On Monday afternoon, Anthony Cosenza (me) was interviewed on the John Renshaw Show to talk Cincinnati Bengals football. The John Renshaw Show is on 1450 The Sports Buzz in Louisville, Kentucky and is part of the Yahoo! Sports radio network. The following is a transcription of some of the highlights of the interview between John and Anthony. Enjoy.
JR: "There's a particular "Jungle" for you to visit and that is www.cincyjungle.com for hardcore Bengals fans to get their information. Anthony Cosenza is a writer for the site, we enjoy the work they do over there. Anthony, how are you, buddy?"
AC: "Doing well. Thanks for having me on today."
JR: "There's a couple of headlines we've been reading: 'Training Camp packed, fans turned away', also 'New look, Paul Brown Stadium Camp, off to a great start.' A lot of optimism. A new look on a couple of different levels, but it seems like everyone wants to be there."
AC: "Yeah and that's kind of the group that Marvin Lewis and company have put together this year and it's kind of a breath of fresh air, actually. The malcontents aren't here anymore--Cedric Benson is gone, Chad Ochocinco left last year, so I think it's a good group of guys. It may not pay off dividends immediately, but I think the team will begin to gel as the season goes on and we'll see some pretty exciting things."
JR: "I think one of the most of exciting things is who will emerge at the glory spot of the No.1 running back this year."
AC: "That's one of the big questions on the team this year. We posted an article a few days ago where Michael Lombard of NFL.com said that it was his biggest question on this team this season. You know, BenJarvus Green-Ellis came over this year and a lot of people were excited and then you wonder how big of an upgrade he actually is over Cedric Benson. A lot of people think that Bernard Scott can be a big play back in this offense, but we keep waiting for that 'wow' moment that we've been waiting on since 2009. I think you know what you're going to get from Brian Leonard some clutch plays and a good receiver out of the backfield. It's really about what you're going to get from Green-Ellis and what he can bring to the table and if he's going to be the productive back like he was in that high-powered Patriots offense or if he's just going to be mediocre."
JR: "As a lifelong Dolphins fan, I've watched a lot of Patriots football. I have two Dolphin thoughts: one is that I think Chad Johnson is going to suck for us...and two I think "The Law Firm" is the real deal. I know he didn't get the carries that most other feature backs get, I think he's going to relish the role of the starter. So, how about the No.2 receiver spot? I mean with all of these position battles you guys should be on "Hard Knocks".
AC: "That's another big battle. It's kind of up in the air at this point. It seems as if an unproven guy, Armon Binns, may have the inside track right now. Could be debated that former Patriots receiver Brandon Tate could have the inside track here. The bottom line is that I actually feel that there are going to be a lot of guys switching in and out of there this season. They're probably going to see what works in certain packages. Each guy brings a little something different to the table and you're also probably going to see Mohamed Sanu get in there and make some plays in the slot and on the outside."
AC: "You could debate either way here. They're obviously tied at the hip. Late in the season last year, teams were able to lock onto Green and take him out of the game at certain points...A lot of people think that Andy Dalton could take a step back in 2012, I don't know that I necessarily agree with that. I don't foresee a huge regression. I will say that teams have tape on him and can study his limitations as a quarterback, but I don't see any major slump coming his way. And, when you have a guy like Green on the field, plays are going to be made and good things are going to happen. So, I don't really think there's a slump coming for either of them and if one does, it won't be a major one."
JR: "How much of bummer was it personally and to the team that Dre Kirkpatrick is down? Are there any sleepers stepping up? I've got to tell you I look at that list of corners--the Dolphins drafted Jason Allen and he didn't do anything there...How important was the Kirkpatrick draft pick and doesn't that almost seem to double the on-field time that's missed because of the playbook, etc.?"
AC: " I would think so. I think it's a pretty big setback, I don't think it's a devastating one though. It's been a weird thing because we haven't really received a clear answer on the injury. We heard that there might be a fracture in there initially, now it appears as if he has something called Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome...I think it's a pretty big injury, but I don't think the team was relying on him to come in and start right away. He was probably going to get a lot of looks on three and four wide receiver sets...He's young, he's probably the fastest of the group, especially with Leon Hall easing back in from his injury, he brings swagger from the college program he was with. I think they're going to miss him, but I don't think it's devastating. They were really hurting at the position last year because of injuries and everything and I think you might see some more of that as well as fatigue late in the year because of the age of the group. I think they can put a band aid on the situation early on though. One guy to keep an eye on is Brandon Ghee. He's been looking really good in the early parts of camp since he's been given more of an opportunity."
JR: "You mentioned Binns earlier who is now showing up big time early on...is a guy for fantasy players to look at?"
AC: "Yeah. I'm kind of thinking that Jay Gruden likes a group and committee approach. I know it's a weird thought because we normally see it at the running back position, but you could see this at the wide receiver spot. Based on packages and formations, you could see Sanu line up outside on early downs and then kick inside to the slot with Jordan Shipley and have either Binns or Tate line up outside. If you are talking about fantasy implications, I probably wouldn't look at the No.2 wide receiver spot on the Bengals as somebody to rely on for your fantasy roster--because of the committee reason I mentioned. He (Binns) has looked good so far, he has good size, pretty good hands, decent speed...we'll see. Aside from A.J. Green, I'm not comfortable saying that any other receiver is going to be on the field every down."
JR: "I agree about Green...you talked about waiting about Bernard Scott to come around. Are we still waiting to see what kind of player that (Jermaine) Gresham is going to be?"
AC: "Yeah...I think so. I think there might be a little bit of work in progress there. It's kind of sad to say since he's entering his third year--I mean, you look at the guy and he has all of the tools: size, hands, etc. I think it's a combination of the team underutilizing him and him not getting open the majority of the time. Now, he had a pretty solid year last year making the Pro Bowl as a second alternate, but I think fans are looking for him to be mentioned in the same breath as (Rob) Gronkowski, Antonio Gates, etc. He will probably, going back to the No.2 receiver question, be the second option in the offense. I think the team will look for him to work the middle of the field and in red zone situations. I think that fans are looking for him to have that 'wow' season."
JR: "Anthony, great job, thanks for coming on today. Go see him and the other talented writers at CincyJungle.com."