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HoosierCat

Week 1: Vikings @ Bengals Pregame Chatter

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6 hours ago, membengal said:

 

Impressive. Seems like he missed time sharing carries/touche  OR small injuries 

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Listening to KFAN this morning, obviously lots of talk about the Bengals/Vikes game.  Here is a synopsis

1) they are worried about the Rashad Hill/Trey Hendrickson matchup

2) they think we are vulnerable in the secondary and they think Jefferson and Thielen are going to feast (kinda laughing about how bad Awuzie was in Dallas...I think they are in for a rude awakening on that score, personally)

3) They think their secondary is prime for some INTs because Burrow has accuracy issues (?????)

4) They think Chase is going to be a non-factor

5) They are worried about Hilton blitzing and their ability to pick it up

6) Nick Vigil will likely start :) because Barr is not quite ready to go.

7) the offense is going to run through Cook (duh) and they will use early success with Cook to open stuff up deep for Thielen and Jefferson

8) no confidence in their TEs may run FB at least early on.  Sounds like a lot of 21 personnel, a return to '90s era football.

 

Here are my thoughts.

1) on early run downs I expect to see Reader and Shelvin to open stuff up for the safeties, Hilton and the LBs to make plays, their interior oline is pretty inexperienced and their Center as been a disappointment since being drafted in the first round

2) Cousins does not react well underpressure we have to attack him early and often.

3) Eli Apple better be better than he has shown elsewhere in his career or we may be in trouble.  I have faith in Awuzie.

4) The Vikings are not deep at virtually any position, any attrition in their starting 22 will have adverse affects

5) Breshad Breeland and Patrick Peterson are their starts at CB, I like a Breeland/Higgins matchup for the Bengals and I like a Peterson/Chase matchup if Chase can get some early success to bolster his confidence.  No clue who is matched up with Boyd but we have an advantage there as well.

6) Vikes dline is much improved over last year, it will be a test for our rebuilt oline.  Hunter is an x factor.

 

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15 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Listening to KFAN this morning, obviously lots of talk about the Bengals/Vikes game.  Here is a synopsis

1) they are worried about the Rashad Hill/Trey Hendrickson matchup

2) they think we are vulnerable in the secondary and they think Jefferson and Thielen are going to feast (kinda laughing about how bad Awuzie was in Dallas...I think they are in for a rude awakening on that score, personally)

3) They think their secondary is prime for some INTs because Burrow has accuracy issues (?????)

4) They think Chase is going to be a non-factor

5) They are worried about Hilton blitzing and their ability to pick it up

6) Nick Vigil will likely start :) because Barr is not quite ready to go.

7) the offense is going to run through Cook (duh) and they will use early success with Cook to open stuff up deep for Thielen and Jefferson

8) no confidence in their TEs may run FB at least early on.  Sounds like a lot of 21 personnel, a return to '90s era football.

 

Here are my thoughts.

1) on early run downs I expect to see Reader and Shelvin to open stuff up for the safeties, Hilton and the LBs to make plays, their interior oline is pretty inexperienced and their Center as been a disappointment since being drafted in the first round

2) Cousins does not react well underpressure we have to attack him early and often.

3) Eli Apple better be better than he has shown elsewhere in his career or we may be in trouble.  I have faith in Awuzie.

4) The Vikings are not deep at virtually any position, any attrition in their starting 22 will have adverse affects

5) Breshad Breeland and Patrick Peterson are their starts at CB, I like a Breeland/Higgins matchup for the Bengals and I like a Peterson/Chase matchup if Chase can get some early success to bolster his confidence.  No clue who is matched up with Boyd but we have an advantage there as well.

6) Vikes dline is much improved over last year, it will be a test for our rebuilt oline.  Hunter is an x factor.

 

Yeah the Viking dline vs. our oline matchup worries me as well,  it it is what it is at this point, just have to hope it wasn’t all talk.

I’m fine with them sitting their TEs given how the Bengals never seem to be able to cover the TE

Burrow has accuracy issues…okaaaaaay… I will grant he had trouble hitting on the deep ball last season so maybe that’s what they’re talking about. Still seems like wishful thinking.

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I think its as simple as Cook vs. Mixon. 

If we let Cook have a solid game we'll probably have a frustrating under 7 point loss.    If Mixon matches/exceeds Cook then I think its a 3 pt. Bengals win.

 

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anyone seen this report of Chase talking to reporters about how the NFL ball is bigger doesn't have the white stripes like an NCAA ball so its harder to catch?

 

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24 minutes ago, UK Bengal said:

anyone seen this report of Chase talking to reporters about how the NFL ball is bigger doesn't have the white stripes like an NCAA ball so its harder to catch?

