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Let's briefly discuss linebacker

I know you're out there sitting in your nice corporate chair while suffocating on a steamy cup of coffee waiting for a response from bossman to update that quarterly report you've spent weeks on. Or perhaps you're having a little snack during a recommended break from work to re-energize. I'm partial to Snickers bars. Or perhaps you're sitting on the couch with your wife/girlfriend while she watches some Lifetime Network movie while you have a laptop sitting on your lap bored out of your skull. So while you're blankly staring at your dull cubicle walls or the Lifetime channel, I wanted to have a little chat about linebackers.

A few weeks back, ran a story titled, "First-round pick already here?" Geoff Hobson points out that last year's third round supplemental draftee, Ahmad Brooks, is adjusting to his role, not only as the starting middle linebacker, but also the leader of the defense.

Brooks sounds like this is his light-bulb year. He has turned on the switch by meeting regularly with the man who used to scold him for laxness, linebackers coach Ricky Hunley, as well as adding a nutritionist and the offseason program he sorely missed last year.

Brooks said in the piece.

"I have to add that extra time that Carson (Palmer) and pretty much all of our leaders on this team (are) doing and showing my teammates that’s what I’m about," Brooks said earlier this week. "I’ve got my head on straight. I see what the NFL is all about."

I remember one play last season against Carolina when Brooks showed blitz. Timing the snap count perfectly, Brooks crossed the line of scrimmage and sacked the Jake Delhomme before taking his third step in the drop back. I said at the time (forgive the grammatical errors -- it's a struggle to write while watching)

On the play, (Keyshawn) Johnson was in the right slot and came (in). He was covered by Joseph. However, did you see what Brooks did? On a blitz, Brooks timed the snap count and sacked Delhomme two yards into his backdrop. Nice! Bengals have the ball after the Panthers punt.

The interesting proposition with Brooks is his ceiling and potential. Most agree, it's high. (note: not THAT high). Add together the unknowns. Odell Thurman is still a major unknown; which has everything to do with his drug rehab and building confidence within the front office. And you have to admit, what we know about Chris Henry and his second chances, Thurman has been screwed by both the league and the organization. Granted, he's the only one that can answer for his actions. But I fear we're still promoting a double standard. Head Coach, Marvin Lewis, is quick to sympathize with Chris Henry (young man needs to learn) while on the subject of Thurman, Lewis is quick to leave his future in limbo. All I'm saying here is that the different treatment between the two is very noticeable. And Henry has embarrassed the organization far more.

Then you have David Pollack. I would assume that the team should move forward not expecting Pollack to return in 2007.

Published reports explain that the Bengals are entertaining Ed Hartwell into the halls of Paul Brown Stadium. Not bad. Might be worth it. If Hartwell is looking to reestablish himself as a quality player in the league, what better way to do it on a bad defense, on a one-year contract and minimal pay?