Bengals Banter: Should the Bengals go pass happy against the Vikings?

Should the Bengals attack the Vikings through the air this weekend? It's not exactly a state secret that the Cincinnati Bengals decided to follow the same model that two successful AFC North teams have used in their own respective successes. Effective rushing offense. Strong defense. So when the Bengals rush the football more than they ever have on a Marvin Lewis team, is the question about balance all that necessary? Then again, what do you mean by balance? Do you mean yardage? Do you mean play calling?

The Bengals offense has rushed the football 51.2% of the time, while passing 49.7% of their 793 offensive snaps. Though, I feel you while your argument starts simmering about predictability. This isn't a Bob Bratkowski bash-fest.

But my primary question is, what philosophy is working best this year? The combined winning percentage of the top ten teams that have passed the most through 12 games this year, is 0.675 (81-39). The combined winning percentage of the top ten teams that have rushed the football the most this year is 0.625 (75-45).

The next question. With Cincinnati heading to the comforts of a warm dome in Minnesota, should the Bengals go from a rush-heavy offense to a pass-happy offense? The Vikings have one of the best tackle combinations in the league, which limits opposing offenses to 84.2 yards rushing per game -- third in the NFL -- with only three touchdowns rushing allowed all season. On the other hand, the Vikings are middle of the pack against the pass. They're passing defense ranks 21st, allowing 18 touchdowns this season with an opposing quarterback rating of 91.2. But they also sport the league's best pass rush, sacking the quarterback 40 times this season.

So if you're the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator? Would you game plan a passing attack? Keep the status quo and pound the football until the Viking stop you? Or would you do your best to have a balanced attack?

Bengals should have an indoor facility. There's some raising the issue that the Cincinnati Bengals are unnecessarily traveling to Mason during inclement weather to practice indoors. Joe Reedy writes, "It also throws another unnecessary wrinkle into the preparation for Sunday's contest at 10-2 Minnesota. Instead of having the extra time to watch film or refine game plans to face Brett Favre and company, the team spent at least 90 minutes going to and from Mason."

You mean to tell me that the only place that the Bengals can practice indoors in the entire Cincinnati region is all the way in Mason -- like we're taking a bus ride to Rhode Island?

Paul Daugherty wrote, "The Bengals had to practice in Mason, because they dont have a bubble. You know M. Lewis was steamed about that. The public will not tax itself to pay for it, and you can bet The Family isn't likely to open its vault. The Men lose an hour and a half every time they have to get on the bus. The Family's business is football. Not winning football. Never forget that."

Palmer says: "It’s a pain. It’s a drag, but it is what it is," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "Just sitting on the freeway for 45 minutes or an hour – we’ve actually sat on the busses for a couple hours one year because of the snow. It’s the situation we’re in."

I have no doubt that the Bengals SHOULD have an indoor facility for days like today and for preparation in games that will be played indoors. I don't know a single person that doesn't support the Bengals building an indoor facility. Really, there's no better way of saying it then the Bengals should have one.

But god forbid that people have to travel 25 minutes during inclement weather on the highway which has been totally clear during our snowy days this week. I'll play my little violin mp3 during my 40 minute one-way commute. And considering I have no reason to believe that the Bengals are spending their entire waking hours watching film, I'm sure the commute to and from Mason is easily packed into their working day.

But in the end, yes, the Bengals need to join the ranks of other teams with an indoor facility. It just makes too much sense.

Moving on...

Did you know that Carson Palmer is the best passer in the NFL on third and long? It's true. Of the 52 pass attempts he's made on third and longer-then-eight, Palmer has recorded 25 first down passes. That's nine percentage points over second place Tony Romo.

James Walker asks the question, are the Bengals elite? Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson doesn't think so. Why?

Williamson believes the Bengals have several holes that could be costly when they meet elite competition down the stretch. The two most glaring weaknesses Williamson points to are the Bengals' lack of depth at cornerback and their unwillingness to throw deep on offense.

We meant to do this earlier in the week. WhoDeyFans is having a gathering at Bar 71 this weekend for the Viking and Bengals game to "partake in dollar beers, cheap wings and great burgers". All Bengals fans are welcome.

Chad: "They’ll keep jacking up the fines, I’ll keep jacking up the celebrations." Should there be a worry that the NFL could suspend Chad if they finally discover that fines haven't really ever worked?

Domata Peko:  "I’ll be fine. I’m feeling good. I wish I could have played these two games (against the Vikings and Chargers). These are big games, with the big running backs they have."

John Thornton weighs in on the rotating right tackle, saying "the Bengals should settle in on a guy and roll with it."

Reader smoormaniddy points out Sports Illustrated's Ross Tucker's piece about how the Bengals used the practice squad.

What you didn't know is that three of the linemen who have started at least five games up front for the Bengals are veterans of the practice squad, including two who have spent multiple seasons on what used to be referred to as the taxi squad. Center Kyle Cook, left guard Nate Livings and right tackle Dennis Roland have earned their playing time the hard way and they play like it.

Mike Zimmer on Bengals rookies: "I’ve played a lot of rookies before, but never this many on a team that was good."

Notes from first post...

Listed below is the top ten quarterbacks ranked by passing attempts and their team's record.

Quarterback Attempts Rating Team Record
Peyton Manning 460 101.9 Colts 12-0
Tom Brady 458 96.9 Patriots 7-5
Matt Schaub 434 97.2 Texans 5-7
Jay Cutler 421 75.3 Bears 5-7
Aaron Rodgers 420 103.3 Packers 8-4
Tony Romo 414 96.3 Cowboys 8-4
Joe Flacco 406 84.6 Ravens 6-6
Kurt Warner 404 97.0 Cardinals 8-4
Brett Favre 403 108.5 Vikings 10-2
Drew Brees 392 111.3 Saints 12-0
        81-39

Rushing offenses

Teams Attempts Yards Record
New York Jets 432 2,023 6-6
Cincinnati Bengals 406 1,607 9-3
Miami Dolphins 398 1,805 6-6
Carolina Panthers 378 1,823 5-7
New Orleans Saints 374 1,711 12-0
Tennessee Titans 372 1,989 5-7
Minnesota Vikings 351 1,483 10-2
New York Giants 351 1,495 7-5
Denver Broncos 342 1,507 8-4
Jacksonville Jaguars 339 1,356 7-5
      75-45
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