CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01: Jerome Simpson #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals avoids the tackle of Cary Williams #29 of the Baltimore Ravens during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 24-16. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Here is part two of our round table from Friday, one day before the Bengals take on the Texans in Houston in the first round of the playoffs. Joe Goodberry, Jason Garrison and I discussed Jerome Simpson's role in the upcoming game as well as his future with the team, and we also talked about the Bengals chances of beating the Patriots if they defeat the Texans. All questions were asked by Jason.
Without further ado.
Josh Kirkendall: Important, but we'll survive without him as long as Jermaine Gresham is active in the game plan. But I've given up on hoping for Benson to step up.
Jason Garrison: Okay, Josh. Since that's your answer, you think that Simpson will be on the roster in 2012?
Josh: Unlikely. Federal investigation is still pending and I think they could look at free agency and/or the draft to help find a replacement. Need someone dependable, clutch and consistent. Simpson can make jaw-dropping plays no doubt, but he's hardly dependable or consistent.
Joe Goodberry: Let's face it. If the Texans have an obvious weakness on defense its at No. 2 CB. Simpson's role could be huge.
Josh: True. But Simpson is all about potential and what he "could" become since he came into the league in 2008.
Jason: Yeah, his potential isn't helping the Bengals win games. I would be shocked if the Bengals re-signed him and if they do, I would think he wouldn't be the No. 2 receiver anymore. Still, it would be nice if he stepped up in this game.
Josh: More importantly, it would be nice if he stepped up when the team needed him to. Clutch third down conversions, etc...
Jason: To me, Simpson seems to be one of the least clutch guys on the team unfortunately.
Josh: Check this out. Jerome Simpson has three games with 100 yards receiving (Bengals are 1-2 in those games). What's worse is that Simpson has only four games of 50 yards receiving or more and that includes his three 100-yard performances.
Jason: That's sad. I have to say that the Jerome Simpson experiment as a No. 2 receiver has failed.
Joe: I'd re-sign Simpson for the right deal. Incentive type of deal.
Josh: That's fine, but I wouldn't give him the No. 2 job. He'd be behind Jordan Shipley at the very most.
Joe: Right. No. 4 WR with outside skills. They have Shipley, Whalen & Hawkins who can play the slot. This team is in desperate need of outside wide receivers.
Jason: And I think they'll get a new No. 2 receiver in the draft or in free agency.
Josh: So you sign him the "right deal", and keep the guy that catches less than 50% of the passes, only gained 50 yards or more in four games. I go back to my original answer. No. The team shouldn't resign him because his "potential" and what "could be" is four years old now and at some point they have to move on to something else that works.
Joe: Look at the Saints. Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson are call contributing wide receivers. Bengals need to sign a free agent and draft one. I'm not saying "Sign him based on potential". I'm saying we know what Simpson is. He can play in the NFL and help a team but he's not a starter.
Josh: I kind of wish we would have seen this offense with Shipley.
Jason: Me too. Hopefully he's back to 100 percent by the 2012 season. I don't see a reason why he wouldn't be.
If.... not if.... When the Bengals win this weekend, what chances to do give them to get to the AFC Championship game if they have to go through the Patriots?
Joe: A lot would depend on how they look in the win over the Texans.
Josh: My initial reaction was, not good. But then you think about it, what's the one thing that generally gets the Patriots into trouble? The opposing defense's pass rush. New England has an average rushing offense, hardly the threat of what we've seen already. And they have a very leaky defense. I'm not sure about the team's chances overall, but I don't think it's going to be a push-over game either. Bengals would make it competitive.
Jason: I completely agree. In the end the Bengals' weakness on defense is their secondary and covering tight ends. Rob Gronkowski is one of the best in the league as is Tom Brady. I don't know if the Bengals could score enough points to win the game but I think that they would give a lot of Patriots fans heart attacks before the game is over.
Joe: I'd take that. A few heart attacks and a confidence boost heading into the offseason.
Josh: Patriots tight ends would give the Bengals a lot of trouble. But if there was a game that the Bengals offense could actually flourish beyond stagnant, it would be that game.
Jason: Yeah I agree with that. The Patriots' defense, especially their pass defense, has been bad all year long and I would love to see what A.J. Green could do against them.
Josh: Maybe that could be the game where Jerome Simpson remembers he's a wide receiver and not a stone golem protecting the treasure on candy-ass mountain.
Jason: Hopefully that game is also played at night because he could turn to stone. Or am I thinking of Trolls?
Josh: Or Dennis Roland.
Joe: "Number 74 has reported eligible"
Josh: You should see how agile Hobbits get when officials make the call.
Jason: I saw Dennis Roland once. He was dragging a giant club and was just walking back and forth beneath the Brent-Spence Bridge.