It's Wednesday, which means the Bengals had a day off sometime recently. Antwan Odom made a bit of news overnight, the nation is getting pumped for the Cincinnati - Pittsburgh game (which is going to be broadcasted live in Chicago again, yes!), and some other stuff happened.
- AFC North Blogger James Walker has been a pretty active guy. He breaks down the AFCN teams' power rankings on ESPN (the Bengals are somehow still 24th, even though they beat a former top-10 team handily in the GB Packers. Walker surmises that the Denver loss (despite the fact that Denver is now 2-0) is a bad blemish on the season already. People in the ESPN media are guessing that the Packers are bad, and not that the Bengals are good. Walker also talked about the Steleers and Bengals in this video/audio clip. The Bengals-Steelers game is apparently one of the most exciting in the NFL this week.
- Also on ESPN are "rookie rankings." I'm not quite sure how they missed the fact that Rey Maualuga forced 2 fumbles against the Packers, but he's in as the second best defensive player at #5. Any guesses at who's #1? Mark Sanchez, of course, an ESPN darling in the big market of Los Angeles and the bigger market of New York. Get that money, ESPN.
- The Bengals website featured Antwan Odom in a couple of stories, one about his on-field dominance (he won the AFC defensive player of the week award) and one about his off day, off-field character green? flags. Also, the Bengals lost Corey Lynch to Tampa.
- Joe Reedy has some off day notes that include Carson Palmer's AFC statistical ranks and some other Bengals stat leaders (Antwan Odom, Quan Cosby, etc.) Apparently, people are also second guessing Houston coach Gary Kubiak for not pursuing Cedric Benson in the off-season because he's good now. Also, CB Rico Murray replaced Corey Lynch on the practice squad. Antwan Odom also apparently set a record for most sacks in the first 2 weeks of the season, beating Detroit DE William Gay by .5.
- Here's a cool piece highlighting Quan Cosby after his excellent punt returning effort on Sunday.
- The Bengals are all over the place in NFL.com's power rankings. Pete Prisco at cbssportsline.com really likes the Bengals though, ranking them at 14. In Don Banks' power rankings for SI.com, the Bengals tied the Jets for the biggest jump (9 spots!) to 15.
I looked around some more around 2:00, and now there's more after the break!
1. The Cincinnati Bengals discovered a pass rush: The Bengals were among the worst pass-rushing teams in the league last year, but they constantly harassed QB Aaron Rodgers this week. The Packers' protection is now officially a problem. But Cincinnati deserves credit here, as well, particularly DE Antwan Odom, who played a monster game. Another massive difference this year is that the Bengals' defense is actually getting help from its offensive counterpart. In 2008, without QB Carson Palmer, Cincinnati was consistently three-and-out, putting the defense in compromising situations time and time again. The running game was also a huge help in Green Bay. Don't underestimate the job that Mike Zimmer is doing with the Bengals' defense. There is an awful lot of young developing talent here, and this is a unit on the rise.
Something that should be pointed out that Scouts Inc. does not point out is that Kevin Huber is putting opposing teams in bad field position a lot of the time, too. Improving on 3rd down (and scoring points, thus forcing opposing teams to become 1-dimensional a-la-Peyton-Manning) and winning the field position battle will do wonders for this defense, which is finally getting national praise.
ESPN Fantasy Football expert Ken Daube also recognizes some peripheral stats, and the article touches on Cedric Benson. I think this is worth a read if you like understanding some of the lesser referenced stats in the NFL that can predict player performance.