How Much Of A Toll Is The Investigation Taking On Jerome Simpson's Production

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 2: Jerome Simpson #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals makes the catch against Drayton Florence #29 of the Buffalo Bills during their game on October 2, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Bills 23-20. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

A report surfaced two weeks ago that a shipment of 2.5 pounds of marijuana was delivered to Jerome Simpson's place while he, Bengals offensive lineman Anthony Collins and a third party were at the residence. The third party signed for the delivery and authorities swarmed the location. Even though investigators found an additional six pounds and packing supplies, no arrests were made after both players were detained and interviewed. After head coach Marvin Lewis constantly reiterated that Collins wasn't involved with anything, appearing to be at the wrong place at the wrong time; the lineman released a statement of confidence that he'll be cleared.

On the same day, we were one of the principle sites that expressed caution and patience to allow the process to work itself out (yet this still led to this) and a day later we reached out to a criminal lawyer to understand just how much trouble Simpson could find himself in.

And at the time of this posting, that's the end of what we do know. Simpson missed two practices the day after the report surfaced, played against the San Francisco 49ers and started against the Buffalo Bills.

Yet we can't help but wonder two things about this.

IS THIS TOO DISTRACTING FOR SIMPSON... In the two games he's played since the report surfaced into the drug investigation, Simpson has caught four passes for 32 yards receiving. Although we have to point out Simpson did haul in a 17-yard pass with 1:48 remaining in the game against the Bills, pushing the Bengals to their own 36-yard line, where Brian Leonard virtually took over.

In the two games preceding the report on the wide receiver's involvement with a drug investigation, Simpson posted eight receptions for 180 yards receiving, resulting in a significantly higher average.

ARE THE BENGALS PREPARING FOR LIFE WITHOUT SIMPSON... It's a justified argument that the Bengals are preparing themselves for a negative outcome when the process works itself out.

During Cincinnati's previous two games, Simpson has been a targeted receiver on seven passes while Andre Caldwell has been targeted 17 times; most on the team. Yet during the season's first two games, Simpson was targeted 18 times (and only catching eight passes could signify an additional frustration). Additionally against the San Francisco 49ers, Simpson saw a significantly lower number of snaps (30) compared to the average of his first two games (52.5) -- snap counts against the Buffalo Bills have yet to be released.

Our hope is that the drug investigation works itself out and that Simpson is cleared, so he can dominate with 84-yard receptions. Our expectations are anywhere from the best to worst scenario. In the meantime we can't help but think that the investigation is taking a toll on both his playing time and overall production and that hopefully something is determined soon.

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