There's one cool aspect about the Sports Blog Nation. You can virtually get all the sports you need in one spot from writers that specifically focus on their respective team or sport. The football blog section is building quickly; but you have a full compliment of Major League Baseball teams. You have fantasy sports for the upcoming fantasy football season. You have soccer, college sports, basketball, and even a cycling blog; they are slightly busy because of some guy named Landis. Personally, I think the French are just ticked off at America for dominating their marquee event for eight years straight. The French must be tired of being dominated on EVERYTHING by America. It's like the old song, "what you can do, I can do better." The French are haunted by that.
Considering this blog is specifically about the Bengals, let me direct your attention to just the football part. Let's take a trip around the SB Football Nation.
- Sounds like the Chicago Bears have no interest in Ashley Lelie. Personally, I question any guy's toughness with the first name of "Ashley". However, it looks like the bigger issue is what's going on with Thomas Jones. I go back to what Jones actually accomplished and his motivations. Last season, Jones rushed for 1,335 yards; his first 1,000 yard season. Therefore, in his mind, a pay raise is due. I've never been a fan of players holding out because of one good season. Furthermore, with Cedric Benson in the wings, does Jones actually think he has leverage? Then again, some fans at Windy City Gridiron aren't convinced Benson is better than Jones.
- Hearing the news that Willie Roaf is retiring was saddening. I grew up playing the game as a lineman and have held a level of respect and admiration for the big uglies. The dynasties in NFL history are littered with unsung heroes; the guys that made it all happen. The NFL lost an unsung hero.
- Reggie Wayne showed up wearing an Edgerrin James jersey -- in a Cardinals uniform. To me, losing James established a weakness in the Colts offense. However, I would like to personally thank BigBlueShoe for nominating me as the Best new SB Nation football blogger. That's cool as heck.
- I think one of the most over-hyped stories by the media elite is how Terrell Owens is adjusting to a coach that will rip him a new one if he falls out of line. I think Bill Parcells is on one those old-school head coaches that are rare these days. I wish we had more of them. Their honesty and passion is something that seems to be missing these days. Grizz is doing a wonderful job reporting on the Cowboy's camp.
- Sean Yuille is writing up a storm at Pride of Detroit. His write-ups on fantasy football are thorough and outstanding. I have a new found respect for Sean labeling T.J. Houshmandzadeh as a sleeper wide receiver. I couldn't agree more. Chad grabs the attention of, at least, three defenders in the secondary benefiting his college teammate. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is being recognized as a dependable receiver. Personally I'm a little concerned about Sean for our league-wide fantasy football league. He might just take the trophy by week seven.
- Deion Branch, as you probably have heard, is holding out. Tommasse (I'm guessing first name Tom) is suggesting relative calm. As Pats Pulpit suggests, Branch is key, but not critical. There's one thing about the Patriots I respect. For all their domination in the early 21st century, there's limited individualism. Being an Ohio State Buckeyes fan, I root for Mike Vrabel.
- Shrug, at Field Gulls (Seahawks) is doing a great job breaking down training camp and all the happenings in the far Northwest (that's up and the left for you less ed-ju-ma-cated folk). I maintain that Shawn Alexander is one the best characters in the league. He's a home grown guy and has made us very proud for his generosity and "greatness" in the league. If there were more "Alexander's" in the league, I think the NFL would be better for it.
- I grew up in Minnetonka, a small suburb close to the Minneapolis/ST. Paul area. My father still resides in the Eden Prairie area. I grew up, as a youngster, a Twins and Vikings fan. I do cheer for both when they're not affecting the Reds or the Bengals and their playoff hopes. When the Vikings became the headlines of chaos, it really saddened me. Mike Tice was a disaster! I hope the new head coach, Brad Childress, will bring some form of purple pride and stability back. It seems to me that the NFC Central (yes, I know it's the North, but I'm a little old school) is still up in the air. The Vikes recently picked up Dwight Smith and Dez White. I'm not sure if that will enable them to make the playoffs, but I hope they do.
- On the flip side, I hate the Browns. I apologize to any Browns fans that actually read this Bengals blog. Anyway, Chris Pokorny at Dawgs by Nature is doing a great job observing the Cleveland "Paul" Brown camp. I've heard a lot of people -- mostly fans of respective AFC North teams -- finding a level of concern with Cleveland. That concern may be justified.
- Yes yes, I know. Most Bengals fans rant and hate Steelers fans; and vice versa. I'm sure there will be a time when insults will go back and forth from fans of both sites. It's just the nature of intra-division competition. But if you want good info on the Steelers (why in the world would you want that????) then I recommend Behind the Steel Curtain. There's a good discussion going on over there on the ideological nature of sportswriters being "clowns" playing the "I do no wrong" and write about players that don't do enough. You'll understand my point by going here.