Jerome Simpson, just saying his name elicits some kind of emotion. Excitement (Flip over a defender for 6), Frustration (following up a 100-yard game with 0 catches for 0 yards), Wonder (Why in the world did we spend a 2nd-round pick on a guy from CCU?), or Indifference (depending on the number of Bengal games you have watched, you may not even recognize the name). I felt halfway through the season that he should not be re-signed. I would get frustrated enough with him to curse at the TV like it was going to respond to me or something. But as this season has went on I have changed to strangely being ok with us re-signing him. First, I broke down some quick stats from opposing team's #2 WR's (focusing on our AFC North foes)............
Torrey Smith, Baltimore - 50 receptions, 841 yards, 16.8 average/reception, with 7 TD's.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh - 69 receptions, 1,108 yards, 16.1 average/reception, with 2 TD's.
Greg Little, Cleveland (*All Cleveland receivers are #2 receivers, so I picked the best one) - 61 receptions, 709 yards, 11.6 average/reception, with 2 TD's.
Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati - 50 receptions, 725 yards, 14.5 average/reception, with 4 TD's.
The averages between Smith, Brown and Little are: 60 receptions, 886 yards, 14.8 average/reception, and 4 TD's.
Compare that to Jerome's statline above: 50/725/14.5/4............tells me he is right about on par with them.
AJ's statline is 65 catches for 1,057 yards, 16.3 average and 7 TD's (Stats are though Baltimore game). The point is Jerome has the numbers of a capable #2 in comparison to his peers in our division. AJ has much better stats, which of course he should because he is Andy's #1 target (rightfully so). But he didn't fall as short as I had assumed stacked up against some other #2's of our main competition for the AFC North. I think with the price we can most likely get him for, with Shipley coming back to solidify the slot postion (along with Hawkins/Whalen) and Gresham as another huge target........we have that position solidified enough. Plus, with a full training camp/pre-season together the numbers should naturally improve. I would like to sign Colston/Meachem/Garcon or whoever else, but feel we have other holes to fill that are more pressing. We need to focus on CB, OL, RB and S. Those are the primary positions in need of an upgrade. We will most likely draft a WR at some point in the 2012 draft, but my thoughts are we don't make that our top priority until mid-rounds or higher. I want us to get our running game back to being reliable enough to run clock, move the chains on 3rd and short and keep at least 8 in the box as much as possible. Also, we need to improve our Secondary without question and bring in some guys who can help create turnovers and let the D Line pin their ears back more and focus on pressure. I would like to get everyone's thoughts because Simpson is a guy that always gets a good debate going. Benson/Crocker aren't even interesting anymore because that isn't a debate, it's a one sided air-tight argument against bringing them back. Tough loss tonight, but we have and will continue to turn the corner. Who Dey?!!