 

He was answering a question about the difference between NFL and college balls. PFT bastardized the quote and took it out of context.

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Good essay, though we’ve been around this block a few times, and some years it’s true…and others it isn’t. We’ll see.

 

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Daughtery’s guess for the year.

Quote

DID I MENTION THIS BENGALS SEASON is almost impossible to predict? Most years, you just know. By now, your gut tells you 4-12 or, with a little luck and a lot of health, 5-11. (Or, now, maybe 6-11).

There have also been a few years when you looked at the roster and saw 11-5. That’s been awhile. This year? It’s not so much the Bengals question marks. They look to be better across both lines, they have quality and depth at wideout, and a rookie kicker seemingly poised to win a game or two.

There is no reason to believe Joe Burrow won’t be at least as remarkable as he was for 9-plus games a year ago.

It’s the other guys.

I think Pittsburgh is a downbound train, finally. Suspect OL, a senior citizen taking the snaps. But I’ve written that obit before and was wr. . . wr. . . not entirely right about that.

I think Cleveland is ascendant. Fine offseason, young and capable QB. But it’s Cleveland. I think the Ravens are the class of the division, but they lost their best RB for the year (JK Dobbins). Lamar Jackson means as much to them as Burrow does to The Men. Maybe more. Jackson can’t run around forever without eventually paying a big price.

But it’s not even that the division is in flux. It’s going to be good, no matter who finishes 1st.

How do we pick the 49ers game? They weren’t great last year, but some “experts’’ have them making the playoffs this year. The LA Rams with Matthew Stafford’s arm and Sean McVay’s brain? The Raiders are supposed to be better, but they’re always supposed to be better.

At Denver? They think their defense will equal goodness. The Chargers? Justin Herbert is everyone’s darling, not Joe Burrow. If you can tell me how the Bengals will do in those swing games – Chargers, Broncos, Raiders, even the first two of the year, against Minnesota and at the Bears – I can tell you the arc of the season.

You can’t.              

We’ll say 7-10 and see what happens.

 

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2 hours ago, HoosierCat said:

Good essay, though we’ve been around this block a few times, and some years it’s true…and others it isn’t. We’ll see.

 

At least Mike is new to this having spent 20+ years covering the Pats. He’s got a fresh set of eyes anyway.

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4 hours ago, HoosierCat said:

Daughtery’s guess for the year.

 

This is how you know Bengals are better on paper.   Notorious negative media/Bengal fans aren’t going to wait to throw dirt on the team when they are confident they’ll suck. 
 

 

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Listening to local radio yesterday for the "Friday Football Feast" it struck me that not even league experts know what to think of Cincy.  Listening to Paul Allen and Paul Charchian break down the Bengals, the only thing they had to go on was last year's stats.  The problem is that from week 1 last year to week 1 this year we have 12 new starts (only 4 hold overs on defense).  

I certainly don't have a good feel for this team we could win by 40 or lose by 40 or anything in between and it wouldn't shock me.

They continue to rag on Awuzie but looking at his PFF grade it is clear that last year was just a bad year, he was injured much of the year and prior to that he was developing nicely into a good NFL Starter. 79.2 grade in 2019 in his third year is not too shabby.

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https://theathletic.com/2817105/2021/09/10/bengals-coaches-players-scouts-insiders-on-who-they-think-will-break-out-this-season/

by Jay Morrision

Quote

 

Bengals coaches, players, scouts, insiders on who they think will break out this season

Every year I like to canvas those closest to the Bengals to find out who opened eyes and looks ready to take a significant step in their production.

This isn’t about finding the best players, it’s about pinpointing the rising players. Whether from a D-player to a C-player, B to an A or A to an A-plus, I sought opinion on players prime to jump.

They don’t always pan out. Besides Jessie Bates as one of the top picks last season, the list essentially serves as an explainer for 2020 failure.

In many ways, this list can define the Bengals season. If half of the names on the list live up to the hype, the Bengals’ picture looks much rosier. Another hit percentage like last season and, well, everyone remembers what last season looked like.

Here are the players brought up most, on and off the record, from scouts, coaches, players and insiders asked who is ready to take the leap.

The funny thing was, this list was almost unfair this year because of two obvious answers that have had everyone talking.

Oh yeah, Joe Burrow, the player whose projected leap is the most critical element of this season, was not an allowable answer.

Tier 1 (Nearly unanimous)


Logan Wilson

Status: 2020 third-round pick, projected three-down linebacker, first year wearing communication helmet relaying the plays.

Last year: 343 snaps, two starts, two interceptions in a part-time role.

