Not to pour salt in a still-fresh wound, but after viewing the all-22 video of the Bengals loss to the Browns, there are positives to take away from the game. Of course, the negatives abound, as well.
- Terence Newman struggles from time to time, especially in zone coverage. He lacks ideal closing speed at this point in his career, but is still playing admirably.
- Both Leon Hall and Adam Jones have both played well on the right side and the slot, respectively. Hall looks very explosive and delivers physical and fundamentally-sound tackles.
- Cedric Peerman should step into the role as the third-down and change-of-pace back with Brian Leonard missing time. He caught the ball well out of the backfield against the Browns, finishing with 8 receptions for 76 yards.
- Orson Charles is deserving of more targets. He looks the part of a move tight end and H-back, but he struggled when blocking in-line.
- Both Brandon Tate and Armon Binns are unable to create separation from defensive backs, allowing safeties to focus on A.J. Green. Unsurprisingly, Jay Gruden is talking about making use of Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and Ryan Whalen.
- Gruden also wants to decrease Andrew Hawkins’ snaps to keep him fresh to make more explosive plays. He grabbed 5 passes for only 35 yards and a 7 YPC.
Now that we have the appetizers out of the way, let’s move on to the main course.
Has Gresham Hit his Ceiling?
Against the Browns, Jermaine Gresham displayed all of his tools: a consistent, but not great, blocker and a receiver who knows how to use his large frame well.
On his touchdown pass, Gresham used his frame to make the catch then rumbled down the field for a touchdown, delivering a brutal stiff arm on the way. He was aided by safety T.J. Ward crashing downfield towards Hawkins underneath, perhaps remembering Hawkins’ big catch-and-run touchdown during the last meeting.
On this drop by Gresham, it shows how he struggles making the more difficult catches. A slant route allows for the easiest moving catch a receiver can make, with the ball directly in front of him and his body to give an assist.
On this play, Hawkins threw a block (ahem, incidentally contacted) Gresham’s defender, opening him up in the flat. Andy Dalton recognized it and threw Gresham a pass, which Gresham had to catch over his shoulder. All by himself and in position for another big gain, Gresham almost tried to scissor the ball with his hands, stabbing at it.
It was very unnatural looking, slapping at the ball instead of letting the ball fall into his hands and cushioning its arrival.