What can I say about the Bengals? They are a confusing team to me because of how they have changed themselves in the way they play football while still having the same head coach. Usually, teams change when they change people in charge because humans in general are creatures of habit.
Yet, the Bengals organization has broken the habit of having Carson Palmer air the ball out deep all the time to Chad Ochocinco and other receivers. Now they are a team that plays physical, tough defense, and will run the ball down the throat with revived running back, Cedric Benson.
This was a team that had a back to back Pro Bowl passer to now a workman-like power team. I have to say I’m very impressed, and I have to agree with the selection of Marvin Lewis to be this past year’s NFL Coach of the Year. He’s a calm man who knows how to keep a team focused despite having a lot of different personalities and a tragedy like losing a player like Chris Henry.
Nevertheless, the Bengals win the division and get knocked out in the first round to the Jets. The Bengals have weaknesses too, and if they want to survive against division rivals like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, they will need to improve.
This team’s defensive rankings are amazing. 6th in points allowed, 4th in total yards allowed, 6th in passing yards allowed, 8th in passing touchdowns allowed, 9th in defensive interceptions, 7th in rushing yards allowed, and 14th in rushing touchdowns allowed.
That’s an amazing defense and I think that if they can get some offensive juice going, they can certainly win the division again.
The question is what offensive player do they need?
The Bengals were ranked 9th in offensive rushing yards, but 22th in rushing touchdowns. They only scored nine rushing touchdowns during the entire season. That’s one of the most underachieving statistics I’ve seen.
That tells you that the Bengals can run the ball, but when they get to the redzone, the opposing defense shuts them down, and then Shayne Graham goes out to kick a field goal. He had 28 field goal attempts this year and 11 of them were in the 20-29 yard range.
They struggle at finishing the deal. That is really frustrating for a defensive player when he sees his team is only up by six points instead of 14 and that really can wear them down mentally.
These guys need a tight end. The tight end is the biggest threat in the redzone because he’s such a big target that can catch a good ball. Anyone who has played the Madden football games knows that.
The Bengals have Chad Ochocinco at receiver, but they need a big guy to catch the short pass and pound his way forward for a couple yards to get a first down.
A tight end also can keep drives alive outside the redzone. If it is 3rd and 7, it is much easier to get it to the tight end that is being covered by a linebacker than a receiver being watched by a cornerback with maybe a safety over the top.
That’s why it is essential that Cincinnati drafts Oklahoma’s tight end, Jermaine Gresham. Gresham may be a bit of a risky pick because he suffered a knee injury his senior year and had to miss the season, but he went to the combine, and he showed his abilities.
This guy is 6’6, 261 pounds, and runs a 4.73 forty! He had 20 bench reps, a 35 inch vertical jump, a 9’05 broad jump, and a 7.07 time in the three-cone drill. Along with all that, he did the 60-yard shuttle in 11.88 seconds.
He’s the best tight end in college. The main reasons why he’s not a top ten pick is because this draft is so deep in terms of talent level and potential plus a lot of teams already have the tight end position accounted for.
This is a steal for the Bengals. Without question, he should be their number one target unless by some miracle Russell Okung or Ndamukong Suh fall to them.
Gresham had 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns his junior year. His total stats at Oklahoma are 111 receptions, 1,629 yards receiving and 26 touchdowns. Another interesting stat is that he has never fumbled the football while he was at Oklahoma.
He has great hands, rarely drops a pass, and never fumbles? Carson Palmer will love throwing it to him because everything about him spells reliability.
He runs good routes and is not afraid to take a hit or give one to a linebacker or safety. Granted, he was at Oklahoma and the defenses they played would look to cover the receivers and Gresham would be alone. But the Bengals have Antonio Bryant and Chad Ochocinco who certainly can draw attention away from Gresham.
There’s not a better pick for the Bengals here at 21. Anyone who can be perceived as better is gone. Gresham fills a glaring need and can be large scoring threat in the passing game, something the Bengals struggled with last year finishing 22nd in total points scored, 26th in passing yards, and 16th in passing touchdowns.
Jermaine Gresham is the way to go for this football team if they want to make another serious run at the playoffs.