Fresh off an upset victory over the Cleveland Browns that may have assured both Ohio teams sit at home during the playoffs, it will be interesting to see which Bengals team shows up for it’s final game of the season against the 1-14 Miami Dolphins. Cincy looked like the team we all hoped they’d be in the first half against the Brownies, but flopped offensively in the second half, and instead illustrated just what a manic team this is. After leading 19-0 at the break, they almost allowed Cleveland to storm back, having to muster a defensive stand in the final minutes to hold on to the win.
It’s probably a good thing Miami isn’t still winless, otherwise they would have much more to play for on Sunday. Could we really be the 2nd team from the AFC North to lose to the hapless Fish?
Santa’s job may be over, but it’s a safe bet that there are several people playing, and coaching for their jobs in 2008 come Sunday. Certain rookies, like Leon Hall have improved their games immensely as the season has gone on, meaning the Bengals may not have to draft or trade for their replacements. Some have to wonder if Kenny Watson, who rushed for 130 yards against the Browns, reaching that mark for the 2nd time this season, may be auditioning for the starting job next year. His two 100 yard games is 1 more than perennial starter Rudi Johnson has this season
Then there’s the coaches. According to the Bengals front office, Marvin Lewis will get at least one more year in Cincinnati, but I’ve got to think that Bob Bratkowski, and Chuck Bresnahan (offensive and defensive coordinators) are gone the day after the season ends. Considering how Carson Palmer seemed to regress this season, will quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese follow them out the door? What coaches will be retained?
From the sublime to the ridiculous is the only way to categorize this story. Apparently current Cleveland Browns, and former Cincinnati Bengal defensive lineman Shaun Smith is holding a grudge towards current Bengals kicker Shayne Graham. Apparently Smith holds Graham responsible for the Bengals not making the playoffs last year.
“I blame (Graham) for the reason we lost last year and didn’t make the playoffs,” Smith said. “That’s why I have so much – how do you say it? – hatred toward him. It is what it is. I’m on to bigger and better things.”
Okay, first of all, it should be pointed out that Smith has been a contributor on two of the worst defenses in the league the last two years, so maybe he should take a look in a mirror once in a while. Secondly, Shaun Smith might be the only person in the world who thinks moving to Cleveland is moving on to bigger and better things.
Josh Kirkendall over at Cincy Jungle has an interesting take on Marvin Lewis, and a possible showdown with the Bengals front office.
Brandon at Bengals Brigade has a nice recap of the win over the Browns.
And Chris Maier at the Bengal Blitz posted his Christmas List, will he get what he asked for?