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Pressure still on offense; honoring greats

This Bill Rabinowitz [Columbus Dispatch] piece describes how the pressure is on the defense this year.

I partially disagree with this assessment. While there's nothing fable about it, I still think the Bengals offense, with the talent and payroll, will always be the Man that will feel the most pressure. How much the defense improves -- and it will improve -- is simply icing on the cake; lowering the pressure against the offense to produce.

However, if you compare the 2005 and the 2006 Bengals, you'll note that the biggest difference is how much the offensive possession (plays and time of possession) dropped while turnovers increased (fumbles, interceptions and punts).

For example, in 2006, the Bengals offense averaged 341.1 yards per game -- ranked eighth in the NFL. The offense ran 994 offensive plays (19th) with an average time of possession of 28:34 (27th). The offense turned the ball over 24 times (10th) with 77 punts (14th). Lacking time of possession dominance and increasing turnovers and punts, the defense was quickly worn out by half time. The defense allowed 355.1 yards per game (30th) and 20.7 points per game (17th). They were on the field for 1038 plays.

In 2005, the Bengals offense averaged 358.1 yards per game (6th) running 1,018 plays. The average time of possession ranked 10th at 30:52 turning the ball over 20 times (5th). The offense punted only 60 times -- ranked 2nd in the NFL. The 2005 Bengals defense played somewhat similar -- except for the crazy mad opportunistic league leading 44 take aways -- with 338.7 yards per game -- 27th -- and 21.9 points per game -- 21st. They were on the field for 976 plays.

My only point:

True, the defense needs to step up. I will never argue that. However, the offense needs step up and away from their 2006 slop. They were inefficent; poor on third down conversions producing too many three-and-outs. This team is built around Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rudi Johnson and the multiple Pro Bowl (starters to alternates) offensive linemen -- not Ahmad Brooks, Dexter Jackson, Bryan Robinson or John Thornton.

Remember, the offense has been mainly together for a few seasons now. The defense will have a sophomore and rookie at cornerback. Two second year players at linebacker and a consistently disappointing defensive line. If the offense stumbles, I still don't think this defense has the ability to step up. But hey, I've been wrong before.

Jeff Rowe Deal

For some reason, I've struggled to find the contract signed by Jeff Rowe. I found it in this San Diego paper. Rowe signed a four-year deal worth "about" $1.7 million.

Rowe, who was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft in April, said he will earn $275,000 this season, with each successive season increasing about $100,000 per season.

So, there you go.

Honoring Greats

I think baseball does one thing well... honoring their greats. In nearly ever baseball All-Star game, the league features some greats that are still alive. This year, they honored Willie Mays during the game and Willie McCovey during Homerun Derby. In general, MLB does a tremendous job helping older fans remember their heroes and informing younger fans that the player's of today hardly compare to the greats of yesterday.

I think this is where football lacks. Sure, once in every blue Monday Night moon, you might have some half time show that honors that city's stars. But it usually happens in recap while the network does their half time show with more commericals than an entire NASCAR race. Which got me to thinking, in a more local aspect, how can the franchise honor the greats of Bengals past?

Pat Bowlen, CEO and President of the Denver Broncos, created a Ring of Fame to honor the players and administrators that played a significant role in the team's history. I think that would be a great way for the Bengals to honor some of the greats. And perhaps provide a lesson on the team's history to the increasing number of Bengals fans.

Is Chick Ludwig reading this blog?

Of course he is. Kidding. After talking about Matt Muncy's college career and his life-long connection to the state of Ohio, Chick Ludwig wrote about Muncy and his hometown familiarity. Other notes in Ludwig's latest.

  • Bennie Brazell -- eighth place finisher in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2004 Olympics -- is still a "track guy".
  • Domata Peko brought a webcam to keep in communication with his family.
  • Kenderick Allen likes what he sees with the Bengals defensive front.
  • Bobbie Williams is quickly becoming my favorite big lineman hungry guy.

Deltha feels like an outsider

In this Deltha-featured Hobson piece:

"Because everybody has been together since April. I'm the only guy that wasn't here in the offseason," O'Neal said after Saturday morning's practice, where he proclaimed he feels 10 times better than last year. "I felt like an outsider, but guys were saying, 'Glad you're here.' We're close in the secondary, so I was getting messages about the oohs and aahs in the OTAs."

The thing to note here is that Deltha's confidence is up. He's healthy. And he's getting compliments from his teammates on his form, technique and foot work (isn't that the same thing?). He's even smothering Chad Johnson during passing drills. I'm feeling a bit giddy here with our cornerbacks.

L-Boogie and/or Coolhand Leon

In this latest Hobson piece featuring Leon Hall's introduction to the Bengals camp, the Bengals first round pick lined up on at first team nickel and second team left corner. He's spending his honeymoon in Georgetown.

Chatman still sits

After "tweaking" his hamstring, it seems that Antonio Chatman could miss up to a week and the team's first intrasquad scrimmage. However, it doesn't seem that Tab Perry has the job just yet. Bennie Brazell, like early during last year's training camp, is determined to take the spot. I'm just not certain that Chatman will make this team -- especially if he continues to sit.

Kieft is back

One guy that usually sat on "some kind of list", is Adam Kieft. The left tackle, who used to weight 340 pounds, dropped about 30 pounds to help his knee. Plus, as he puts it, his mobility is better. But as a result to losing the weight, he worries more about bull rushing defensive ends.


The notes on this Hobson article, linked in the Chatman and Hall story:

  • Irons shows tremendous speed without being touched on pitches and sweeps. He left Caleb Miller -- the team's fastest linebacker -- on a pass reception.
  • Keiwan Ratliff had his second pick in training camp. Coaches say he's practicing "extremely well".
  • Ethan Kilmer is injured and there's some concern with his quad.
  • Willie Anderson isn't practicing for some mysterious reason.

Marvin White growing into special teams

This Mark Curnutte article explains that Marvin White, since joining the team Friday, has lined up on punt coverage as the gunner along with his secondary rotation duties.

That's all I got for now...