Postgame Pros and Cons


Well, the Bengals started the season just like last year (0-1), even if this loss wasn’t a last-second heartbreaker. As always, I have a feeling I might be a bit more optimistic than the rest of the pundits, who are certain to find many trouble spots in the Bengals’ defeat. I won’t ignore them, but I saw a lot to like as well.


I’ve never been a fan of taking the ball after winning the coin toss, even if you think you hold an offensive edge. Defer until the second half and set yourself up for later success.

-The offense took a long time to get on track, struggling to cross midfield, and then throwing a pick-six once it did.

-Kyle Cook was beaten badly by Vince Wilfork a few times. And Dennis Roland looked shaky at times at right tackle. (Man, it would be nice to have an athletic first-round pick who could run block. Oh, wait. Get in shape and get on the field Andre Smith).

-The defense got virtually no pressure on Tom Brady. At all. I think it might be time to get Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap (if he’s healthy) on the field for some passing downs. Those guys could probably help and Cincinnati has to develop some semblance of a pass rush.

-Furthermore, the defense tackled terribly and sometimes even worse than that. They simply have to get ball carriers on the ground. And they have to get off blocks better too.

-That vaunted special teams unit fell apart in its first action. New England returned a kick for six and Cincinnati didn’t have any huge returns in a number of opportunities.

-The Bengals offensive coaches waited too long to get Scott involved. They should have known last year that Scott was mighty explosive, but they didn’t. They failed to get him involved in the playoff game with the Jets and they didn’t use him much until the second half yesterday (where he averaged about six yards per carry and five yards per catch).

-T. Ochocinco was a no-show for the pre-half Hail Mary. Jordan Shipley, my newest hetero man-crush, came down with the ball anyway. But I’m still not okay with either of the absences. Every play counts. Every play. Get whatever I.V. , medical care, or tribal healing you want at halftime. Especially when the defense will be on the field first in the second half. That for me was probably the biggest disappointment of the entire game. Seriously. If immaturity issues arise now, things could get ugly later on.


Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham looked good. Shipley caught two balls in extreme traffic and Gresham grabbed two touchdowns. I think Cincinnati’s best personnel group might be a 3-Wide, 1-TE, 1-RB set with T. Ochocinco on the outside, Shipley in the slot and Gresham at tight end. And perhaps Bernard Scott at running back (see below).

-Scott looked great in limited action and needs a bigger role in the offense. I think he should probably split carries with Ced Benson early on (or at least come close to it), and let Benson serve as the closer in the second half. (Much like the Steelers used Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis during their Super Bowl year).

-Carson Palmer racked up 345 yards and looked pretty good in the no-huddle offense. The Bengals have to evolve into a more pass-heavy offense than they did last year because they certainly have weapons in that area. When they’re, you know, not in the locker room getting treatment.

-Randy Moss didn’t run free on any long plays. The defensive backs limited big plays for the most part with the exception of Aaron Hernande’s early catch-and-run that Mike Zimmer called a blown coverage. (Like Zimmer, I also noticed that the defense was frequently slow to get lined up and in position. Not good.)

-This team still has that same character that won the AFC North last year. It would have been extremely easy to give up down 31-3 on the road, but the team fought back, outscoring the Patriots 21-7 after the second-half kickoff return. For me, that fortitude was the brightest sign in a rather dismal loss. I’m convinced this team has the guts to bounce back big time in next week’s home opener. Let’s hope all the fans bring their “A” game and not all that baggage from those wretched seasons of yesteryear.

This season is still mighty young. You gotta believe.

Who Dey.