[Kinda Mailbag] WHERE THE HELL IS MATT JONES? One commenter, minddrifter asked why we barely mentioned Matt Jones during our first preview "passing offense rebuilding project pieces are set". It's the same reason we didn't mention Maurice Purify or Freddie Brown. Once you get past the locks -- Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Bryant, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley -- Jones will have to compete against Jerome Simpson, Dezmon Briscoe and Quan Cosby for the final two spots. We've said from the beginning, which has been independently supported by others, that Jones had to be brilliantly impressive from the day he signed until final cut down day; he's the guy that has the most work ahead of him in terms of answering the question as to whether he'll have a job in Cincinnati. The fact that Cincinnati drafted two wide receivers, both of whom very well could make the opening weekend roster, after Jones signed, adds weight to this.
All things being equal, the Bengals will definitely go with their own and youth over Jones. If they haven't abandoned Jerome Simpson -- who by most reports has been more impressive than Jones during the offseason minicamps -- then Jones won't be the guy that knocks him off the roster.
Jones' best shot to make the squad, I believe, comes with one of two scenarios.
- Dezmon Briscoe's injured groin is still problematic, or he's placed on the team's practice squad, and someone else on the team shows that they're more than capable to be the team's punt returner than Quan Cosby.
- Antonio Bryant's knee, or another major injury on the team, freeing up another slot by default.
This team, a self-admitted run-first oriented team, will not take more than six receivers into the regular season.
I know that Jones is on people's minds, mostly because of his name recognition. But let's also remember that the last regular season snap he took was December 7, 2008; the only season in which he recorded a higher average than 50 yards receiving-per-game.
+ Former Bengals defensive back Artrell Hawkins was introduced into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame.
+ According to John B at Gang Green Nation, Carson Palmer is described as a "Reputation Quarterback" because while he was once a franchise quarterback, his recent play no longer justifies it.
I would only argue that Franchise Quarterback is a loose fitting term, perspective from different points of view. For example, if Palmer goes down, the Franchise horribly suffers. In fact, one could make a great argument that of all the players on the roster, the player that would have the greatest impact because of an injury would be Palmer.
On the other hand, if franchise quarterback is the equivalent of putting up gaudy statistics, then Palmer has definitely watched his "franchise" title go on IR.
A Few Cincinnati Reds thoughts...
+ Hosting the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ballpark, the Cincinnati Reds kick off the second half of the season Friday night. Still holding a 0.5 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, the weekend series against the Rockies isn't just important for the overall concept of winning and losing with the Cardinals on our coat-tails, but Wild Card implications too. The Rockies have a 1.5-game lead for the Wild Card.
+ Reds' first baseman Joey Votto is the clear favorite for the Red Reporter's First Half Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the First Half. Also, finest moments of the first half.
+ Speaking of Joey Votto, in case you missed it, our own first baseman was blunt about the Chicago Cubs after the National League's 3-1 win over the American League. His quote is in response to a great play by Chicago's outfielder Marlon Byrd.
"I don't like the Cubs," Votto said after the game in Anaheim. "And I'm not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. But because he made that really cool play, it turned out to be a really cool experience. I'm really glad we got the win today."
A question followed up Votto as to why he doesn't like the Cubs.
"We are Cincinnati Reds. We're taught to hate everything in the Central Division. That's just how it is."
God I love Votto.
A Few Thoughts Around the NFL...
+ Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew will be hosting a fantasy football show during the season on Friday nights establishing possible distraction issues, especially if he starts the season off on a slow note.
+ Nike recently unveiled the "new Florida-themed limited edition Tebow shoe." Best selling jersey in the NFL. Check. A Nike shoe. Check. Cover on EA's NCAA 11 game. Check. Now he has to actually take a regular season snap.
+ Redskins running back Clinton Portis lowered his weight from 230 last season to "about 217", gearing up for a season in which he wants to prove that he's still capable of producing a 1,500-yard rushing season.
+ After being drafted by the Chicago Bears during Thursday's Supplemental Draft, running back Harvey Unga found it odd that the Bears were the one's that drafted him.
''To be honest, I was surprised," Unga said. ''They're stacked up with running backs right now. They don't need another back. I'm just going to come in there and bust my butt and make the best of the situation. I told them this is something they won't regret and I'm a man of my word.''
+ Stampede Blue tells us what we already know, and may experience on November 14: The Colts offense gives safeties fits.
+ The Buffalo Bills have a decent collection of young players under 25.
+ Former safety Rodney Harrison has big praise for Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry.
+ Miami Dolphins nose tackle Jason Ferguson is now former Miami Dolphins nose tackle after announcing his retirement on Thursday.
+ The Packers are very interested in hosting the eventual Big Ten Championship game.
+ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up the fifth year on Josh Freeman's contract.
+ Who are the top-ten difference makers for the New York Giants?
+ Pats Pulprit puts together a timeline of the New England Patriots offseason.