A few days ago, the Football Outsiders, via FoxSports, ranked the best team linebackers (the Bengals were 7th). Let me say, I think pre-season rankings aren't neccessarily a bad thing. But I think all they do is enable fans to preoccupy their minds with football related material. And I don't mean to downgrade the Football Outsiders; they provide very detailed analysis far better than the major sports media conglomerates could ever hope for. I just think lists and rankings are too subjective. What could be ranked 25th today, could be ranked 1st tomorrow depending on a point of view.
The Bengals linebackers this season, will once again be saturated with youth. David Pollack (second-year), Landon Johnson (third-year), Odell Thurman (second-year) and Ahmad Brooks (rookie), are -- or will be -- big-time contributors this season. Add Rashad Jeanty (rookie), Caleb Miller (third-year) and A.J. Nicholson (rookie) and you have a foundation of youth. Brian Simmons is the only linebacker that's had any extensive experience playing more than three seasons. Hannibal Navies and Marcus Wilkins are other veterans with primarily special teams roles.
With that youth comes immaturity; as Thurman is discovering. This Beacon Journal article reports (AP really), the linebacker corp. is easily moving on without Thurman; showing their own maturity in the process.
Bennie Brazell is proving each day, as various training camp reports suggest, that he belongs with this team. Says Marvin of Brazell, "He's come here and competed like a veteran receiver. He's further ahead than most rookie receivers, and the game has not been too big for him."
If you scroll further down on the DDN article, you'll note this little funny part.
Who can cover Chad Johnson? Head coach Marvin Lewis can.
Johnson caught a pass on a quick-out pattern, and Lewis, who had lined up as the cornerback, grabbed him by the shoulder pads and tossed him to the ground.
Tony Stewart is one of the few remaining players since the god-awful 2002 season. He's usually not mentioned in most fluff articles praising the popular players on this team. But this Georgetown News article does a nice job giving Stewart some love.
I HONESTLY THINK ESPN HAS lost their minds. USA Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship???
I WILL SAY THIS now; the Bengals offensive line is the best in the NFL. Sure, maybe that's a little Homerish. But I really don't care. You have the veteran Pro-Bowl tackle, Willie Anderson. Rich Braham, the line QB, is always the subject of retirement speculation -- but still dominates. And you know about Levi Jones and the young Eric Steinbach. But do you really know Bobbie Williams?