coverage he'll theoretically see. (Although my pal JJ Cooper did a superb job of pointing out that Wallace has already faced elite coverage and handled it well.) Still think he has a breakout year.
  • Cool profile at the KC Star on Dexter McCluster , who, as I told Matt Moore on our AFC North Podcast Preview, I think could end up being a beast this year. Apparently, he's already blown out four pairs of shoes so far in training camp with his explosive feet. There's a line in there that involves something about "The next Dante Hall except also effective on offense."
  • Aaron Schobel is a popular dude. The Patriots have 'strong' interest in him and Seahawks GM John Schneider joined John Clayton's radio show last week to point out that if he doesn't sign with the Texans (who are also very interested, duh), the Seahawks would be a contender for his services. Clearly, this is the type of guy that you want you cut from your team as quickly as humanly possible. SMH at the Bills.
  • Would you like to see Jerry Rice shoot the entire football-watching world the bird during a nationally televised football game? Excellent, I have just the YouTube link for you !
  • If you'd like to break your brain early on a Monday morning, I highly suggest reading J.J. Halsell's Rookie Contract write-up at Football Outsiders . I tried to logically comprehend everything he's saying two minutes after waking up from a post-brunch Sunday afternoon nap and dude, brah, let me tell you. The buzz was amazing . (Seriously though, if you have some free time today, read it. It helps in understanding why you should hate lawyers and agents so much.)
  • If I'm ever in a nationally televised commercial about my blog during halftime of an NFL game and a bunch of my blogging "friends" don't post a link to it, regardless of what network it's being aired on, I will be very disappointed. So, here's a link to Mike Florio's PFT commercial that aired last night .


Posted on: August 8, 2010 9:04 pm
 

2010 NFL Hall of Fame Game: 1st quarter notes

Posted by Will Brinson

As we noted earlier, this IS preseason football, so there's only so much we can hope for.  That being said, the first couple of series were still pretty revealing for Bengals and Cowboys fans in the first quarter of kind-of-real-but-still-fake football action, which ended with the Cowboys leading 3-0.

Oh, and if you want to hang out and talk football during the game, follow us on Twitter. We're quite chatty .

Doug Free, whose blocking skills the Cowboys plan to hang much of their offensive success on this season, looked both sharp and strong, keeping Tony Romo free in the pocket and opening up holes for Marion Barber and Felix Jones.

Of course, Jones fumbled on the one-yard line on the Cowboys' first possession, which is indicative of a few things. One, the Cowboys aren't totally against letting the beefed-up Jones carry the ball in the red zone. But, more importantly: two, Jones might not be cut out for it. Obviously making a snap judgment on one preseason series isn't entirely safe, but if the Cowboys are going to give him run during the preseason as a red zone back, he can't be putting the ball on the ground, or else he won't get shots at it in the regular season.

Antwan Odom was briefly on the ground, terrifying Cincy fans everywhere. Fortunately, it was just a "poked eye."

Terrell Owens was targeted by Carson Palmer. A LOT. But Palmer only went 2/5 for 18 yards (both completions to Owens) while getting sacked once by Stephen Bowen, and pressured a few other times. There's no real need to look at the Bengals' first-teamers and think they're suddenly going to be a pass-first offense, though.

On the next-to-last play of the first quarter, Jon Kitna fumbled -- although Dallas recovered -- on a sack by Jonathan Fanene. The bigger problem is the fumble was caused because Alex Barron did a poor job of blocking (well, the bigger problem for Dallas anyway) on the play. Free's looking pretty good to hold down his line spot.

Tony Romo went 5/10 for 59 yards on the 'Boys first drive, and the numbers might have looked a little cleaner were it not for some "meh" playcalling in the red zone following Jones' fumble.

What were your thoughts?

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Posted on: August 8, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2010 6:52 pm
 

2010 Hall of Fame Game Preview: 10 to watch

Posted by Will Brinson


All due respect to Christmas, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Why? Because, well, football's here people. Hope springs eternal right now for nearly every team in the league, and for everyone who loves Sundays the way they should be enjoyed.

And though tonight's game between Cincinnati and Dallas isn't a regular season game, it's still the metaphorical starter waving his proverbial flag for us to get pumped for football. As such, let's run through 10 things to watch for tonight.

First things first, though: make sure to follow us on Twitter , so you can discuss all things NFL as the football season kicks off.

1. Terrell Owens' interaction with the Bengals
Obviously, Bengals fans are going to be interested to see how he fits in with the team. Certainly, timing between Carson Palmer and Owens will be of tantamount importance, but there's no reason to discount watching the defense as well; the Cowboys have a good idea of the damage that TO can do, and seeing the initial schemes that they throw at Chad Ochocinco -- based on Owens' presence on the other side -- will probably give a reasonable indication as to what he should see all season long (provided Owens doesn't prove to be a total non-factor throughout the year).

"I'm a playmaker," Owens said. "I know Michael Irvin has adopted that title, but that's what I do and have done throughout my career is make plays. The coaches know what I'm capable of once the ball is in my hands. They're going to get all of Terrell on the field."

Andy also makes an excellent point about Owens -- how will his demeanor be towards Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys throughout the game? More on this in just a second.

2. Who's carrying the Cowboys' weight?

As we detailed previously, Jones bulked up in the offseason, while Marion Barber lost a few pounds. There's a certain school of thought, expressed quite nicely by Will Carroll at SI.com , that adding pounds to certain body frames can actually be a bad thing.

