What's that sizzlin' in the fryin' pan? The bacon, that's what.
Welcome my early-rising carnivores to a guest bacon, whipped up by the ape who cooks, the Mojokong. Today we will start with the beginnings of an interesting week.
We have a pulse:
After radio silence on nearly all free-agent fronts in the past month or so, the Bengals finally appear at least mildly interested in fielding a full 53-man roster by means of acquiring a veteran or two. Working out this week were two one-time Arizona Cardinals in safety Kerry Rhodes and linebacker Karlos Dansby.
Rhodes was an early cap-casualty in Arizona this offseason as the Cards shed both of their starting safeties with the arrival of their new coach, Bruce Arians. He isn't terribly old (30), could be a capable starter right away, and put up solid statistics last year that a dumb-ass website created. Signing him would add some quality depth in an area that is sorely without much at the moment, but frankly, I'm tired of the revolving door at the safety position.
Reggie Nelson has been a pleasant surprise. Traded for a random corner (David Jones), Nelson has added at least some stability at a position that has seen little. I remember Rogers Beckett. I remember Chinedum Ndukwe, and Dexter Jackson and Ifeanyi Ohalete and Madieu Williams and all the other randoms Marvin Lewis has run out there at safety. Some hope was reserved for Taylor Mays to get it together but that expiration date is quickly closing.
The fact is, the Bengals need to draft a real safety. Not an old corner who can't cut it on the outside. Not a really tall college player who can't find his way into the game. There are some gems this year in the draft. Kenny Vacarro has a certain pro panache that I covet. He may not be on the board by the time it's the Bengals turn, but the team needs to prioritize the position to some degree and someday soon attempt to find a long-term solution back there. For the record, I think the same could be said for center but they may be bacon for another day.
As for Dansby, I remember him as a mouthy guy who was one of the first to brazenly sport the faux hawk. Yet, fashion statements aside, the man has over 100 starts and over 700 tackles during his nine years in the league. He too is over thirty, but he started every game for the Dolphins the past two seasons and doesn't seem to have durability issues.
His addition would relieve the squeeze put on the linebacking corps after Manny Lawson skipped town for Buffalo. We all know how most fans feel about Rey Maualuga, and undoubtedly, many of you hope Dansby (or anyone else) will supplant the USC letdown, but we also know how the coaching staff feels about him and, like it or not, their opinion matters more than ours. If Dansby ever dons a striped helmet, he will not simply be handed a starting job. In fact, we don't know who will play where in regards to the linebackers at the moment. Dansby has played on both outside slots as well as the middle; both Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict have similar versatility in regards to the areas they can play. Dansby has never played in a 4-3 formation in the NFL (neither has Kerry Rhodes, for that matter), and for some that may be an issue, but a 10-year vet should be able to weather that storm.
I would think Rhodes is a more likely signing than is Dansby, but one never knows just what's inside the mind of Mike Brown, or what's inside his striped money vault.
Shedding dead blankets:
One man no longer effected by Mr. Brown or his cash is corner Jason Allen. Last year during this time, the Bengals looked into the future and saw a heavy dose of injury issued to their corners. They reacted by signing multiple veterans and drafting two other corners. Like all future-seers, they were right and needed just about all of them at different points of the season, but one that never made the rotation was Allen.
I was never excited about this pickup in the first place. I remember watching him on Monday Night Football when he was with the Dolphins and thinking that he may have been the worst corner in the league. Then he went to Houston and looked better (how could you not?), and also looked decent in the preseason, but Zimmer never trusted him and the pine he rode for the entire season, save for three defensive snaps. If anything, Allen was the ultimate security blanket that never got cold enough to use. Now he clears the way for perhaps a languishing young special-teamer who just needs that one chance to prove himself to the world. Or maybe, the Bengals use the saved cash toward the Geno fund. Either way, it's money better spent.
The last bit of bacon grizzle this morning goes out to the Cincinnati Bearcats for landing the Notre Dame transfer quarterback, Gunner Kiel. First off, he is a quarterback named Gunner-not sure what more you could want, really. Secondly, he was the top nationally-ranked quarterback in his high-school recruiting class according to Rivals.com. And lastly, he leaves Brian Kelly behind, which around here shows good common sense.
I feel it is safe to say that Gunner is the highest-profile recruit to play football for the Bearcats (or will play for the Bearcats). Because of that stupid rule fans everywhere hate, he will have to sit out a year before being allowed to suit up again in 2014, where hopefully he propels himself, Tommy Tuberville, and the entire Cincinnati Bearcats program into the stratosphere of championships and recruiting violations. While it serves as an excellent minor league for the NFL, college football is the biggest sham in all of sports and is nearly impossible to take seriously.
So carry on with the other parts of a complete breakfast, but hold dear to your hearts that sweet-smelling swine that fills these pages on a regular basis. Bacon is the candy of meats, it's indulgent deliciousness is likely unmatched in the universe. So too is Cincy Jungle, feeding you the fatty underbelly of Bengals news and information. These are the morsels you seek; all others are simply baloney.