O.K. so I’m a few days late to the Bengals preseason game, but I caught this morning’s broadcast on the NFL Network. I tried to pay special attention to the O-line and nothing I’ve seen has changed my status as cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season. Perhaps the most disturbing thing I saw was Carson Palmer trying to make a tackle after Cedric Benson’s fumble. Please Carson, run away! Go get a popcorn or something. Sit Indian-style on the turf. But whatever you do, do NOT try to make a defensive tackle under any circumstance. I can’t stomach another year with a backup quarterback under center. Other than that, here are a few of my thoughts on the first game.
Chris Henry: He’s good. Really good. In fact, the Bengals need to try to re-sign him now, before he starts seeing the Monopoly money he could get as a free agent. The only way the Bengals will get him to sign for less (and let’s face it, that’s all the Bengals seem to offer) is to make him an offer now. Maybe he’ll give the hometown team a discount for having Carson Palmer at quarterback and keeping him around despite his previous pusuit of a mug shot record.
The O-Line: I feel pretty good about the Bengals’ pass protection, but I’m not sold on the team’s run-blocking. I think Anthony Collins held up pretty well, but I just don’t see him as a dominant force in the running game. There seemed to be some holes at times, but there was also too much East-West running for my taste. I think New England will be a tougher test on Thursday and I’m happy Carson won’t be sitting back there to see it.
Chris Crocker: I’m starting to love the guy. If he continues his Nasty Boy streak (cue Janet Jackson, or the old-school wrestlers), I think it will be great for the defense. Pair him up with Roy Williams, who has typically been another hard-hitter, and the rookie Rey-Rey, and I think the Bengals will finally have the punching power to trade blows in the AFC North.
Bernard Scott: Stop me of you’ve heard this before: the Bengals have a running back who is troubled, but really talented. I thought the Chris Johnson comparisons were a bit much until I finally saw Scott play. The kid is fast. And he never seems to lose yards. He’ll be a nice complement to Ced Benson and might eventually threaten his job. Maybe the Bengals will have a rip-off of Tennessee’s Smash and Dash. Crash and Whiplash perhaps?
Michael Johnson: I think he’s going to help the Bengals, starting immediately. I saw him get some push with a straight-up bull-rush and he also did a nice job deflecting a screen with his long arms. But let’s not get carried away with his athletic ability. I also saw him trying to cover Marques Colston on one play. The kid is plenty quick enough to cover running backs or tight ends in the flat, but let’s not have him one-on-one with a wideout, shall we?
Penalties: I’m not willing to poo-poo all the penalties in the preaseason. I’ve never gotten my hands on any official statistics, but it always seems that the Bengals commit more penalties than their opponents. That’s a sign of lax discipline in my book. Let’s fix that now before the season starts.
This team: I like it, I really do. Who Dey, Who Dey, Who Dey…