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A few early week notes

OK, now we're back on schedule, let's visit some old and new issues.

  • Chris Henry out two games. When Henry was out against New England, the Bengals had problems all day converting third downs. His obvious mismatch against nicklebacks and linebackers brings a tremendous dynamic to this team. If you lose Henry, without a pass catching tight-end and an injured Chris Perry, you can realistically double cover Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh and stifle the passing game. If Kelley Washington and Antonio Chatman can't step-up for the next two games, we could see more of the same.
  • Dexter Jackson, Rashad Jeanty and Tab Perry are close to returning. However, we'll know more Wednesday. When Jackson was starting, the Bengals did well against the rush. Rashad Jeanty looks like he could miss another week and Tab Perry is missed.
  • Tampa Bay is 0-4. They've lost two games at home (against Baltimore and Carolina), their starting quarterback and their running game. Williams, in three of his four games, hasn't reached 50 rushing yards or 20 carries. He showed some success against the Saints Sunday with 111 rushing yards; a 5.6 yard-per-carry average. Take it for a grain of salt if you will. In the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, Williams had runs of 34 and 16 yards. That drops his average from 5.6 yards to 3.3. Take away the 11-yard run and it drops to 2.9. My point is if the Bengals can limit the big runs, then Tampa's running game doesn't pose that much of a threat.
  • Bruce Gradkowski, new Bucs starting quarterback, went 22 of 37 for 245 yards and two touchdowns; that translates to a 97.2 passer rating. Gradkowski, three-year starter out of Toledo, finished his college career with 85 touchdowns (28 per season) passes and 9,197 (3,065 per season) passing yards. The St. Petersburg Times' Gary Shelton said: "...the kid (Gradkowski) is going to be popular. Put your order in early for his jersey number. Sign him up to endorse whatever you are selling. And brace yourself for a name change: For the immediate future, this team is the Tampa Bay Bucowskis."