NFL fans get jacked up at this time of the year. The off season (as if there is one in the NFL) is over. Two preseason games are in the books. After dropping the Hall Of Fame game to the Cowboys, the Bengals won their first preseason game against the Broncos.
While the Bengals are getting ready for the game against the Eagles, here are this week's five Bengal topics to ponder.
Last week's five Bengal topics can be found here.
Jermaine Gresham didn't play well against Dallas in the Hall of Fame Game. He turned it around against the Broncos, though.
Here is a quick wrap up of Gresham's day against the Broncos.
- -Play action fake from Palmer and a pass to Gresham for 5 yards.
- -Cedric Benson rushed to the left for 21 yard gain. Benson had a nice run where he ran over a Broncos defender. Gresham opened the lane by driving his man out of the way. Great block!
- -Benson was stuffed for a loss on a stretch play. This time Gresham was knocked back and Benson didn’t have anywhere to go. This play stalled the Bengals' drive.
- -On the next series, Gresham showed the Bengals what a real tight end can do when he pulled in a 19-yard catch in traffic for a first down.
- -Another stretch play to Benson on the right side goes for half a yard and doesn’t work for the second time. Gresham does a much better job of sealing on this one.
- -Gresham made his third catch matched up against a linebacker. It was good for 15 yards. That match up should work in his favor more times than not.
- -The value of a tight end threat was seen on a play where Gresham cleared out the defense for Jordan Shipley to catch an open 9-yard catch underneath. Expect this to happen at least three times a game for the next five years.
- -Bernard Scott had a great 48-yard run. Gresham made a nice block on this play.
In summary, Gresham’s blocking needs some work but he is more than holding his own. He will be a big part of the Bengals passing game in 2010.
Andre Caldwell hasn't been seen much in the preseason. In two games Caldwell has no catches. It is hard to figure what is going on with with Caldwell. Not long ago, Marvin Lewis said he was the most improved player. Now, he barely gets any game action.
Caldwell may not be getting action because:
- -The Bengals have to get Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens on the field to get the chemistry down.
- -Jordan Shipley needs to get game experience.
- -The rest of the receivers are fighting for a roster spot.
Many media pundits think Caldwell is a lock to make the squad. However, a closer look shows us that Caldwell is expendable. He can't do anything that Quan Cosby can't also do and Cosby brings special teams skills to the table. Jerome Simpson had a couple nice catches against the Broncos so he is in the mix. Matt Jones played well against the Cowboys and is a huge target. Caldwell may get into the flow soon enough.
His chance to stick may depend on Antonio Bryant.
Unlike Andre Smith, Antonio Bryant seems to be embarrassed that he isn't playing. He has only practiced once because of a lingering knee injury.
Here is Bryant's quote from the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy:
"I'm just trying to be forgotten. It's hard to forget $7 million but it will be worth it. As soon as I put my feet on the ground (he was riding a Segway while talking) it will be more than worth it."
The Bengals appear to have blown it with this one. Bryant was given a fortune and can't even get on the field. The Bengals let him practice anyway which makes him ineligible for the Player Unable to Perform (PUP) list. The PUP list gives the Bengals a roster exemption through the first six weeks of the regular season.
Here are the Bengals options with Bryant:
- Leave Bryant on the roster
- Place Bryant on injured reserve (IR)
- Release Bryant with a roster settlement
The latest reports are that the Bengals are looking at option number three. Bryant has already picked up $7.85 million to do nothing but there may be more coming.
Tony Pike is currently buried deep on the Carolina Panther's depth chart. The Panthers will probably try to sneak him to the practice squad. If that does happen, Pike would be a free agent. The Bengals could pick him up but would need to add him to their active roster. This would make many Bengals/Bearcat fans very happy.
Some things to think about:
- -One of the quarterbacks (JT O'Sullivan or Jordan Palmer) would have to go.
-Pike has high upside and would be a good candidate for the Bengals to develop a young quarterback.
- -Pike would not be an upgrade over their current backup quarterbacks for at least a year.
- -If the Bengals were concerned about their backup quarterback, they might be better served trading for a proven player like Tyler Thigpen or signing someone like Daunte Culpepper.
The Bengals first game in 2010 is against the New England Patriots. The Patriots may be without stud guard Logan Mankins. Mankins was a first-round draft pick in 2005. He is a two-time Pro Bowl guard and has started in every game during his NFL career.
Mankins wants more dough and has stayed away from all mandatory team activities to express how much he wants a fat, long-term deal. The Patriots do not have a history of giving in to player demands. On the other hand, it is rare that a player actually follows through with the threat of sitting out for the season.
Either way, it should help the Bengals chances if Mankins isn't on the field for game number one. Maybe the Bengals could make an offer for Mankins.