Here are just a few quick impressions from the 2009 NFL Preseason:
Chris "Slim" Henry
It's only fitting that we start with Chris "Slim" Henry.
Seriously though, what really needs to be said about Henry? Here is a guy that was once labeled a "One Man Crime Wave", given numerous opportunities by Mike Brown and the Cincinnati Bengals, and finally he's straightened his life around only to dominate the preseason.
Granted, he is going up against second string guys for the most part, but it just feels like "Slim" is going to have a huge year. After two games (again, preseason) Henry is second in the NFL with 155 receiving yards and tied for first in touchdowns with two. After hearing about him turning his life around and watching him play this preseason, Brown needs to sign Henry to an extension now. If Henry becomes a free agent, who knows what teams will pay him. Brown...lock "Slim" up for five years, forget Andre Smith, sign Henry!
Fantasy owners...pay attention, many people won't want to gamble on Chris Henry, but you know better. You've been doing it for years!
Alright, I'll be the first to admit I have never been a fan of Domata Peko. It's nothing personal, I think Peko seems like a very nice person who deserves everything he gets in life...except of course the five-year, $29.3 million contract we gave him a last offseason.
However, I am starting to change my tune a little. The money issue really was a big concern for me when we signed Peko to an extension. I feel like Brown likes to reward "good guys" with huge contracts even though it might not be the best for the team. However, I have seen a lot of improvement out of Peko thus far. A good friend of mine once described Peko as a guy who has the pedal to the metal with no hands on the wheel...I think that's a good way to describe him.
Unfortunately, after watching Peko this preseason, I don't think I can say that anymore. It seems to me as though Peko has gotten stronger and is a force up the middle. He always seems to be around the ball and making plays. I really hope Peko has a break-out season this year and proves me wrong.
This might be funny coming from a blogger, but no matter what Marvin Lewis' depth chart says, Pat Sims is a starter. I am excited to have a guy like Tank Johnson on this team, but i was even more excited the way Sims played last year as a rookie.
With that being said, did you see him play the other night against the Pats? Oh my God! Sims was a beast! Like Peko, Sims was everywhere on the field making play after play. If any of you are draft nuts like me, this is especially refreshing news considering Sims' biggest knock coming out of college was his work ethic...ask the New England Patriots' offensive linemen about his work ethic and see what they have to say.
I am so jacked to see what this guy can do with a full-season under his belt, and as I said...Peko and Sims are the starters, all three (Peko/Sims/Tank) will play, but Sims is, without a doubt, in the running for the best defensive tackle on this team (along with Peko).
And who doesn't like the way Sims talks?
For all of you out there that have been holding you breath when it comes to the O-Line, you can breath a little easier now after watching a couple of games.
Although there is always room for improvement, the line has held up pretty well. Even without Andre Smith, who's contract situation doesn't appear to be getting resolved anytime soon, the line has protected the quarterback relatively well, while also opening up some holes for the running game. It's hard to single any one player out of the group, they're all playing well.
I know there are a lot of haters out there, but does Cedric Benson really look like a guy who should have been unemployed last year?
This guy is running with a chip on his shoulder and is going to do big things this season. As Anthony Munoz noted last week, it appears Benson, along with "Slim", has found that passion again, coming into this season stronger, faster, and quicker than he has ever been. He hasn't been perfect though, Benson really needs to learn to hold onto the ball better, having two fumbles in two games (although he has a long way to go to beat Chris Perry's fumble percentage.)
Hold Onto the ball "Beezy" (Note: Click on Benson's name at the beginning of this paragraph to read an article on Benson at Yahoo! Sports. I think that sums things up nicely).
I will finish with what I haven't particularly cared for thus far, the unbelievable amount of penalties that this team has committed.
We cannot go into the season committing this many penalties. Without opening up the same can of worms I did a week or so ago, this goes back on Marvin. As the head coach, it's your responsibility to make sure your players are focused and disciplined. At this point, I haven't seen much discipline from this team. I despise illegal formation penalties, think they're so easy to avoid and should never happen, but we've been flagged for one or two this preseason.
I'm not in panic mode just yet, after all, it is preseason, but it's certainly something that needs to be addressed before Week 1.