FIGHT! Remember those glorious high school days, with a Matthew McConaughey Dazed-n-Confused strut down the hallway when tenth grade math was actually an easy exercise of the mundane? Just try doing the same home work you did 15-30 years ago. And I have yet to see the Pythagorean theorem applied to football; yes, I actually looked up pythagorean to see if I spelled correctly.
Thus during the middle of your journey, a distant commotion attracts you like the wavy scent of a steak on the sizzle. The rabbling increases, as does your investigatory pace. The Jets and Sharks, Greasers and Socs, a tense situation by a locker and the logical portion of the brain fades when you realize "there's going to be a fight!". Yet most of the time it was just an argument, goaded by observers who were at no risk of getting into trouble from an ear-pinching teacher, caveman dragging your ass to the office for a steady course of ruler-based discipline.
And a "disagreement" took place through the media recently at Paul Brown Stadium. Last week Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis boldly mentioned Andy Dalton and Rey Maualuga by name, saying, "We're looking for our quarterback and middle linebacker to take control of our football team."
"Let's clean it up," he said. "We're looking for Andy to take the next step of being the leader of this football team. A very confident, vocal if he needs to be... Grab this football team by the back of its neck and let's go, let's move forward."
Dalton, the second-year nice guy from Texas, didn't resist nor increase the amount of static being broadcast. Hell he agreed with Lewis' assessment; though we're not sure how he could disagree, based on some of his performances this year.
"We are leaders of our unit," Dalton said. "For Rey, he is the leader of the defense. I am the leader of the offense. So, it is a challenge for us. He believes in us. It's nothing that he is doubting us or anything like that."
During that same week, after the Bye, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was asked if Dalton was holding onto the football too long.
"Sometimes he is," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "You don't have to be Michael Vick or Robert Griffin III. But Drew Brees and a lot of these great quarterbacks buy time in the pocket. He's just got to do a better job of that. Comes with time. He's still in his second year. He's programmed in to being such a great rhythm, timing quarterback, but sometimes defenses here they can take away initial reads. He's going to have to wait for somebody else."
Again. Nice guy Dalton didn't resist, even adding a measured response of agreement.
But that was that.
"There's times I wish I would have held on to it for a half second longer (against Pittsburgh), but a big part of my game is getting the ball out quick, getting the ball to our guys," Dalton said. "So, it's finding the balance of when you can hold on to it for a little bit longer and when you let it go."
Save for a fourth quarter breakdown (which is in part what Lewis is referring to), Dalton had a decent performance but not a "grab the football team by the back of its neck" afternoon against the Broncos, the first game after those comments were made.
The story indirectly yet predictably grew legs on Wednesday when Andrew Whitworth, a heavy proponent of the players through the NFLPA, essentially told everyone (notably the coaches) to shut up.
"Guys have to put away things. Stop looking for someone to blame, whose fault is this or that and start worrying about winning football games," Whitworth said. "It seems like every week we're trying to say this person needs to do this or that person needs to do that. What we need to happen is we need to go win a football game. I hear Marvin (Lewis) and Jay (Gruden) and all these people try to point to people needing to go do things and we just need to win a game.
You just know that when one of the most respected players to sport a Bengals uniform today speaks, it goes to a Spinal Tap "11" on the volume dial. And with recollected high school memories goading two fights for an epic throw down, our raised Rock-like eyebrow is juiced with a heavy dose of testosterone.
Do we think Lewis' comments were bad? No. He used this card last week in the hopes to inspire and motivate; we do not anticipate it happening again this year. Yet at the same time, we've had our fun. Now it's time to keep the issues in-house, rather than showing a fractious locker room in the midst of an adversarial season.
Yet at this stage we fully agree with Whitworth. Time for everyone to shut up and win. Offensive linemen. Keeping it real since the first ever snap.