Week 3 of the weekly installment. I had to catch a few glimpses from the bar airport in Charlotte, NC in order to say that I saw some of the game. When a Bengals fan has to miss a game, it's a bad deal. Lots of bad things go through your head -- there are visions of Marv Lewis using up all the game challenges in the 1st Qtr, more defenders getting injured and the possibility of tuning into the score at 4:00 pm to see an opposing rookie QB overcoming all odds to win. None of that happened, and "that's a good thing!" The Bengals also won, and that's a great thing!!
1. Maualuga and LB performance problems -- While the younger guys are looking up, the guys we counted on (Maualuga and Lawson) had continued to struggle in playmaking contributions.
2. Kirkpatrick and CB issues -- Old and injured, we're needing the high draft pick to contribute ASAP.
3. Dalton, passing game and WR outlook -- People were wondering about QB consistency, # of sacks taken and overall growth of WRs on roster.
4. Depth Issues -- There were concerns with these issues in the interior OL, RBs, TEs and every defensive area.
5. Long Term Franchise Outlook -- Are we building towards something or just spinning our wheels?
* Dalton emerging as a star? -- the efficiency and yardage are up as appears to be the confidence; Dalton went from looking uncertain about his passing tree to being highly in command; we must be patient as this guy continues to suggest that he's the real deal
* WR corps showing consistent depth -- for two weeks in a row there has been contribution from multiple WRs with, of course, A.J. Green being the top weapon and guys like Hawkins and Binns showing consistency from game-to-game
* Inability to put the other team away -- this is a long term Bengal problem; up 24-7 at halftime, they let the Skins tie the game before pulling back up by 14 and then almost relinquishing; maybe it should have been 38-14 in the end?
* Pulling it out in the end -- as much as you want to criticize the closeness of the final score, the Bengals pulled out a close one by holding off the enemy down the stretch -- a great sign for a developing team; what we hope to see is the defense maturing over the season to become a force by the end, while the O continues to produce and win these early "must have" games for us
* Michael Johnson: The real deal? -- I wanted to write off MJ93's "leg sack" vs. Cleveland two weeks ago, and maybe some will say that he was going against an injured Trent Williams as well as backup talent; nonetheless, he did get the job done when expected, and this is something we can build upon with hopeful contributions from the Fisher-Price kids as well as guys like Still and Moch, the latter who will be back in another week