Marvin Lewis takes the blame for not utilizing Bernard Scott. Is he right to take the blame?
[Editor's Note: This was kind of before we heard that Cedric Benson was notified of a three-game suspension]
Jason Garrison: I would think so. Overall Scott has impressed when he's been given a chance but it's the different roles he could play that could open up the playbook that I'd like to see more of and that is coaching. I understand that there are concerns about his durability and his ability to run the way Benson does, but they don't have to use him that way. They could put him in situations where his speed could give the Bengals some extra yards and keep defenses on their toes but they don't. When it comes to Bernard Scott, the offensive coordinators have seemed to lack imagination and Jay Gruden is no exception.
Josh: I'm starting to believe that they either don't know how to use him, or if this offense and personnel just doesn't fit Scott's style. We're on our third season and Marvin Lewis is taking the blame for not using him more often?
Jason: I hope that the Bengals start using him more often and putting him in situations where he can succeed in helping the Bengals win but I'm not holding my breath. Why not put Scott and Benson on the field at the same time? Why not design plays specifically for Scott the way they would for Jermaine Gresham? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Josh: Well with the way our wide receivers are dropping like flies, he could be used as a receiver. That's one option and this week has depressingly shown a fall in talent on the team's roster with injury (Shipley) and with what Simpson is going through. They'll need that talent infused on the offense.
Jason: If worse comes to worse, the Bengals could just trade a draft pick or two for Tim Tebow and use him as their emergency wide receiver.
Josh: Was actually thinking that Dalton could use a personal assistant; Tebow would be perfect.
Expectations this weekend against the 49ers?
Jason: I'm expecting the Bengals to bounce back. Especially the defense. I'm also expecting Andy Dalton to continue his impressive performance. I'm calling the Bengals win.
Josh: I wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals refocus with
Cedric Benson the running game. While Dalton had a nice second half against the Broncos, that was mostly initiated because the Bengals were 11 points behind. They'll want to control the clock and line of scrimmage to prevent falling into a quick deficit.
Jason: I'm not looking forward to having to watch the game online but I guess that's better than not seeing it. It's a shame that the team's home opener didn't sell out.
Josh: It's a shame tickets are so much. Disappointing 2010 season, costly tickets and continued dissatisfaction with ownership, not to mention all of that happening while the Bengals play in a stadium that tax payers paid for that won't be able to see the game on television. It's like the Empire all over again and Bengals fans will need to re-form the Rebel alliance.
Jason: I'm not blaming the blackout on anybody other than the Bengals (and the NFL's stupid blackout rules). Winning puts butts in the seats and the Bengals aren't very good at winning. Also Brown not thinking that it's a good idea to lower ticket prices when the county that houses the stadium faces a $30 million deficit blows my mind.
Josh: Even winning is suspect. The team won games in 2009 and if not for Chad Ochocinco and several area companies buying out the tickets to five games, they would have been blacked out.
Jason: Times are tough and people in Cincinnati are hurting. I know Mike Brown knows this, I just don't think he cares.
Josh: Remember that he's the strongest supporter of himself and his own principles and if those principles suggest that he shouldn't lower prices, there's nothing anyone on God's green Earth can do about it.
Jason: Yeah, that's why there's really no point in complaining about it. It just is what it is. Does it ever make you wish you had been born in a different city and a fan of a different team?
Josh: I was. I was born in western Texas and grew up in Minneapolis as a Vikings fan. I actually didn't arrive in Cincinnati until 1988; the year the team went to the Super Bowl. Which is sort of obvious when I became a Bengals fan. But I also get the impression that Bengals fans want to like Mike Brown, but Brown makes that impossible because the owner treats general Bengals fan so poorly.
Jason: He definitely does. I can't disagree that he's ranked as one of the worst professional sports owners.
What concerns you the most about the 49ers?
Josh: Honestly, Frank Gore. The Bengals front seven vastly needs to improve; not like they were dominated against the Broncos.
Jason: I would agree with that. Frank Gore is much better than Willis McGahee and if the Bengals make McGahee look as good as he did, Gore really worries me.
Josh: I don't trust Maualuga right now. And even though Thomas Howard leads the team in tackles, he's not an aggressive linebacker; often receiving blocks and tackles rather than aggressively going after them. I don't see how Keith Rivers doesn't reclaim his spot once he returns.
Jason: Speaking of reclaiming spots, do you think Adam Jones has a chance to take over at starting cornerback instead of Nate Clements once he comes back to the team?
Josh: No. Jones will have been out for a full calendar year before he returns and who knows what shape he's in. I'm fairly certain the Bengals will want to ease Jones in. As long as he stays healthy, it's Clements' job to lose.
Jason: I was very disappointed in Clements' play against the Broncos and, knowing how talented Jones is, I wouldn't necessarily be surprised if he lost his job if he continues to struggle against receivers like Eric Decker in the future.
Josh: Remember that Adam Jones wasn't that great last year either (considering he was forced to take over a year off) with an opposing quarterback rating of 109.9 on passes thrown to receivers he covered.
Jason: This conversation makes me miss Johnathan Joseph even more than usual.
Josh: True. But I don't miss the injuries. Joseph is already dealing with a sprained ankle in Houston.
Josh: Speaking of which, something I wanted to address earlier. Was the decision to go for it on fourth down against the Broncos more of a factor than the team missing a two-point conversion late in the third quarter? If the team makes that, I bet Lewis has Mike Nugent attempt the field goal because if Denver responds with over three minutes left in the third quarter with their own conversion, they only tie the game rather than win it -- a factor I believe in Lewis' mindset to go for it on fourth down.
Jason: That could very well be true. Their third and fourth-and-short play was pathetic throughout the last game and will need to improve.
Josh: We have to remember that Jay Gruden is as much a rookie in all of this as Andy Dalton is. They'll both figure it out.
Jason: I hope that they figure the small things out together soon, but either way, I'm still very optimistic about the team and its future. Much more than I thought I would be at this point.