FOXBORO MA - SEPTEMBER 12: Anthony Collins #73 of the Cincinnati Bengals and the rest of the bench watch the New England Patriots score another touchdown during the NFL season opener on September 12 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Bengals 38-24. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
"They don't know what the hell is going on," Alexander said of the critics. "I stood up for Goff all the time. He got run out of this town. Goff played until he was 35. I read the stuff about Nate. I don’t think it's fair about Nate. Other guys make mistakes and it's Nate's fault. I don't buy it. Nate is having a good camp."
There's a certain respect that I actually have for Paul Alexander. If you're a player that's being criticized for your production on the field, you want (and maybe expect) your position coach to defend you. A defense so strong that you wonder if it's not blind loyalty a commander because those on the outside are offering criticisms of his soldier.
Granted. We're not coaches. Many of us have played organized football, but not at the level of the National Football League. So ignorance can play a factor and sometimes it does because team access to fans, with the lone exception of our local beat writers, is quite limited -- evident that other SB Nation blogs are granted access to their respective teams.
Yet we're not stupid enough to point out that a failed block led to a quarterback sack -- the only sack allowed with the first team offense. We're also not stupid enough to point out that a holding call stalled an offensive drive that went 13 plays for 60 yards and resulted in zero points.
Though Livings has only allowed two quarterback sacks over the past two seasons, he's also allowed 35 quarterback pressures including a team-high 28 in 2010. And inside pressure is often the worst for a quarterback because not only is the defender in his field of vision, the pass rush often prevents the quarterback from stepping into the throw.
Alexander does make one point. Who would replace him?Our initial impression of Max Jean-Gilles wasn't favorable, often bullrushed by Rob Callaway (an undrafted free agent last year) into Bengals quarterback Bruce Gradkowski throughout the third quarter; pulled late in the quarter for backup tackle Andrew Gardner (though it could have been planned). Otis Hudson suffered a knee injury severe enough that he's currently on crutches.
Clint Boling had a nice start to his young NFL career against the Detroit Lions, but that's one preseason game against a backup-to-third string defense. The team will obviously want to see more out of him before naming him as the starter -- something we don't expect by the start of the regular season.