"Health is a skill, one that linebackers try to take away with every hit. Jones' problem hasn't really been those kind of hits, but in holding together his own body. Bulk often is accompanied by a reduction in flexibility and any additional tightness is going to be even more risky for the tightly-wound Jones. It also isn't going to keep him on the field for his pass blocking either. (It's still bad.)"

Personally, I'm still high on Jones, but concern over someone who traditionally hasn't been able to stay healthy changing his body style (potentially for the worse in terms of health) is certainly understandable. Also understandable: wanting Tashard Choice to look good on Sunday night. He's definitely the third option for the Cowboys, but because of, well, Jones' health he's seen plenty of playing time in the past few years.

3. Cincy's other new weapons
Lost -- somewhat -- in the hype that is Batman and Robin are the signings of Antonio Bryant and Jermaine Gresham since the Bengals last took the field for meaningful football. Bryant won't likely be playing for the Bengals, but Gresham should. And considering that he's supposed to provide the high-end receiving option from the tight end position, well, Bengals fans should be curious to see how he performs, especially with a recent report that he "looked lost" not offering immediate enthusiasm.

Also of interest is the possibility of seeing double tight end sets out of Cincy -- 2009 third-rounder Chase Coffman (who won the John Mackey Award for the best tight end in college his senior year) will likely get some action tonight -- which, given the receiving talent at the position, could provide for some very interesting formations during the season.

4. Trickeration time?
It's fairly obvious that Owens and Ochocinco like attention. So do the Dallas Cowboys, duh. And since this is the first game of the 2010 season, it seems like a reasonably awesome moment to bust out some first quarter fanciness. If I had to put money on one thing, it would involve Ochocinco throwing a pass to Owens on some sort of end-around. If you've got better ideas, leave them in the comments.

5. Terrell Owens' interaction with the Cowboys
Yeah, I know. Giving the VH1 star TWO of 10 bullet points is kind of feeding the monster. So we'll add Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson too. Since, you know, all three are former Cowboys. That's not to say that we should expect TO to try and extract revenge on his former team. Or do we ?

"Do I think I probably should still be there?" Owens said about his time in Dallas. "Yeah. But that's not the case. You deal with that situation as it comes. I think a lot of people know there are some unfortunate things that happened there ... Again, I still stand by the things I said and what was done and I know it wasn't my fault.''

You may recall that Owens shamed the entire state of Texas by mocking the glory of the Cowboys' star. They temporarily forgave him when he joined the 'Boys for his run there, but considering how many Cowboys fans were in attendance to see Emmitt Smith's spectacular speech last night, would it be surprising to hear some boos for Owens? Of course not.

The only thing less surprising would be Owens abstaining from some action designed to rib Dallas' fans and players a little bit.

6. What do you know about pressure ?
Kickers are considered an afterthought for many people (and "idiots" by folks like Peyton Manning), but the reality of the NFL is that they matter. A lot.

Mike Nugent and Dave Rayner are battling it out in Cincinnati, while the unproven -- but quite brash -- David Buehler should be the guy to take the Cowboys through the season. However, kicking in practice and kicking in an actual game situation are two completely different things. And while preseason games might not matter much for first-stringers or guaranteed starters, for someone looking to lock down a job with an NFL team for pushing an oblong ball between two poles, performing well before the regular season starts is an absolute  must. (Quick update: Looks like THE NUGE isn't bringing his leg to the field today, so it's up to Rayner to try and not look stupid in kicking action for the Bengals tonight.)

7. Will Doug B. Free?
To not worry about his job stability, that is. Doug Free takes over for Flozell Adams on the left side of the line in Dallas, and the reason Adams is gone is that Wade Phillips (and presumably Jerry Jones as well) was confident enough in Free's ability as a blind-side protector to make the move.

Whether Free wants it or not, that's an ample amount of pressure on him. And while Alex Barron wasn't signed in the offseason to compete with Free, he's still there, which only adds to the pressure. Free's been very good in camp thus far (his first two snaps excepted), but that performance would be worthless if Tony Romo got decapitated on the first play from scrimmage.

8. The Big Backup D
Wade Phillips has already said that Jason Hatcher "needs to play anyway" while calling Marcus Spears' 4-6 week injury a "good opportunity" for Hatcher. That's true, and with 8.5 of the Cowboys' 42 sacks from 2009 on the mend, it'll be interesting to see how Hatcher can step in and play. Optimistically, the Cowboys won't need him immediately, but optimism isn't always warranted.

Additionally, Sean Lee won't see time tonight, which means that Jason Williams and Victor Butler should get plenty of backup-LB action behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Again, you don't WANT to use them, but finding out that your team is deep at an already strong position isn't exactly a bad thing. If they actually are.

9. Sack lunch
The Bengals defense was superb last year, with one exception: putting the quarterback on the ground before he throws the ball. They ranked 16th in the NFL with 34 sacks, but this year should be different. As Pete Prisco noted in his love/hate for the Bengals camp tour , the line has a lot of depth heading into 2010. The return of Antwan Odom, who was leading the NFL in sacks before he tore his Achilles' last season, is particularly beneficial. If they can generate more pressure on the quarterback than they did last year, it won't be hard to duplicate it. We just need to see that the depth is there.

10. Emmitt Smith's Interview
Another excellent suggestion from Andy -- who tweeted about it earlier -- because, if you recall Emmitt's speech from last night, he was wonderful. Shockingly wonderful, in fact, having memorized the entire lengthy speech, which he delivered without any of his trademark bumbling.

If you're Norby Williamson or George Bodenheimer, are you wondering "Where was that guy when he worked for us?" Because you should be. Smith's time as a commentator was a bit rough and he was an absolute gem as a speaker last night ... with a little preparation. It's worth seeing how he does when he steps back into the booth.

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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