Since the Bengals have become the NFL's version of the Island of Misfit Toys, it's inevitable that somebody is going to facing their former team on any given week. This week, it's Terence Newman and Adam Jones.
When I think about Bengals players taking on their former teams, the first thought that comes to my head was how awesome it was to see Cedric Benson run over the Bears defense in 2009 for a total of 189 yards and a touchdown. He made them look like a junior high team and subsequently, the Bengals won by a score of 45-10. It's funny what playing against your former team can do to you (unless you're Carson Palmer) and this week, two members of the Bengals secondary will be facing their former team when the Dallas Cowboys take the field in Paul Brown Stadium. Those two players are cornerbacks Terence Newman and Adam Jones.
Newman was the Cowboys' first-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, taken fifth overall, and played for the Cowboys through the 2011 season. While in Dallas he racked up 32 interceptions, three of which he ran back for touchdowns. Jones came to the Cowboys via a trade with the Tennessee Titans, who received a fourth-round pick, in 2008. He didn't have much time in Dallas along with Newman, though, as he was released by the team in January of 2009 (he was still Pacman then).
While Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer had left Dallas by the time Jones got there, he did coach Newman from the 2003 season through the 2007 season, which is one of the biggest reason Newman is now in Cincinnati. Newman reminisced about Zimmer's talk with him when he first arrived in Cincinnati with Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson.
"He told me I was horse bleep in Dallas," Newman says. " 'You couldn't do this. You couldn't do that.' Those were the words right out of his mouth. But the fact he wanted me here, I said I'm going to try everything I can because it's obvious he stuck his neck out for me and I didn't want that to be a negative for him."
He also touched on facing his former team, and while we'd like to think that he is seeing only red and can't wait to put the hurt on anything with in a blue and white uniform, he said that the team's goals of playing through the playoffs are more important than any vendetta he has against the Cowboys.
"It's so long ago; team goals are more important than getting back for a team I played for," Newman said. "Our goal is to just not make the playoffs, but make it through the playoffs. That's mostly on my mind. Certain things are expected and change is one of them. Change is constant."
Jones was a little more outspoken about his former team when he was asked about them earlier in the week. While he was known more for his off-field antics while in Dallas, Jones believes the staff in Dallas didn't do much to help him out. He also pointed out how much Zimmer has done to help his career since his arrival in Cincinnati.
"I was horrible in Dallas and the coaching was horrible, too; from the top down," Jones said. "Zim is a demanding guy. He's a technique guy and with me being a raw athlete, that's the type of guy I need around me. The Zimmers, the Marvin Lewises, the guys that keep you grounded, that keep you in shape. Some guys get comfortable and let your technique lapse. These guys stay on you."
He went on to discuss how much he respects Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and how he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder on Sunday.
"I'm thankful for everything (Jerry Jones) has done for me," Adam Jones said. "The way the situation played out, I didn't agree with it. He had to do what was good for his organization, which I respect. I have no hard feelings.
"I love Jerry with all my heart. I'm not going to get into what I don't like about him but it's not about Jerry. He's done a lot for me. I'm a Bengal and I would like to stay a Bengal for the rest of my career but we'll see how that goes. Right now I'm playing hard and on Sunday I'll have a double chip on my shoulder. I'll just go out and let the game come to me ... it's one of those that means a little more on the edge that you want to win. You don't prepare any different but deep down in your heart you want this one."
Both Jones and Newman will be needed as they face a talented group of receivers that include Dez Bryant and Miles Austin as well as tight end Jason Witten, who have helped Tony Romo lead the Cowboys to the second-best passing offense in the league, averaging 296.7 yards per game.