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How to Fix the D, pt. 1


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I think that it's time the Bengals make some changes in the D' Chuck's defense schemes are great (minus the Colts game), as evidenced by our league-high 20+ interceptions. Odell is a stud and will be among the all-time great Bengals 'backers. Deltha has proved to be a STEAL, as we got him for basically nothing (Bengals moved down in the draft 7 slots for the chance to add 3 players who are or should be starting), with an NFL-leading 6 INT's. Justin Smith is having a career year, too, despite the lack of sacks. He's consistenly puts pressure on the QB, and is Cincy's best run defender...He's ALWAYS hustling. Brian Simmons and KK have been solid this year, too. Outside of that, we need to make some personnel changed.

IMHO John Thornton has done nothing to warrant the contract that he received from the Bengals, and is very soft against the run. Brian Robinson, at this point of his career, is not starting material, although he has flashed at times. "Jumpy" (see Jacksonville and Pittsburgh games), is better suited as a 3rd-down pash rushing end. I'd like to see more Shaun Smith, who has played well in limited action, and Mathias Askew. This year, the coaching staff need to see what these youngsters can do in order to assess our offseason needs and priorities. DT is clearly a position that needs a major upgrade. At linebacker, Dave Pollack seems like a potential bust (Reinard Wilson? Steve Shine??) who gets overmatched at the point of attack by OT's and even FB's. Landon Johnson can't seem to stay healthy, but he is a solid player. I'd like to see Marcus Wilkins get some PT. He has great speed, a nose for the ball, and is solid tackler...and maybe the most explosive hitter on the team! Let's see with Caleb Miller can do, too. Hell, he was a 3rd round pick!! At corner, I hope that Tory James is not re-signed. He played well last year, but many of his picks come off deflections, and he has clearly lost a step. Every team we've played this year has thrown at him repeatedly, with much success. He looked AWFUL against Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and now Indy....3 games we have lost. I think Keiwan Ratliff is a much better tackling Dre' Bly (2-time Pro Bowler). At safety, let's see what some of the young boys (Herana Jones, Pat Body....or even Reggie Myles) can do. Ohalete is terrible in coverage (Steelers? Packers? Thank goodness for drunks rushing the field!!), and worse on open-field tackles. He cost us at least 2 Colt's TD's. Where's Rogers Beckett or Sam Shade when you need 'em???

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As much as I like Odell, this team still desperately needs a STUD LB or two, a stop gap DT, a true 4-3 rush DE who can hold his own and make big plays, and another quality safety, and CB.

Tall order - you can probably address half or 3/4's of those needs in an off-season if you've got the cap space and spend a few high draft picks on defense.

It can be done, but let's see how the rest of the season plays out and if any of these guys actually step up and take charge of things, and then assess biggest weakenesses/priorities.

The defense is also lacking a firey leader - Madeiu was it to an extent - but upfront they have a bunch of quiet, subdued guys who seem to go through the motions - even Justin Smith - who of course blows his wad on every play - is more subdued on the field personality-wise and is still not getting to the Qb or making big plays often enough. They have little confidence, only the cocky DB group seems to.

The whole upfront unit is lacking as a group - they don't work well together and it'll take a mix of new vets and talented rookies to make a difference, along with some better depth all-around.

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Before we start slashing and burning, let's make a few reasonable assumptions. First, that Madieu will be back heathy next year. Second, that Odell will only get better wiith experience, and third that Pollack will improve enough to be, at least, not a liability at SSLB.

Simmons and James have been up and down this season, but we already have Landon and Ratliff in the wings on those fronts.

Given all that, the Bengals could take a big step forward defensively by upgrading at just a couple positions, namely DT and DE.

I really don't think this defense is all that far away.

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