What I saw Friday night was an embarrassing Colts team that stuck it to their full-price paying fans by sitting all their starters at the sold-out RCA dome. Maybe they came to see the medical marvel Carson Palmer with another convincing pre-season game showing he's ready for the season. I don't rip the Colts team because I despise them. I do it because ownership should never charge full-price for a pre-season game when the home team's starters sit. Willie Mays once said, he would never sit out a game at home because he wanted to play for a hometown kid that's seeing him for the first time.
You see a difference of ideological perception between Carson Palmer and head coach Tony Dungy. Palmer says of pre-season, "It's good to get in and move on. We were fortunate to finish out the preseason undefeated, and hopefully this momentum will carry us through the first four games, into the bye, and on through the rest of the season."
Tony Dungy says, "We were going to play them a little bit. We talked about it as a staff and then you wonder what the benefit is playing guys a drive or two drives as opposed to seeing some guys that you want to see." I'd figure the good Colt's offense could prove that in practice or scrimmage-like games. Shouldn't you know what you have by pre-season game #4?
With the regular season starting next week, Palmer suggests playing a few snaps helps the team's routine without a bye week between Green Bay and Kansas City. Dungy, knowing the pulse of his varsity unit would rather see his second-teamers play against the Bengals first-teamers. I think both theories are sound and it really depends on the nature of the respective team. But should ownership force fans to pay full price for a pre-season game void of the super-stars you pay to see?
Reggie Wayne said, "Hey, man, I'm healthy. I'm healthy and rested and ready for the Giants. That's the biggest thing out of this." No, fans expecting you to play a series or two but forced to sit through a pitiful Colts performance is the biggest thing out of this. If you announce that the starters would NOT play, then fine, that's different. Fans were expecting them to play and didn't.
I wonder how Palmer will do, condition-wise, playing a full game. He's worked limited practices with less than three quarters combined this pre-season. Could Palmer tire out in the fourth quarter? Consider he's played in 32 regular season games; he knows his power-cell and knows how to handle it. After all, he's been doing nothing but working out since he was hurt in January. But it still makes you wonder.
My top-five love in sports.
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cincinnati Reds
Ohio State Buckeyes
- beer and twins
Head over to Around the Oval for good commentary with the Bucks.
Some people are ignoring the importance of Willie Anderson's contract extension. Some suggest this is a poor financial move -- yet, no one can prove it just saying it's bad. A friend of mine points out, with all the contract extensions, if the team doesn't re-sign some of their players after 2006, the team will have between $15-16 million under the cap. Granted, some of the free agents after 2006 will be defenders. The same defenders that have contributed to a poor rush defense and inconsistent pass rush.
Some suggest Anderson is just too old or worn down. The 31 year-old hasn't missed a game since 1999. Some say Andrews or Whitworth should replace Anderson because they are younger and cheaper. If that's a reason to let Anderson go, then let me remind you of the Mike Brown School of owning a football team pre-2003.
Anderson has been loyal to Cincinnati (not just the team) and has defended the Bengals against every disgruntled and outspoken player during the Age of Helplessism. He's a mentor, friend, and leader to this team.
When Marvin Lewis says he'll do what's needed for this football team. Letting Anderson go after this season and putting in Andrews or Whitworth won't help this team. Keeping Anderson as the face of veteran leadership, who's greatly contributed to our community, will.
Len Pasquarelli (Insider) points out how the Bengals management have stepped up.
I think one of the most embarrassing things is sports is summed up with the Deion Branch fiasco. Playing on a rookie contract, Branch is ticked off because he's yet to be given a performance raise. In his four seasons, Branch has averaged 53 receptions, 686 yards and (get this), 3.5 touchdowns. I'm not saying Branch doesn't deserve a raise -- I don't watch him on a day to day basis -- but he's yet to reach the 1,000 yard mark and has a moderate career high 78 receptions. His career high five touchdowns doesn't force people to take notice either.
The Patriots allowed Branch to search for a team he could be traded to (Seattle and NY Jets). New England, unrealistically, wanted a first round pick and probably more. Branch filed a grievance to the NFL because the deadline has passed and the Patriots return prevented the trade from actually happening.
I think Branch would be better suited to put aside his demand for cash and play. Well, the better word would be audition for his a big payday after this season. Pats Pulpit says who cares.
I think this has been one of the most difficult seasons predicting who will be cut from the Bengals. If you're a regular reader, you've probably noticed I haven't really discussed that -- rather just talking depth chart.
We'll find out very soon, who stays and who goes. The 53-man roster deadline is Saturday (today) at 4 p.m. Come back to Cincy Jungle for news and analysis.