Tight ends coach James Casey: “From watching practice, Logan Wilson is the guy. He’s a dang good player who has a chance to have a really good season. There’s so many variables involved with guys having great seasons, but I think he’s got a chance to not only have a great season, but a great career. Being a former player and understanding how a rookie year is just so tough, and especially with last year being so strange with the COVID stuff, I know how hard it was for him last year. Especially with tight end and linebacker being the two toughest positions to me, because they’re the ones where the physicality from college to NFL is just so much different, and you’ve got so much you need to know as a tight end and a linebacker, and I’ve just watched him in practice and have seen how his confidence has grown and he’s playing so much faster now that he knows the defense better and what offenses are trying to do to him. He has a great understanding and his instincts have really been showing up this camp. He reacts so fast to run plays and fits and in coverage.”

Quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher: “Logan, he’s been really impressive. Germaine has been really impressive. A couple of young linebackers, they are playing smart and they are playing fast. It shows up in the pass game when there’s a couple of throws underneath and zone coverage that used to be easy completions where, we might be completing them, but those windows are closing fast. They are matching underneath patterns very quickly whereas it might not have been that way.”

Director of college scouting Mike Potts: “I’d look at Logan Wilson as a guy to ascend and have a productive season this year. Year 2 in the system and coming off a rookie year with no offseason/preseason. Also had more veterans mixed in the linebacker room last year who helped groom him but also ate into valuable reps. Really talented player with a high ceiling.”

Bengals.com senior writer Geoff Hobson: “You talk to enough people in the building and you get the sense they feel like this guy is going to emerge as a top-of-the-line NFL player in the middle of their defense. He is what the other guys have had the last few years in the middle. He marries his safety background with a modern backer brew of speed (4.6 in the 40), instincts (two interceptions and a sack as the Bengals’ first rookie to mark in both categories in 15 years) and brains worthy of wearing the defense’s communicator. As their sixth middle linebacker in seven opening days, they see a long-term solution in the jump from year one to year two.”

My thought: The first defensive name used by nearly everyone. Wilson fits the profile as a top draft pick who showed progress throughout his rookie year at a position typically associated with jumps in the second and third seasons. Germaine Pratt’s name was often attached to Wilson as they’ve combined to infuse the most hope regarding linebackers in a long time. The Bengals might have finally hit after endless swings and misses on third-round linebackers.

Tee Higgins

Status: Starting wide receiver, 2020 second-round draft pick.

Last year: Nearly touched 1,000 yards and would have broken the Bengals’ rookie record for catches if not for injury.

Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan: “If Tee Higgins ends up doing what I think he’s capable of doing, I think he’s going to be a phenomenal player.”

Pitcher: “The easy one is Tee. For Tee to do what he did last year just showed me he’s a natural as a football player. Then he came back and he looked like a different guy physically when he showed back up in April. So we combine what we already know about him which was damn near 1,000 yards as a rookie and made all these improvements in himself. You just tell from his approach and his confidence, I just know I’m really excited every time the ball is going in his direction I light up a little bit.”

Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo: “I’d say Tee Higgins. The way he carries himself, the way he goes about his business, he’s a big man with great athletic ability, and he’s impressed me a ton. I would not be surprised to see his game fly to another level. He was on his last year, and he’s even better this year.”

Burrow: “I’m excited to watch Tee. Tee had a great offseason. You can tell he really put in the work and really grinded the whole year and came in looking great. He looks more explosive, looks bigger, stronger, catches the ball better. I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do.”

Head coach Zac Taylor: “Tee has always been very confident since he got here in his own abilities. I think now he’s more confident because he’s been through a whole NFL season and he knows what’s going to be thrown at him. He knows the type of competition he’s going to face, the elevated steps he has to make in his game coming from Clemson to the NFL. He’s done a remarkable job attacking that in this offseason, getting in great shape, playing really fast on every single snap, being consistent, going up and making plays down the field. You really saw that on the backstretch of last season, because he struggled with that early on, really before the bye. You look at games in the last stretch of the season he was making every 50-50 play whether it was in bounds or out of bounds, he would go up and make that play. We’ve seen a lot of progress with Tee.”

My thought: Higgins always made sense as the answer when people would ask who will have the biggest year of the receivers. His big-play ability was underrated because when he really came on making plays down the field, the offense wasn’t doing much with backup quarterbacks at the helm. For the millionth time I’ll trot out this stat: In the eight games Higgins and Burrow both started and finished last year, they racked up what in a 16-game season would have equaled 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. There’s the expectation.

Tier 2 (Mentioned multiple times)


Joe Mixon

Status: First-time captain, fifth season.

Last year: Played six games, missed rest of season with a foot injury.

Linebackers coach Al Golden: “There are so many guys on offense, but Joe Mixon has looked great. He’s running really strong and has had a really good camp. He’s a big guy, and when he’s running that hard, look out.”

