Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty believes Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis wanted the Bengals to be a part of this year’s installment of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” to teach their team to handle the pressure that comes with their recent success while also giving the fans a behind-the-scenes view of their favorite team:
I asked Lewis, via e-mail Monday. He answered from his vacation on the Caribbean island of Antigua:
“To be world champions, you must handle the media and other intrusions,’’ he said. Lewis is big on getting his team not to “flinch’’ in marquee moments, the way it has in each of its playoff losses. Cameras in the face are a means to that end.
He was impressed last time by how hard the film crews worked, and believed it made an impression on his players. Lewis also said that Brown feels he “owes it to the fans’’ to provide another inside look at how his franchise works.
The ESPN Insider’s NFL Future Power Rankings are out, and the Bengals came in at #13, one spot ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers (#14), and 9 spots behind the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens (#4). Mike Sando believes the one thing holding them back from being significantly higher is quarterback Andy Dalton:
The Bengals ranked fifth in non-QB roster and seventh in drafting, but only 20th in quarterback. Andy Dalton seems better than that, but he does have limitations. Dalton ranks 35th out of 37 qualifying quarterbacks in third-down completion percentage over the past two seasons (49.5). He ranks 29th in third-down Total QBR (26.4) over that period, including dead last (36th) with a 10.5 QBR on third down last season. That is a little concerning. It’s hard not to wonder what the offense might look like if the Bengals had taken Kaepernick instead of Dalton.
Former Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh was on Sirius NFL Radio over the weekend, and had high praise for his former club and and what he expects to see them do this year:
The Bengals got it going. They are probably going to be one of the best teams for the next 5-6 years. All of their core players are young. All of their players are ballers. Marvin is a hard coach but a cool coach at the same time. He’s not going to let you get away with noting but he’s not going to grind you out either. The sky is the limit. if you look at the AFC with core pieces and young talent, you have to put them at the top. As long as Mike Zimmer is on that staff, they are going to go to the playoffs.
Chris Roling of Yahoo Sports believes the Bengals are in for a long contract-dispute with All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins if they continue to drag their feet on working out a long-term deal, and the sooner they can get a deal done, the better:
While the franchise tag is a possibility, dragging out the process would be a horrible idea for Brown. The number to tag Atkins would be high and that would mean Brown runs the risk of Atkins having an even better year, in turn enabling him to demand even more money.
For Brown, getting the deal done now is imperative. Better to use the free cap space now to front-load a contract with Atkins than to try to tightrope the salary cap with both Atkins and Green’s deals in a few years.
Brown is approaching the most critical years of his tenure as the man running the Bengals. It starts with his treatment of Atkins.