Hey everybody. It's been a while since I've written one of these and I know you've all missed my FanPosts terribly. This post is basically a rundown of what I think the Bengals should do before the season and during the season and the "why's" to each facet. Some are obvious and broad, while others are more in-depth. They're not really in a particular order, in terms of priority, so keep that in mind. So, bear with me and let me know what you think--if you have any additions, subtractions or disputes go ahead and post them.
- Fire Bratkowski. Pretty Obvious as to the reasoning here.
- Fire Paul Alexander. The line play has not been up to par. Better options like Collins and Mathis ride the pine, while struggling players like Roland and Livings played in front of them for much of the year. Beyond that, Andre Smith has not been properly groomed when healthy.
- Fire Darrin Simmons. Special teams were great in 2009, not so much in 2010. I love Quan, but punt returns struggled, there was a blocked punt, fumbles on Kickoff returns and a Kick Return TD. I understand that the roster shakeup affected the coverage teams (as did injuries) and I also understand that he had to work with 3 different kickers through the year, but the unit as a whole, struggled. I'd be fine with it if he stays and the other two coaches above get fired, given the circumstances, but it may be time to cut ties here.
- Bring in a proven, good coach for the OC and OL coach positions. My brother suggested Tom Cable as the OL/Assistant Head Coach position. I wouldn't mind seeing a Josh McDaniels or Hue Jackson for the OC jobs, though it looks like both are interviewees for Head Coaching jobs. I don't have a problem with Zampese per se, but it'd be nice to get some fresh ideas in the offense.
- Do NOT bring back Chad OR T.O. They don't need them. Chad is vastly overrated and T.O. obviously got into Palmer's head. Simpson and Caldwell performed VERY well in the last 2-3 games of the year, and Shipley with Gresham, they have good targets. I am an ex-coach (actually coached Mark Sanchez in High School as my claim to fame) and the most successful teams I've had were those that were comprised of mostly players that had possibly "less talent", but had heart and great attitudes and work ethic. It seems to me that Caldwell and Simpson are those types of players (though Simpson has been touted as having so much RAW talent). Example? Simpson fumbled last week and was on the sidelines pacing and grabbing a football holding it close to his body, giving the impression that he was working on that aspect. Small thing, but impressive to me.
- Re-sign Johnathan Joseph. While I think he is a good player and not a GREAT one, he definitely makes Leon and the rest of the defense better. His health really scares me, so I'd use the Franchise Tag on him. Let Ghee get groomed for another year. I don't want the Bengals to use that #4 pick on the CB from LSU, which I'll talk about later.
- Re-sign Brandon Johnson. He is a very valuable player. I really like him. If they do go to a 3-4 defense (as rumored), he would be a starting LB in it, most likely. Keep him.
- Either re-sign CedBen or go sign Michael Bush. This is a division that you need big backs to win. You have to pound the rivals and then hit them with the quicker guys. The Ravens have McGahee and McClain, the Browns have Hillis, and the Steelers have Mendenhall (who is a lot like Benson). Bush is a good idea if they opt not to go with Benson.
- Cut the dead weight off of the roster. Odom, Geathers, Tank, Tom Nelson are easy casualties. Others could include Reggie Kelly, Bobbie Williams, Frostee Rucker and Roy Williams. I know that getting rid of Bobbie and Kelly may be unpopular, but they're old and had unproductive seasons.
- Draft wisely, especially at #4. Unfortunately, there are no O-Lineman worth taking there. If JJoe doesn't re-sign, then the LSU CB Peterson almost becomes a neccessity. QB shouldn't be considered here. If everything above falls into place, either Da'Quan Bowers or Nick Fairley should be the pick here, especially with the purging of the above-mentioned dead weight on the roster. After this, Safety, O-line and QB MUST be considered. Wide Receiver should be in there as well. Draft "high football IQ" players and those who "love football".
- Get the picks signed and in camp on time. This happens almost EVERY season. It kills their growth and potential in their first season. Get the deals done on time.
- Keep a TRUE Fullback on the roster. I liked what I saw out of Pressley late in the year, so if it's him, fine. Someone else is fine too, if he's better. But, you can't be a "run-first team" (as they touted this last offseason) without a true FB.
- Name Rey Maualuga as the starting MLB. It's time. He's starting to flash and he needs to be in his natural position.
- Don't move Michael Johnson to OLB. It didn't work this year. Keep him at DE, either as a starter or situational rusher. If they go to a 3-4, this could change.
- Play the young guys, rookies included. Coffman, Simpson, Caldwell, Dunlap, Atkins, Michael Johnson, Shipley and Gresham all contributed some or all of this year. Dunlap and Simpson were particularly infuriating because these are second-round picks and those players are expected to contribute immediately, unless injured.
- Integrate Bernard Scott more into the offense. He is pretty damn good on Kick Returns and makes a lot of plays when given the opportunity.