Linebacker Logan Wilson: “I think it’s going to be really nice to have Mixon back in the backfield. He was hurt some last year, which is tough. As much as it sucks to say, that’s part of football. It will be nice to have him back there.”

Jay Morrison: “I’m not going to disagree with the majority who are picking Tee and Logan, but I’m going to go in a different direction and pick Joe Mixon. It’s not that he wasn’t hungry before, but I think losing most of a season to injury, the way Mixon did with his foot last year, has a way of reinvigorating guys. And he just looks bigger, stronger and faster this year. I predict we’ll see him set career highs in both rushing yards and receiving yards. And yes, I know this line isn’t great, but it’s better than it’s been the last couple of years. And the line wasn’t great when Mixon led the AFC in rushing in 2018. He has a way of making those around him better, and that, coupled with his endless enthusiasm, is a big reason why his teammates voted him a captain this year. There is so much focus on what the passing game can be with all the weapons Joe Burrow has, and there is a lot of validity to that. But I see that enhancing Mixon’s production, not detracting from it. Obviously, he’ll have to stay healthy, but if he does, I foresee Mixon leaping into the conversation as one of the elite backs in the league.”

My thought: Mixon’s been discounted by those focused on his injury and inefficiency when he did play. I do think you will see a jump from last year’s 3.6 per carry and his added involvement in the passing game should only rev his motor harder. I’m buying the connection with offensive line coach Frank Pollack storyline. The two times he enjoyed the most success in this league were not just with him in 2018, but the second half of 2019 when the new staff went reverted to many tactics used the year before to revitalize his production. You can absolutely see that happening here.

Jonah Williams

Status: Starting left tackle, third year, 10 career games played, all last season.

Last year: Pro Football Focus ranked him 27th out of 59 qualifying tackles in pass-blocking grade.

Callahan: “Jonah Williams, potentially he’s a cornerstone left tackle. Even as an undersized tackle, he’s been so good this training camp and preseason games that if he can play like he’s played in camp, we are all going to be really happy.”

My thought: Quietly drawing as much buzz as anyone. A truly critical year for the 2019 first-round pick. More than anything, he has to stay healthy after two injury-riddled seasons. If he does and builds on the foundation of last season, it won’t be long until he’s thinking about extensions like the Vikings’ Brian O’Neill and Denver’s Garett Bolles signed. Without question, tens of millions of dollars hang in the balance if he can take this leap in the two seasons.

Chidobe Awuzie

Status: Four-year starting cornerback for Dallas, acquired in free agency.

Last year: Struggled for the first time in his career after three strong seasons; injury and a discombobulated Dallas defense were contributing factors.

Burrow: “I think Chido is going to have a big year. I’m excited. He’s a tough guy to go against every day in practice. There are no easy ones with Chido. He’s on his stuff, understands the weaknesses of a coverage and leverage and what receivers are trying to do with releases. He’s going to be a big part of this team and I’m excited to watch him.”

Anarumo: “Really impressed. He’s been so consistent.”

My thought: Every day during camp, I found myself writing down his number for breaking up a pass or forcing an incompletion. No matter who he went up against, Awuzie lived on their jersey. His reputation for not always making a play on the ball will be the thing to watch during the games because we’ve seen plenty of him staying sticky. While that would be a jump from last year, it would more be a return to the caliber corner he was his first three seasons.

Tier 3 (Solid testimonial)

LB Akeem Davis-Gaither

Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons: “Has a chance to be a really good special teams player this year. Great understanding of what I want and how I want it done. He was good in that regard last year but made a big jump again this offseason and preseason.”

CB/PR Darius Phillips

Golden: “I think Darius Phillips is going to surprise people. He’s been doing a really nice job. He’s been great coverage-wise and is really attacking the ball. He’s got some versatility, and I think he’s had a really good camp.”

Tier 3 (Honorable mentions)

DT D.J. Reader, DE Trey Hendrickson, TE Drew Sample, TE C.J. Uzomah, DT Larry Ogunjobi, WR Tyler Boyd

Taylor: “I think the guy that goes unspoken is Tyler Boyd. He just goes out there and makes the plays and everyone sees it and it’s not always 80-yard touchdowns. He has been as consistent as any receiver I’ve ever been around in my life this training camp. He’s a guy that Joe, I know, has an extremely high degree of confidence in. We all do as a staff. He kind of goes unnoticed sometimes, because we talk about the first-round pick and we talk about the second-round guy who is in his second year and had a great end of season, but TB is just consistent as a player. That shows why he was a captain. He wasn’t a captain our first year or even last year, but just how much I’ve seen him grow as a professional, not that he was ever negative in any way. He truly has become a captain who has earned that right. He is consistent every day. He’s exactly what we’re looking for and it’s critical to have that type of leadership in the receiving room.”

 

 

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