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ESPN Insider Take 2


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Here is an article from ESPN Insider. I have a subscription, and thought I'd pass this along. This is just a small portion of the article. To read the whole thing you should click on the link in ESPN.

• A key player in the matchup of the Bengals' offense against the Vikings' defense is Minnesota FS Darren Sharper. Sharper is one of the best safeties in the league at reading both the drop of the quarterback and his eyes. He is also a bit of a gambler that is always looking to jump routes aggressively. That's exactly what he did last week intercepting an intermediate route in the hash area and returning it 88 yards for a touchdown. The Bengals throw the ball very effectively in the intermediate areas in the middle of the field so QB Carson Palmer must account for Sharper.

• Minnesota's fourth corner, Ralph Brown, is a liability in coverage. Last week against the Bucs, Brown was matched up against WR Joey Galloway and was easily beaten on a go route for 36 yards. The Bengals go four deep at wide receiver with Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmanzadeh, Kelley Washington and Kevin Walter, so expect to see a number of four-wide packages to get Brown on the field.

• The running game is the foundation of the Bengals offense and the staple running play is called "Power Z search." It's a power run to the tight end side of the formation with a guard pulling and FB Jeremi Johnson leading to the point of attack. The "Z search" part of the equation has the "Z" or strong-side wide receiver, normally Houshmanzadeh, in motion tight to the formation to search out the eighth defender in the box. It's a physical inside run and Rudi Johnson is a strong runner with excellent vision, balance and body lean. Unlike the Vikings' Bennett, Johnson is a drive sustainer that helps keep an offense in manageable down and distance situations.

• One thing we would expect to see more of beginning this week against the Vikings is Johnson and Chris Perry in the game at the same time but not necessarily in the backfield together. Last week against the Browns, the few times that Johnson and Perry were on the field together Perry aligned in the slot and the Browns walked a linebacker out over him. If the Vikings defend this formation the same way, the Bengals have two matchups they feel good about: Perry, an excellent receiver, working against the Vikings linebackers who struggle in pass coverage. The second is the six on six blocking matchup in the box when Cincinnati runs the ball.

• One thing to look for in this matchup is the Vikings covering Bengals OC Rich Braham and OCs Eric Steinbach and Bobbie Williams with defensive linemen. This forces all three offensive linemen to block one-on-one. The matchup the Vikings will be looking to get is DT Kevin Williams, perhaps the best pass rushing defensive tackle in the NFL, working against Bobbie Williams. Bobbie Williams does not react well to quickness and speed, which is exactly what Kevin Williams brings to the table.

Scouts' Edge

The play of the offensive line has to improve if Minnesota is to win this game and head coach Mike Tice will make sure that gets done. Tice is a former offensive line coach that knows how to get the most out of that unit and look for him to iron out many of the problems that plagued the front five last week. With better seams to run through and more time to find the open man, the ground game will be more productive and Culpepper will make more big plays. More importantly, the Vikings will be able to sustain longer drives that keep the defense rested.

Cincinnati's offensive line is better than the one Minnesota faced last week and it will have some problems stopping the run. However, the Vikings have the playmakers up front to get to Palmer when he drops back to pass and look for them to pressure him into making some costly mistakes that produce stalled drives and/or turnovers.

Prediction: Vikings 28, Bengals 24

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Reading that part about the Bengals staple running play "Power Z Search" reminded me of something I hate about the Bengals offense. Whenever T.J. goes in motion and stops near the end of the o-line just as the ball is snapped, it seems that about 95% of the time it is a running play. When he goes in motion like this, I feel like he might as well hold up a big sign that says "Hey, we're about to run the football." I noticed this in the Cleveland game and I noticed it a whole lot last year. If our running game continues to perform as it did against Cleveland, then I'll shut my yap, but it just seems like the last thing we want is a predictable offense. On the other hand, maybe it's just good offense, because the other 5% of the time we could go play-action and burn them deep because the other team is sure it's a run.

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Oops, didn't even think of that "Touchdown-Bengals", good advice. I did go back and edit out a lot of that, and gave the credit to the mag.

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Bengal_Brad, you may want to edit that into your own words, it can get Bengalszone in trouble. :ph34r:

I was thinkin' we could get our illustrious member "Jeff Earnhart," who's certainly gifted in the use of the vernacular arts, and let him do that into his own words. Not only will they not think it's their article, they'll think it has nothing to do whatsoever with the NFL or football of any kind!

The closest they may come is thinking the Bengals are experimenting with a new short yardage defensive set with eight men filling the LOS like a wall and we call it the "8" car. And we mention it lot. :lol:

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Oops, didn't even think of that "Touchdown-Bengals", good advice.  I did go back and edit out a lot of that, and gave the credit to the mag.

I've made the same mistake myself, no worries!

OMG!!! How strict are they? Do I have to worry about Chris Berman coming and breaking my knee-caps?

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