How do you feel last night's Super Bowl stacked up against some of the recent Super Bowls played? Are you happy with the results or were you rooting on the 49ers? What does the Ravens winning the Lombardi Trophy say about the Bengals, if anything?
Josh: You never want to see one of your rivals win and considering that the Bengals had two rivals, it was a lose-lose for the insecurities of Bengals fans, myself included. But my state of happiness long departed after the Bengals were bounced out of the postseason in Houston.
Anthony: Wow. Tough questions. As for the first part, I thought it was one of the better Super Bowls in memory--I'm glad that the Niners came back and made it a game at least. Unlike many Bengals coaches and players, I was not rooting for Baltimore to win and seeing the third AFC North team win the Super Bowl in the past eight years sucks. In seeing them hoist the Lombardi Trophy, it didn't make me think how close the Bengals were/are to doing the same, but rather how far away they are. The Ravens have arguable the best G.M. in the NFL in Ozzie Newsome and have one of the most complete internal staff. The Bengals have major shortcomings in both of those areas and need to make major changes to see sustained success.
Josh: Newsome might be a good general manager, but the Ravens have some series questions to answer during the offseason.
Jason: Yes they do. Not only are they losing a future hall of fame linebacker and the team's defensive leader, but they also may lose Ed Reed, another future hall of famer. They have to try to re-sign Anquan Boldin and Joe Flacco and they may not be able to do both. There's a decent chance that the Ravens will be in rebuilding mode next season. Well, maybe not rebuilding mode, but they definitely won't be the same
Josh: Paul Krguer and Dannell Ellerbe are also free agents. They're going to lose players, especially considering Flacco's heavy salary that will squeeze their cap number.
Anthony: For sure. Lewis is gone, Boldin and Reed are likely gone as well. Still, Flacco took a major step this season and proved he can sling it around with the best of them. And with Newsome being a quality G.M., I expect them to replenish talent quickly.
Josh: I will say this. I respect the Ravens for being strong enough to make and win the Super Bowl, but they're weren't the best team. They needed a Ray Rice conversion on fourth and 29 to make the postseason and enjoyed disastrous coverage just to reach the AFC Championship game.
Anthony: Right. But, those are the types of plays that the Bengals rarely make and/or have luck with. And, if the last few years have taught us anything, the hottest teams usually win it--not the best ones.
Let's talk No. 2 wide receiver. Mohamed Sanu started to come on strong but when he went down, the offense seemed to struggle. Do you think he has what it takes to take the attention away from Green on the opposite side of the field or do you think they still need a No. 2 receiver and they can utilize Sanu in the slot and elsewhere?
Anthony: I think the team has a big decision to make here. Personally, I think Sanu is a guy that can be plugged in and play any wide receiver spot and be effective. He can be a chain-mover and a good red zone option and it was obvious that Dalton's best stretch during 2012 was when Sanu was heavily utilized. Still, I have concerns about his separation skills and overall speed. Marvin Jones has the speed, but has consistency issues and I wonder if he's more of their deep threat guy instead of a true No.2. I'd like them to bring in a guy, even for competition for the spot. For a veteran free agent, I like Greg Jennings, though he'll want a lot of money and he might go to Miami. For a rookie, I really like USC's Robert Woods. Kid was born to play No.2 WR in the NFL and brings kick return ability.
I wouldn't mind if they went full-steam-ahead with Jones and Sanu duking it out, but it might be unwise to put all of their eggs in that basket. They're still young and both experienced pretty substantial injuries last year. Whoever it is, that position getting locked down for 2013 is a MUST.
Jason: I agree. I like Sanu, but I don't think he's quite the No. 2 wide receiver the Bengals need. He's good across the middle and has good hands and runs routes well, but he's not quite fast enough to play on the outside. I feel the same way about Jones, he's good but somewhat inconsistent. I would love to see the Bengals grab a guy in the draft that can play opposite of Green consistently and let Sanu and Jones contribute in the slot and in special packages. I like Woods a lot too.